for this game

Curry slams home winner as Knicks hold off Lakers

Feb 14, 2007 - 7:38 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The star for most of the game, Jamal Crawford was in a supporting role for the New York Knicks' impressive final act.

Taking most of the shots down the stretch, Crawford was the playmaker on the final sequence, setting up teammate Eddy Curry for a monstrous go-ahead dunk with seven seconds left as the Knicks posted a dramatic 107-106 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Crawford scored 24 points and Curry added 19 and seven rebounds for the Knicks, who survived 31 points from superstar Kobe Bryant, who did not play in the first meeting between the teams on January 30 after being suspended for elbowing San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili.

"(Kobe's) the kind of guy who makes you nervous when he has the ball," New York coach Isiah Thomas said. "I don't think we kept him from beating us. I think we're probably lucky to survive it."

Trailing, 106-105, with 30 seconds left, New York was able to convert on its wild final possession. After Quentin Richardson missed a wide-open 3-pointer, David Lee grabbed a huge offensive rebound and found Crawford, who drove the lane and threw a perfect lob pass, setting up Curry's thunderous dunk.

"I think we are very comfortable together," Crawford said. "I was going to try and get some contact, and when I saw (Lakers center Andrew) Bynum step up to help I knew Eddy was wide open. It's instinctive. He knows if his man comes out to help, he is going to get the ball 10 times out of 10."

Curry was making up for an earlier miscue and connected on his first-ever game-winning hoop.

"(Crawford) was in my ear about missing that pass earlier and getting him in trouble," Curry said. "The last play was all instinct. Jamal created it and I just had to finish it. I've never had a game-winning basket. I had a game-tying layup against the Knicks when I was with the Bulls."

"I thought it was guys making great basketball play," Thomas said. "You want to give your guys the freedom to make plays like that. I thought that our mental stamina was a lot stronger tonight. I thought that the way we got stung in Utah, everyone was pretty conscious of that and it's good to see that you learn from your mistakes."

After splitting the first two games of a three-game Western road trip, New York will play the finale against Golden State on Wednesday.

On the ensuing possession, with all eyes on Bryant, Los Angeles went to Lamar Odom, who fired an airball with Lee tightly guarding him as time expired. One of the premier late-game finishers in the league, Bryant was not double-teamed but did not touch the ball on final play.

"I think all 20,000 people in the building thought Kobe would take the last shot," Crawford said. "We're just glad he didn't."

Bryant had no problem with Odom taking the game in his hands.

"He can knock down big shots," Bryant said. "For Lamar to get the ball and create in that situation is perfectly fine. He got a good look at it. I'm sure if he had to do it over again it would go down."

"It was a pick-and-roll play," Odom said. "I explored going to my left so I stepped back to shoot a shot I felt comfortable with I just missed. I think (Lee) might have got a piece of it."

Crawford was 9-of-17 - including 2-of-5 from the arc - and Curry was 9-of-12 from the field. Richardson added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who shot 50 percent (39-of-78).

Odom had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who shot 43 percent (37-of-87) to absorb their fourth straight loss.

"Well, they made some critical plays," Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said. "We missed ours down the stretch and the game was won by second-chance opportunities in the last couple minutes of the game where we didn't capture a rebound."

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