NEW YORK (AP)—Jamal Crawford was rattling off the list of his game-winning baskets before the Knicks’ game on Friday night.
Time to update it.
Crawford hit his second winning basket in three nights, making a jumper with 0.5 seconds left to help New York beat the Indiana Pacers 98-96 on Friday night.
“I love that moment. I honestly do,” Crawford said. “I’ve always been like that as a kid, I always wanted the ball late.”
Though the Knicks (21-54) don’t win often, Crawford is developing a reputation as a clutch player. All of New York’s last three victories have come with him hitting the go-ahead basket in the closing seconds, including Wednesday’s 96-94 victory over Cleveland.
He also beat Detroit last month and Toronto in February with last-second shots.
Crawford finished with 23 points and Nate Robinson had 16 for the Knicks, who broke open the game midway through the final quarter, but needed more heroics from Crawford after the Pacers fought back with their 3-point shooting.
Qyntel Woods overcame an embarrassing missed dunk to add 13 points for the Knicks, who have delivered consecutive strong outings against playoff-caliber teams after coach Larry Brown said some of his players had stopped giving effort.
“I looked out on the court, we had our summer team out there to beat a pretty good team,” Brown said. “You know we are playing a playoff team and competing, and it was really fun to watch.”
Peja Stojakovic scored 32 points and Jermaine O’Neal added 25 for the Pacers, who have lost seven straight road games. Indiana was held to one field goal in the first 7-plus minutes of the fourth quarter and missed a chance to move ahead of Milwaukee into sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
“We are a terrible defensive team right now,” O’Neal said. “We’re not putting forth the maximum effort that we need to put forth, especially in our position. You’d think that we’d put forth that maximum effort to not only win the game, but to get a good rhythm to get into the playoffs.”
Stephen Jackson scored 17, including the basket that tied it with 8.5 seconds left after the Pacers trailed by nine midway through the period.
But Crawford quickly brought the ball down the floor and pulled up from the left side for the tiebreaking basket. The Pacers called timeout, but couldn’t get off a final shot.
O’Neal’s three-point play with 9:28 remaining gave Indiana a 75-74 lead, but Maurice Taylor and Robinson made jumpers to give the Knicks a three-point lead. After a free throw by Eddy Curry, Robinson made a 3-pointer, then found David Lee on the break for a dunk, putting the Knicks up 84-75 with 5:26 to go.
Jackson made two free throws to end New York’s 10-0 run, then made a 3-pointer with 4:55 remaining to end the field goal drought and bring the Pacers within 84-80.
Indiana’s next four field goals were also 3-pointers, helping the Pacers close within 94-92 on Stojakovic’s 3 with 1:28 to go. But he missed on their next trip with a chance to give Indiana the lead.
“When you make the kind of mistakes we made throughout the course of the whole game, you just leave too much to chance,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “They were aggressive, they did some things that made it tough on us. But you’ve got to meet force with force in this league. Early fourth we didn’t do it.”
The Knicks led by three at halftime and should have scored the first basket of the second half when Woods came in alone for a dunk after a steal. But he badly missed his attempt at a 360, and the Pacers scored the next six points to grab a 52-49 lead.
“The floor was a little sweaty, but I still should have made it,” said Woods, who estimated he otherwise would have made the dunk “10 out of 10” times.
With Indiana leading by one later in the quarter, Johnson and Stojakovic opened and closed a 10-2 burst with 3-pointers as the Pacers pulled ahead 70-61 with 2:11 remaining in the period.
Neither team led by more than six points during a tightly played first half. Jackie Butler snapped the eighth and final tie of the half with two straight baskets in the final minute, and New York led 49-46 at halftime.
Pacers PG Jamaal Tinsley was sidelined for the second straight game with a sore right Achilles’. Reserve Fred Jones returned after missing two games with a torn ligament in left hand. He had two points while playing with the wrist taped … The Knicks remained without Stephon Marbury (knee), Jalen Rose (right knee, left foot) and Quentin Richardson (left thumb). … Swingman Ime Udoka, who became the first player called up from the D-League by the Knicks on Thursday, made his debut late in the first quarter and was scoreless. … The teams meet again Monday night at Indianapolis.