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Marbury has huge fourth quarter as Knicks top Heat

Feb 27, 2007 - 5:28 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- While Jamal Crawford torched the Miami Heat last month, his backcourt mate did the job this time around.

In an exciting contest, Stephon Marbury scored 18 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and Eddy Curry collected 28 points and 11 rebounds as the New York Knicks played well down the stretch in a 99-93 victory over the Heat.

Crawford scored 20 points for the Knicks, who have won six straight games at home. New York rebounded from a disappointing loss at New Jersey on Sunday.

"This was a very important game for us," Marbury said. "Our disposition and our mind-set was totally different in the second half (Monday) opposed to (Sunday). We were well aware of how we played in the New Jersey game. We didn't want the same things to happen. Our focus was totally different tonight. They made a run, but we withstood their run."

Scoring a career-high 52 points the last time Miami visited Madison Square Garden on January 26, Crawford took almost all the shots down the stretch in that contest. On Monday, he let Marbury carry the load.

With the emergence of Curry and Crawford as viable offensive options, Marbury has been more of a facilitator and a playmaker this season.

"I am just really happy for Steph," reserve forward Malik Rose said. "He has been much maligned this season in the beginning of the year. Sometimes, it was correct, the jabbing at him or whatever, and sometimes it was unwarranted. He has taken a lot of the pressure, a lot of pressure from (coach Isiah Thomas) and he has rebounded well to play some good basketball for us."

Marbury gave the Knicks the lead for good with a nifty layup over Heat reserve center Alonzo Mourning to make it 87-86 with four minutes left. He also nailed six foul shots down the stretch.

"Our game plan is to get the ball to Eddy and basically play inside and out," Marbury said. "At that point, Jamal wasn't really shooting the ball and scoring like he normally does. I am basically keeping things together, which is totally different than my previous years of playing. I like this role because it is harder. This is a lot harder and more challenging."

However, Crawford put the game out of reach in the waning seconds. After Rose drove the lane and had his pass deflected, the ball caromed in the right corner to Crawford, who nailed a 3-pointer to make it 97-93 with 21 seconds remaining.

"It was a broken play but Coach told me to stay aggressive," Crawford said. "He thought I was too passive going into the fourth quarter. My teammates did a good job of getting me into position. Everybody thought it was going out of bounds, but I stepped in like it was a pass and tried to get it in rhythm."

Rose knew it was good.

"I saw Eddy," Rose said. "Eddy's man (Heat forward Udonis Haslem) tipped it and Jamal just picked it up and shot. When he shot it, I could see it (was going in) and I knew it was good."

Marbury shot 7-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-6 from the arc, and Curry was 9-of-17 from the floor and 10-of-13 from the line for New York, which shot 43 percent (31-of-72).

Jason Kapono scored 24 points and Shaquille O'Neal added 20 for the Heat, who shot 49 percent (40-of-81).

"At the end of the game, we tried to go to Shaquille and they did a good job of double-teaming him," Kapono said. "But it all comes down to defense. They scored 30 points in the fourth quarter, so it's 70-70 going into the quarter and we give up 30. So, it falls back to our defense."

Miami fell to 1-2 since star Dwyane Wade dislocated his left shoulder last Wednesday.

"It doesn't matter (playing without Wade)," Kapono said. "You know you have your top scorer out and you're losing 30 points a game plus all the assists and plays he makes. So, it's a huge void, but we don't have any time to worry about that and we have to figure out something and everyone has to bring something more to the game."

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