NEW YORK — John Wall had 24 points and 11 assists, eluding the Knicks all day until getting knocked to the floor by a flagrant foul that sparked an altercation, and the Washington Wizards beat New York 102-91 on Dec. 25.
Wall toyed with the Knicks for 3 1/2 quarters, highlighted by a spinning, 360-degree layup, before Quincy Acy knocked him down with a forearm shove with 5:31 to play.
Wall got up and pushed Acy, who responded with a punch that appeared to hit Wall behind the neck. Acy was ejected in the Christmas Day dust-up, and Wall received a technical foul.
Bradley Beal added 17 points for the Wizards, who had their top five of Wall, Beal, Paul Pierce, Nene and Marcin Gortat in the starting lineup for the first time this season.
Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points for the Knicks, who fell to 5-26 and have the most losses in the NBA. They have dropped six straight and 16 of 17.
Wall was dazzling in what could be a warmup for a trip to Madison Square Garden for the February All-Star game. He was the leading vote-getter among Eastern Conference guards when the first returns of fan balloting were released earlier Dec. 25. Thursday.
He might expand that lead after a national TV audience got to see him make 10-of-17 shots, the prettiest a layup where he spun completely around in the air before scooping it in.
Washington had a comfortable lead most of the game, though the Knicks were on a bit of a run before Acy’s foul. The Wizards avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season.
They have won five in a row against the hapless Knicks, who had Amare Stoudemire back in the lineup after he missed two games. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert remained out.
New York fell to 22-28 in a league-high 50 Christmas appearances.
Knicks President Phil Jackson tried to tell Knicks fans better times were ahead with a couple of holiday Twitter postings, in which he wrote, “Please be assured your hopes and wishes are getting through to Santa. He will bring you a better 2015 than 14.” Maybe, but first Washington added to this year’s misery.
The Wizards, many wearing green sneakers with their red road uniforms, were a Christmas blur, blowing by the Knicks to lead by as many as 22 points.
After a pregame moment of silence for Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, the police officers who were shot to death Dec. 21, the Wizards made their first four attempts and raced to an 11-2 lead.
(BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer)