Knicks 96, Hawks 94
ATLANTA (AP)—Stephon Marbury was only concerned with the end result, not the execution.
“Look up the definition of luck in the dictionary,” Marbury said. “I’ll take luck all day.”
Atlanta’s Jason Terry missed an open 3 that would have tied it with about 10 seconds left, and Kurt Thomas made two free throws to clinch it. The Knicks have won five of six since Lenny Wilkens replaced Don Chaney as coach.
“It’s a great atmosphere they have created for me,” Marbury said. “It’s great playing for Lenny. He’s a guy you have to learn from.”
Marbury finished with 24 points and Keith Van Horn added 18.
Shandon Anderson didn’t play for New York, snapping his streak of consecutive games at 543, which was the longest active streak in the NBA.
“It’s always a tough decision, but you’re trying to win the game,” Wilkens said.
The two spoke about the situation a few days ago, and Wilkens said Anderson told him he would sit if that’s what the coach felt was needed to win a game.
“Tonight was one of those situations,” Wilkens said.
Atlanta took its final lead, 87-85, on two free throws by Theo Ratliff with 3:42 left. Marbury hit his first 3, draining a jumper right over Terry, to give New York the lead, and Allan Houston made a free throw to make it 89-87.
Terry tied it again with two free throws, setting up the winning possession.
Penny Hardaway missed a well-defended jumper, but Dikembe Mutombo soared high over Ratliff for the rebound. Mutombo passed it out to Marbury near halfcourt, and he patiently dribbled a bit before launching his 3-pointer from well behind the line.
It banked off the glass and went through cleanly, giving the Knicks the lead for good.
“Every team comes out here with a four-leaf clover in their pocket,” Jackson said. “If they want to play on luck, they can.”
Thanks to a postgame concert by rap star Busta Rhymes, a raucous crowd of 16,469 turned out, including many Knicks fans. When Marbury’s shot fell through, they cheered with delight, almost as if he’d hit the shot at home.
“That was shocking,” Marbury said. “The Knicks are a team everybody loves. It’s not disrespecting the Hawks. It’s just showing love for the Knicks.”
The Knicks scored the first seven points and eventually took an 11-point lead before the Hawks rallied. A 3-pointer by Terry tied it at 51, the first tie of the game, but Atlanta still trailed 54-53 at the half.
After the teams combined to miss the first five shots of the third quarter, a jumper by Boris Diaw gave the Hawks their first lead.
Diaw, a rookie making his 15th start of the season, had a season-high 10 rebounds, including six on the offensive end. He finished with eight points.
“To lose like that, it hurts, man,” Jackson said. “This definitely hurts. Of any loss that hurt this season, this one hurt the most, considering how welost.”
Atlanta F Alan Henderson was back with the team after missing five straight games while attending to his ill mother. But Henderson sat out again with a sore back. … Mutombo got a technical in the second quarter for arguing a foul called against him. … New York plays four of its next five games at home. … The Hawks, who lead the NBA in turnovers, had a season-low nineturnovers, well off their average of 17.1.