Former Gator lifts Knicks to victory

Published: Monday, January 9, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 9, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
NEW YORK - The New York Knicks are enjoying their best stretch of the season, and they know who is mostly responsible for it.
Stephon Marbury had 23 points and a season-high 15 assists, the final one setting up rookie and former Gator David Lee for the tiebreaking basket with 21 seconds left, and the Knicks beat the Seattle SuperSonics 120-116 Sunday for their season-high third straight win.
Playing 44 minutes without injured guard Jamal Crawford, Marbury had only one turnover.
"When Marbury gets 15 assists and one turnover without Jamal in the game, you realize why we won," Knicks coach Larry Brown said. "He was phenomenal."
The Knicks' first three-game winning streak since last February coincides with Marbury's best span of the season. He is averaging 23.5 points and 12 assists over the last four games - all since he was criticized by Brown following a poor performance in a loss to Orlando when he was 0-for-7 from the field.
"It is everyone. It is not just myself," Marbury said. "We are just more comfortable. We have a really nice flow right now."
Maurice Taylor also scored 23 points and Eddy Curry added 22 for the Knicks, who erased a 12-point first-half deficit. Nate Robinson finished with 17 points.
With the game tied at 113 after Ray Allen's miss, the Knicks ran the shot clock down before Marbury found Lee in the corner for a jumper.
"My man really has to make a decision whether to give Stephon a layup, because Stephon's going to usually 80 percent of the time get by his man, or step up and give me that jump shot," Lee said.
  • Vince Carter made a fadeaway 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds left and finished with 42 points against his former team, leading visiting New Jersey past the Toronto Raptors for the Nets' 10th straight victory.
    Carter scored 24 points in the fourth quarter and was booed every time he touched the ball, but he silenced the crowd with his spectacular winning shot. After Toronto's Jose Calderon missed his second free throw, Carter hit a 3-pointer from about 4 feet beyond the arc. Jason Kidd leapt into his arms after the shot.
  • HEAT 118, TRAIL BLAZERS 89: Dwyane Wade and Jason Williams combined for 51 points to lead visiting Miami over Portland.
    Wade had 31 points and seven assists, while Williams had 20 points and eight assists and Miami shot 58.8 percent (47-of-80) from the field. The pair sat out the Heat's 111-93 loss at Phoenix on Friday night with injuries. Wade had a bruised left shin, while Williams suffered from right knee tendinitis.
  • NUGGETS 92, ROCKETS 90: Long after Houston star Tracy McGrady was removed from the floor on a stretcher and taken to a hospital because of back spasms, Denver's Carmelo Anthony hit a baseline jumper with a second left to give the visiting Nuggets a victory over the already injury-depleted Rockets.
    McGrady missed a long jumper in the final seconds of the first half, then crumpled to the floor, grabbing his back and screaming in pain as the buzzer sounded. He had missed eight games earlier this season with back spasms and the Rockets lost them all.
  • PACERS 108, KINGS 83: Stephen Jackson scored 17 of his 31 points while hitting five 3-pointers in the third quarter, and Jermaine O'Neal had 12 points and eight rebounds in his return to visiting Indiana's lineup.
    Fred Jones scored 18 points for the Pacers, who hit 13 3-pointers and cruised to their second straight victory on a tough road trip thanks to two prolonged runs in the middle quarters.
    Toronto's Morris Peterson was ejected for slapping Carter in the face. Peterson got a technical for arguing a no-call late in the first half. About a minute later, Carter playfully slapped his ex-teammate in the face. Peterson, clearly annoyed, then slapped Carter.
    Official Steve Javie didn't see the Carter slap, but he saw Peterson's and gave him his second technical. An irate Peterson tossed his jersey into the stands before leaving.
    The Raptors received five technical, but the Nets missed four of the free throws.
    Carter scored nine straight points in one stretch. He shot 18-for-35 and also had 10 rebounds.
    Bosh scored six straight points at the start of the fourth on a drive, a hook shot and a jumper, giving Toronto 76-73 lead. Toronto led by eight with two minutes left and six with a minute to go, but Carter rallied his team with one clutch shot after another.
    Notes: The Sonics lost for the first time in four Sunday games this season. ... Knicks swingman Quentin Richardson returned after missing three straight games with back spasms. ... Crawford missed his second in a row because of sprained left foot.
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