RJ Barrett added 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the Knicks. Immanuel Quickley had 16 points.
Two days after being in control throughout in a 131-113 victory, the Knicks trailed by 17 midway through the third quarter and never led until the fourth.
"The defense was much better in the second half and then the fourth quarter I thought we were making the right plays," Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We had a good rhythm. A lot of guys stepped up."
They won by outscoring the Wizards 39-24 in the final period, with Barrett making a 3-pointer and then a tying three-point play with 4:45 to play. Quickley followed with a 3-pointer and Julius Randle capped an 11-0 run that put New York ahead 96-91 with 2:54 remaining.
"Even though Thibs is always yelling the whole time, when you really talk to him he always just talks about staying poised, understanding how long the game is," Knicks center Taj Gibson said. "Even on tough nights, just work the game."
Bradley Beal had 26 points and nine assists for the Wizards, but shot just 8 for 23. Russell Westbrook missed all eight shots in the second half and ended a dismal 3 for 15, and the poor shooting of their starting guards helped the Knicks surge ahead.
"I thought we were having a real physical mindset and in that fourth quarter we kind of let up and made some critical mistakes," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "And when you do that, they make 3s."
Westbrook finished with 13 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists, but had eight turnovers. Rui Hachimura had 21 points and nine rebounds as the Wizards lost for the eighth time in nine games.
The Wizards led by five after one, then scored the first 10 of the second to open a 35-20 lead on Raul Neto's steal and layup. Washington pushed the lead to 17 later in the period and took a 60-45 advantage to the break.
The Knicks missed their first eight 3-pointers before Quickley made one midway through the second quarter. But New York turned it around after halftime, cutting it to 11 after three.
"I think we played hard this game but we just have to be smarter," Hachimura said.
Randle, who got treatment on his leg during the game, finished with 13 points on 5-for-16 shooting.
Wizards: The Wizards landed Chandler Hutchison and Daniel Gafford from Chicago in a three-way deal that included Boston. General manager Tommy Sheppard said both players were expected to be in for physicals Friday and hopefully be in uniform for Washington on Saturday. Hutchinson hasn't played since Feb. 5 after missing 10 games for coronavirus protocol reasons earlier in the season, but Sheppard said the swingman was expecting to suit up for the Bulls in their game Saturday against San Antonio had he still been there.
Knicks: The Knicks won the season series over the Wizards for the first time since the 2013-14 season. ... New York was without starting swingman Reggie Bullock because of a sprained right ankle. Derrick Rose remained out as he recovers from the coronavirus.
The Wizards were hit hard by coronavirus absences and stoppages early in the season and entered play 13th in the Eastern Conference. But that was only 3 1/2 games out of a spot in the play-in and Sheppard said they still have high expectations.
"You couldn't foresee what happened to this team," Sheppard said. "Certainly I'm not making any excuses. That's something we had to experience, go through and deal with, and it's something that certainly hurt us in the win column. But we move forward."
Wizards: Host Detroit on Saturday.
Knicks: Visit Milwaukee on Saturday.
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