Knicks 99, Heat 93
NEW YORK (AP)—Stephon Marbury made the most of 12 shots.
Marbury scored 18 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and Jamal Crawford hurt the Miami Heat again with a deep 3-pointer in the closing seconds to lift the New York Knicks to a 99-93 victory Monday night.
The Knicks, who lost at New Jersey on Sunday while trying to gain ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race, shook off the defending NBA champions during a tight final period.
“Our disposition and our mind-set was certainly different in the second half,” said Marbury, who made seven of 12 shots. “We didn’t want to allow the same things to happen as last night.”
New York won for only the fourth time in the back half of 14 sets of consecutive games.
“We don’t even want to think about losing two in a row,” said forward Malik Rose, who returned from a benching Sunday and took up the slack inside against Shaquille O’Neal. “If we can get two or three wins and get a little momentum going again that will probably carry us, hopefully, to the playoffs.”
The Knicks, swept by the Heat in three games last season, won this series 3-1. Marbury took over late when it appeared the Knicks might be headed to their first losing streak in a month.
Running the show without fellow point guard Steve Francis, Marbury made four of six shots in the fourth—including two 3s and four free throws midway through that helped the Knicks erase a six-point deficit.
His layup with 59 seconds remaining gave the Knicks a 94-92 lead, and they were never caught again.
“I just have to let the game come,” he said. “At that point it was needed.”
Eddy Curry, in his first matchup this season with O’Neal, scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Crawford had 20 points, including a 3 from the corner with 21 seconds left that gave the Knicks a 97-93 lead.
“Here’s the deal,” Heat coach Pat Riley said. “You’re on the road 70-70 in the fourth quarter. If you’re going to give up 30, you’re probably going to have a hard time to win.”
Crawford was the star against Miami on Jan. 26 when he poured in a career-high 52 points. Curry, New York’s leading scorer, missed that game.
“I am pretty much the focal point of the offense,” Curry said. “Playing against those guys, you know you’re not going to see many double teams. You’re pretty much going to have a one-on-one matchup. That’s the beauty of playing against guys like that because you really get to see where you stand.”
The 10th-place Knicks moved within two games of Miami.
Things started well for O’Neal in just his 17th game this season. He quickly got the five points he needed to reach 25,000 for his career. He is the top scorer among active players, 14th overall in NBA history, and the seventh to reach 25,000 points and 10,000 rebounds.
But he made only one of two free throws with 43.7 seconds remaining when he could have tied it. Miami attempted only eight foul shots total, compared to 39 for New York.
“I am kind of disappointed in myself because if I make free throws I’d be at 30,000 rather than 25,000,” O’Neal said.
Kapono, the NBA 3-point champion, scored the first five points of the final quarter to give the Heat a 75-70 lead before O’Neal got back on the floor with four fouls. With a drive inside, O’Neal pushed Miami’s advantage to 77-71.
Marbury made four free throws to draw the Knicks within two and then stepped beyond the arc following Antoine Walker’s layup to make it 79-78.
O’Neal scored again inside before Crawford hit a 3 on New York’s next possession to tie it. The momentum swung the Knicks’ way when O’Neal was whistled for his fifth personal with 7:06 remaining.
Marbury drilled another 3 to make it 84-81. But the Heat had a 6-0 run to go back in front before Marbury’s jumper over Alonzo Mourning got New York within one.
Crawford’s jumper and four more free throws by Marbury gave the Knicks a 92-89 advantage, but Kapono tied it with a 3 with 1:46 remaining.
Marbury answered again, driving the lane to make it 94-92.
“Our focus was totally different during the game,” he said. “They made a run but we withstood it.”
O’Neal made 1-of-2 from the line before Crawford took a deflected pass intended for Curry and buried his clinching shot.
“It was like, ‘Look what I have, a 3,”’ Crawford said.
Knicks F David Lee missed his second straight game due to a sprained ankle. Francis also sat out because of knee tendinitis. … The Heat were whistled for three technical fouls for defensive 3-second violations. Head coach Pat Riley and assistant Ron Rothstein were also hit with technicals.