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Thomas wins preseason debut as Knicks cruise past Nets

Oct 14, 2006 - 3:33 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Isiah Thomas enjoyed a rousing coaching debut with the New York Knicks.

Stephon Marbury scored 16 points and Quentin Richardson added 14 to lead the Knicks to a 111-97 preseason victory over the New Jersey Nets on Friday.

New York's president of basketball operations since December 2003, Thomas took over as coach this past offseason. Thomas, who guided the Indiana Pacers to three straight playoff appearances from 2000-2003, replaced coaching legend Larry Brown, who was fired after only one season with the Knicks.

Coaching in his first game since being fired by the Indiana Pacers in 2003, Thomas watched intently as the Knicks dominated early.

New York led by 11 at halftime and used a 14-4 run in the third quarter to pull away. Marbury, who often clashed with Brown last season, directed a Knicks squad which scored 60 points in the first half and entered the fourth quarter with an 89-71 cushion.

Reserve Nate Robinson scored 12 points and rookie Renaldo Balkman collected 11 points and seven rebounds for New York, which had five players in double figures.

Rookie Marcus Williams scored 21 points and dished out seven assists and Richard Jefferson added 14 points in just 16 minutes for the Nets, who played without superstars Jason Kidd and Vince Carter. Carter, who watched from the bench in street clothes, has yet to play this season due to sore ribs.

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