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Curry continues inspired play as Knicks top Hawks

Dec 14, 2006 - 3:21 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Eddy Curry is turning into one of the most reliable players in the Eastern Conference.

Curry continued his dominant play with 20 points and nine rebounds and Jared Jeffries added 15 points as the New York Knicks used a balanced attack en route to a 94-82 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

Stephon Marbury and Nate Robinson scored 13 points apiece for the Knicks, who shot 45 percent (33-of-74) from the field and had four double-digit scorers.

However, it was a cohesive effort on the other end of the court that led to New York's victory.

"Everybody stepped up," Jeffries said. "Eddy stepped up, (Quentin Richardson) stepped up, Stephon, Jamal (Crawford) and I just did my part. One person doesn't go out there and make that big a difference on defense."

After being traded from Chicago prior to last season, Curry had been maligned for weight problems and inconsistent play. However, the 6-11 center is on one of the most productive stretches of his career, recording his 11th straight 20-point game.

"I'm just adjusting to the way we're playing right now - dumping the ball down to Eddy," Marbury said. "He has it going right now. He's playing like an All-Star and he's carrying us right now. I'm just trying to adjust my game to fit around how Eddy is playing."

On Wednesday, he shot 7-of-13 from the floor and 6-of-10 from the line to continue a push for his first All-Star appearance.

"It's cool, but until it happens, it's just talk," Curry said. "I still got a long way to go. This team still has a long way to go. My goal is to help this team make the playoffs and trying to make sure Isiah Thomas is here for a long time."

After breaking his wrist in New York's first preseason game, Jeffries shot an efficient 7-of-8 in his first start and just second appearance of the campaign.

"I felt good. Whenever I get a chance to start, it's good," Jeffries said. "I've been a starter my whole career. I'm used to doing that. So it feels good to start, I enjoy it. Hopefully, I can continue to play well. If I can play well, then coach will be justified in starting me."

"Anything that (Jeffries) gives us offensively is a bonus because that isn't the reason that we brought him here," Thomas said. "On a night where he's 7-of-8, we don't expect it every night but we'll take it. A lot of his scores are tap-ins, offensive rebounds, running in transition. He just knows how to play."

Marvin Williams scored 23 points and Salim Stoudamire added 12 for the Hawks, who shot just 38 percent (26-of-69) en route to their fourth straight loss.

Despite the poor shooting, it was the Hawks' defense that let them down.

"It is (surprising)," Williams said. "The way we started the season off when we were 4-1. We see how we defended and everybody was really active. We all talked. We just don't have that right now. It is kind of surprising."

Atlanta starters Josh Childress (broken foot) and Joe Johnson (strained calf) did not play.

"We miss them a lot," Williams said. "Joe runs our team and Josh is also the same person. He's been big for us every time he steps on the court. Once we get those guys back healthy, I think we can get rolling again."

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