SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—Stephon Marbury told his New York teammates to keep their heads up and give him the ball.
Marbury scored 30 points, including New York’s last six in overtime, to help the Knicks snap a nine-game road losing streak with a 102-99 win over Utah on Monday night.
“He wanted the ball in his hands. He commanded the ball, and then he made shots,” said Kurt Thomas, who had 16 points and set most of the screens that left Marbury open.
After the Jazz took a 99-98 lead in overtime, Marbury made two jumpers to give the Knicks the victory in the final game of a dismal six-game trip.
“Tough times don’t last forever, tough people do. We’re a tough group and eventually it’ll change,” Marbury said.
Michael Sweetney added 15 points for the Knicks, Trevor Ariza had 14, and Penny Hardaway 13. Andrei Kirilenko scored 25 points for Utah, but missed two free throws and a pair of 3-point attempts in overtime that would have tied it.
“I am pretty happy for the guys. They just fight back and didn’t drop their heads. Still, I don’t think I did a good job at the end of the game,” Kirilenko said.
The Jazz had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds of regulation, but Ariza knocked a pass off Matt Harpring and out of bounds with 4.5 seconds left.
Utah got another chance when Nazr Mohammed missed a pair of free throws with 3.5 second left. Ariza then fouled Gordan Giricek, who made two free throws with 0.2 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
“Even when Giricek went to the free-throw line, no one put their heads down at all. We still believed that we were going to win this game,” Marbury said.
“We just seem to get to the point in games where we freeze up,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
The Knicks had an 88-75 lead with 7:43 left in the fourth quarter, but managed just one field goal and missed seven of their last eight free throws in regulation.
“When you lose games at the end, you’re going to start staring down the clock. The one positive for us was Steph wanted the ball and made big shots for us,” Knicks coach Herb Williams said.
Just as in previous losses to the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns on the trip, the Knicks played well throughout before faltering late in the second half. But this time they bounced back in overtime for their first road victory since Dec. 27 in Orlando.
“We kept our heads up and kept competing. We knew we couldn’t get on the flight home with another loss,” Thomas said.
New York beat Utah 94-93 at Madison Square Garden in December and swept the season series for the first time since the 1991-92 season.
New York’s Jamal Crawford was not in uniform because of a sprained left ankle. … The Knicks’ Tim Thomas jammed his left index finger with 5:25 left in the second quarter, but X-rays were negative and he started the second half with a heavily taped hand. … Bell dislocated his right pinkie with 4:31 to play in regulation, but returned to play in the overtime. … Carlos Boozer, Utah’s leading scorer, had only five points before fouling out.