WASHINGTON - The McGrady Rules were in effect Friday night at the Verizon Center. The Knicks' star swingman seemed to score at ease through three quarters but suddenly was unavailable when it mattered most in a wild 118-116 overtime win over the Washington Wizards.
McGrady, who scored 23 points in 25 minutes, clearly was on basketball's version of a pitch count, as he did not play in the fourth quarter or overtime. But Al Harrington scored 37 points to carry the Knicks (20-37), who ended their losing streak at eight games.
"I was the biggest cheerleader over there," McGrady said of his first win in his four games as a Knick.
David Lee scored the winning basket with 1.6 seconds left in overtime, protecting the ball with his body and going right at 7-footer JaVale McGee - who recorded five blocked shots - for a driving layup.
Nick Young had forced the final play, hitting a three-point bomb with 6.4 seconds left to tie it.
Lee had 25 points and 16 rebounds for the Knicks, who had lost 17 of 21 games, and Andray Blatche had 24 points and 18 rebounds for the Wizards (20-36).
McGrady was happy to finally get his first Knicks win, even if it meant that he sat out the final 18 minutes.
"I was pretty -- that I didn't go in, you know. Me and Mike [D'Antoni] just aren't hitting it off right now," McGrady said before breaking into laughter.
"Nah . . . I sat out too long and stiffened up, and [D'Antoni] realized that," McGrady added. "And the team was rolling. I was even going to tell him, let the guys play because they're playing so well. That was the case."
The Knicks play the second game of a back-to-back against the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, and McGrady said he "absolutely" will be in the lineup.
McGrady seemed rejuvenated by the two days' rest. Harrington also said it was the first night in quite a while in which he hadn't felt pain in his left knee, which has troubled him for most of the second half of the season.
"I think it showed in my play," said Harrington, who shot 12-for-21 from the field and 5-for-8 from three-point range. "As long as I can stay healthy and feel good, I'll stay as aggressive as I can and continue to help."
"I think if he told me that he was going to watch the game, I might have been a little hyped," Harrington said. "But he didn't give me that type of commitment."
Notes & quotes: Before the game, D'Antoni said Danilo Gallinari's "motor needs to go up," but he continues to be lost in the offense (five shot attempts, nine points in 41:31). But he did play a strong defensive game (four blocked shots), and when he did get the ball, he drove hard to the basket four times. His only miss came on his only three-point attempt of the game . . . Wilson Chandler played 47:16 and had 11 points, shooting 5-for-14. His layup attempt in the final seconds of regulation was blocked by McGee to force the overtime . . . Jonathan Bender was granted a personal leave of absence from the team Thursday to fly home to Louisiana to attend to a family matter.