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Marbury takes over in fourth quarter as Knicks top Warriors

Mar 3, 2007 - 5:33 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- The old Stephon Marbury is back.

Marbury scored 12 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter and Quentin Richardson added 30 and 12 rebounds as the New York Knicks used a decisive run en route to a 106-97 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

Eddy Curry collected 22 points and seven rebounds for the Knicks, who played their second game without injured guard Jamal Crawford. The 6-5 scorer is out for the season with a stress fracture in his right ankle.

"We knew that, with Jamal being out, somebody was going to have to try to carry the load for us," Curry said. "Steph's incredible. He's taken some big shots, a very gutsy player. You've got to admire what he's doing and what he's providing out there for us."

Despite Marbury's play, Richardson admitted that Crawford is irreplaceable.

"Regardless of what happens, we're always going to miss Jamal," Richardson said. "He's our closer, he's our game-winning shotmaker, so to speak, for the year. Regardless of the situation, we are going to miss him.

"The situation that we are in, we understand what we got to do. We're still not going to let up on our goals and things we want to do because we've had a couple of misfortunes. Everyone has some stuff going on with their teams, so you got to make it through."

One of the Knicks' most effective shotmakers in the final period, Crawford left a huge void in New York's lineup. More of a facilitator this season, Marbury must return to the scorer's mentality which built his reputation in order to fill his backcourt mate's role.

"That's what I've been doing all my career, so that's easy for me to do," Marbury said. "But, if it's not needed, then that's what's not going to happen. If it's needed, then I'm going to assert myself to try to score more. But I think right now everyone is getting into a nice flow."

After scoring 23 points in a loss at lowly Boston on Wednesday, he was again assertive - shooting 11-of-16 from the field, including 4-of-7 from the arc - two nights later.

"I thought (Marbury) was very aggressive and he was taking the ball to the basket," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "I thought our team was very aggressive in the first half. We got to the line 21 times. When we do that, we are a good basketball team, we are very difficult to stop."

Trailing by two points with 5:31 left, the Knicks went on a 12-0 run, capped by Marbury's two free throws with 1:10 remaining. The veteran point guard had eight points during the burst.

Richardson shot 9-of-16 from the floor, including 5-of-9 on 3-pointers, and Curry was 7-of-13 for New York, which shot 34-of-67 from the field, 10-of-19 from the arc and outrebounded the Warriors, 45-38.

"Q (Richardson) is shooting the ball extremely well," Marbury said. "We have that triangle going with Eddy, Q and myself, so we're learning how to play with each other.

Little-used rookie Mardy Collins scored just five points in 17 minutes but made a big impact with his defense. Collins gave New York the lead for good, making a steal and converting a layup in transition to make it 93-92 with 3:51 left.

"I just saw the guy drive to the basket, so I just tried to help off a little bit," Collins said. "I stuck my hand out and I stole the ball and I just wanted to go down the other end and try to finish. I try to do it defensively. I know that type of play can change the game because a defensive stop can lead to a huge play, which can get the crowd into the game."

Marbury is impressed with the first-year player's work ethic.

"Mardy, he's a true pro," Marbury said. "By him keeping himself in shape, by him practicing extremely hard, coming ready to work every day, it's easy for him to step right in. Obviously, practice time is not the equivalent of playing on the court where it's real time. But I think by him coming in, he asserts himself really well."

Al Harrington scored 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting and Monta Ellis added 17 on just 7-of-22 shooting for Golden State, which shot 45 percent (40-of-89) to absorb its fifth straight loss.

With Baron Davis and Matt Barnes already out, Stephen Jackson sat out with a fractured left big toe.

"That's what we missed tonight, Davis, Jackson and Barnes," Ellis said. "If we could just get everyone healthy at the same time, who knows what we can do. But we missed all those guys tonight, we really needed them."

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