Stephon Marbury scored 32 points, including seven in the third overtime, and added 10 assists against his former team as the Knicks outlasted the Suns 140-133 Monday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
Eddy Curry and rookie David Lee each converted three-point plays in the third overtime for the Knicks, who needed to play a triple-overtime game for the first time in 13 years to avoid taking sole possession of the NBA’s worst record.
“I wanted some of these guys to get that kind of experience. Those guys got us to that position and I kept asking them if any of them wanted to come out,” Knicks coach Larry Brown said. “Jamal (Crawford) was really struggling physically and none of them wanted to come out.
“I’m just proud of them because that’s a quality team and we managed to survive, and then we figured out a way to win.”
Crawford added 29 points, Curry had 20 points and a season-high 15 rebounds, and Lee finished with season highs of 23 points and 15 boards in 52 minutes in the best game of his career.
“I have been waiting for this opportunity to get in there and the coach has been happy with me lately and told me to just go out there and play as hard I can,” said Lee, inactive for seven straight games earlier in the season but moved into the starting lineup recently.
“I just brought the same attitude I’ve been bringing, and instead of bringing that attitude for five or 10 minutes I had a chance to bring it for some more time tonight.”
It was too much time for the Suns, who were forced to play overtime for the second straight game and were trying to complete their first 5-0 road trip since April 6-13, 1998.
Shawn Marion scored a career-high 39 points and Steve Nash added 28 points and a career-best 22 assists for the Suns, who wilted in the third overtime after four players had fouled out. The Knicks shot 54 free throws to the Suns’ 16.
“It seemed like the more and more we kept going to overtime, the more it drained us,” Marion said after playing 60 minutes.
The Knicks, who entered the game tied with Atlanta at 7-21 for the worst record in the league, never trailed after Curry opened the third overtime with his three-point play. Marion scored on the other end, but Lee’s three-point play made it 133-129 with 4:16 remaining.
After another basket by Marion, Marbury scored seven straight points as the Knicks pushed the lead to 140-131. New York was playing its first triple-overtime game since Feb. 14, 1993, a 102-100 loss at Orlando.
“It is very satisfying,” Marbury said. “It shows what we have as a team. Whenever you can go on the court and play three overtimes with no one giving up, it shows what we can do on the court.”
The Suns had a four-point lead with 2 minutes left in the first overtime after Eddie House and Nash made consecutive 3-pointers. But Nate Robinson scored four straight to tie it, and after Pat Burke gave Phoenix the lead again with a pair of free throws, Crawford scored in the lane for a 118-all tie. He missed a jumper with 0.9 seconds left to send the game to the second overtime.
The Suns trailed by as much as 13 points in the second half before Marion and Nash led a rally in the fourth quarter. After Boris Diaw’s jumper brought Phoenix within 98-93, the All-Stars combined to score the Suns’ final 11 points of regulation.
Crawford made two free throws to give the Knicks their final lead at 102-100, then Marion made two from the line to tie the game for the first time. Marion converted an alley-oop from Nash to give Phoenix its first lead since the opening 2 minutes of the game before Curry made two free throws with 8.4 seconds to go after being fouled while going for an offensive rebound.
Nash missed a jumper at the buzzer to send the Suns to overtime for the second straight game. They won at Chicago on Saturday night.
“We had the game won and then all of a sudden they shot two free throws,” Nash said. “When you foul out your whole team and you have the rest of the guys running on fumes after a nine-day road trip, for us just to hang around at that point is outstanding.”
Former Knicks center Kurt Thomas, greeted by a nice ovation before the game, scored eight points before fouling out with 8.4 seconds to go in regulation.
Knicks forward Antonio Davis left with 3:57 remaining in the third quarter with a lower back spasm and did not return. He was hurt while trying to grab an offensive rebound. … Before the game, the Knicks announced that Jerome James was indefinitely suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, saying the center was unprepared to practice Sunday. Also, reserve Penny Hardaway was given permission to leave to the team so he could work out independently in Houston. … Phoenix swingman Jim Jackson, a former Ohio State star, spent the pregame watching the Buckeyes’ game against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl on a locker room TV.