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Knicks overcome Curry's 54 points, beat Warriors

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Stephen Curry pulled up again, less than two minutes left in the game that he had turned into a classic at Madison Square Garden, with the type of performance that conjured memories of revered New York Knicks foes Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

The stakes weren't as high as they had been for some of the moments from those noted Knicks-killers, but Curry's career-high 54 points for the Golden State Warriors had sent adrenaline surging throughout the Garden.

The Knicks eventually would win the game, 109-105, thanks largely to one play with less than two minutes left, the one in which Knicks point guard Raymond Felton finally shut down the seemingly unstoppable Curry by blocking his shot, the play that led to the Knicks' final four points.

But as Curry pulled up for that shot with 1:28 left and the score tied 105-105, it was hard to imagine him missing at that point. He had scored the most points at the Garden since James' 52 in 2009, a few days after Bryant put up 61 there.

With David Lee suspended for his role in Tuesday's fight against Indiana, Curry took over for the Warriors, hitting 18 of 28 shots from the field and a jaw-dropping 11 of 13 from 3-point range while also adding seven assists.

"Anytime you go 11 for 13 from the 3-point line, that is remarkable," said Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who missed the morning shootaround with a stomach virus but still scored 35 points including a key basket in the final minute. Anthony added eight assists.

"There is nothing anybody can do. We have to hope he misses," Anthony said of Curry.

With one made 3-pointer more inexplicable than the other, Curry energized the Garden crowd and earned its respect.

The Knicks did their best to counter Curry. J.R. Smith stepped up his game and poured in 26 points, including six 3-pointers.

"There is a lot of energy in that arena for both teams once I started putting up some numbers," said Curry, who had coveted the chance to play in New York, but was picked by the Warriors one spot ahead of the Knicks in the 2009 draft. "When I made a couple shots, you could hear the crowd a little bit and, obviously, when they were knocking down dagger 3s, it was electric, so it was kind of running off adrenaline down the stretch."

On the Knicks' side, along with Anthony and Smith, Tyson Chandler took advantage of Lee's absence to grab a career-high 28 rebounds.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson, the former Knicks point guard and New York native, who said before the game it was another dream come true to make his Garden coaching debut after playing there so long ago, was going to ride his hot player to the end. Curry would play 48 minutes on the second night of back-to-back games, and still he could not be slowed for most of the game.

How hot had Curry been?

Curry's own teammates "were in my ear, treating me like a pitcher throwing a no-hitter," he said. "Not trying to touch my right hand and all that kind of funny stuff.

"Once I started to see that 3-ball going down in transition and all sorts of spots over the floor, I knew it was going to be a good night," added Curry, who said his favorite shot was one he hit before falling down, only realizing it had gone in when the crowd reacted.

The Knicks could only shake their heads time and time again, many of them saying there was nothing anyone could do to defend Curry. Double-teams, traps, nothing worked, because Curry would just put up the shot, sometimes seemingly before he could even see where he was shooting.

"No way he's seeing the net," Felton would tell Chandler. Not even the rim, Chandler would say.

Curry would give the Warriors a 100-99 lead with 4:43 left. A minute later, he again put them on top with a 3, giving Golden State a 103-102 lead with 3:44 left.

"This kid," Chandler would remember thinking later, "isn't going to beat us single-handedly tonight."

But he seemed set to do just that with his shooting display, until the final moments.

Curry pulled up that last time with a minute-and-a-half to play, after making a rare turnover a few moments earlier. This time, the Knicks all called out the play, recognizing it from their scouting report.

After hitting 3s in transition and from all those spots on the floor, Curry was attempting a midrange jumper with the scored tied at 105-105.

But Felton stayed close, acknowledging later that was all he could try to do -- stay close. Both players went up. Felton blocked the shot.

The Knicks raced down the court and took a 107-105 lead on Smith's drive to the basket with 1:10 remaining.

In the final minute, after Anthony's off-balance jumper gave the Knicks a 109-105 lead, Felton stole the ball and New York (34-20) was able to hang on for the win.

"It's a crunch-time shot," Curry said. "I tried to get open. He played good D. I thought I had an angle on him to get the shot up and he stayed right there with me.

"Can't do nothing about it, but you'd like to have that one back obviously. ... It's tough. You want to be able to celebrate a performance like that with a win."

NOTES: Knicks forward Rasheed Wallace will require surgery this week for a fractured bone in his left foot and will be out for eight weeks, meaning he would miss the rest of the regular season, the Knicks announced. Wallace, who averaged 7.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 20 games, had been out since Dec. 13 with the foot injury, but the club said the fracture was discovered in recent X-rays. ... Knicks point guard Pablo Prigioni (back spasms) was deemed able to play shortly before game time. ... Along with Lee's suspension, Curry and Klay Thompson were fined $35,000 apiece, as was the Pacers' Lance Stephenson, for their roles in escalating Tuesday's fight, the league announced. Jackson said he didn't think Lee deserved the one-game suspension, which was also imposed on the Pacers' Roy Hibbert.
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