109 - 113 Final
  for this game

Marbury, Knicks win second straight, hold off Jazz

Nov 27, 2007 - 4:11 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Two weeks ago, Isiah Thomas benched Stephon Marbury. But on Monday night, he may have finally received the performance he envisioned from his point guard.

In possibly his finest game of the season, Marbury scored a season-best 28 points as the Knicks held off the Utah Jazz, 113-109, at Madison Square Garden.

Zach Randolph collected 25 points and 14 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season for the Knicks, who put together consecutive wins for the first time in 20 days.

Randolph had his double-double early in the third but one of his biggest boards came with 8.9 seconds left when he grabbed a missed 3-point attempt by Jamal Crawford and prevented Utah from tying the game or taking a one-point lead.

Crawford scored 22 points for New York, which also avoided becoming the NBA's fifth 10-loss team and did so by shooting a season-best 53 percent (42-of-79).

The win also came on the two-week anniversary of Thomas telling Marbury he was sending him to the bench in favor of second-year guard Mardy Collins. It came a day after he was burned on the defensive end by Miami's Jason Williams in a 75-72 loss.

Marbury left the team in Phoenix but returned as a reserve the following day in Los Angeles and his tone seemed to suggest that he has moved on.

"That's over with," Marbury said. "We played a really good game. When they made their run, we didn't panic."

He also came off the bench in the next three games as the Knicks went winless on their Western swing before Marbury returned to the starting lineup last Tuesday in a sloppy home loss to Golden State. The Knicks committed 29 turnovers in a 26-point defeat in that contest.

The combination of the Marbury-Thomas rift and the eight-game losing streak appeared to have the Knicks spiraling out of control before they could even get to Thanksgiving.

But Marbury has played well in the last two games, and the Knicks have improved to 4-9, which is a lot better than the 2-11 mark they could have taken into Boston for a nationally televised contest on Thursday.

"It is all in the player," said Thomas, who wanted more leadership out Marbury. "He definitely has the talent and the skill. Not only that, he also has the determination and motivation. He is self-driven and self-motivated. You don't have to get on him too often, but you do have to remind him sometimes how good he should be."

After scoring 19 points in Saturday's 85-78 win over Chicago, Marbury still heard some boos during pregame introductions. By the time he checked out for a break late in the third quarter with 22 points, he was getting some cheers.

In 36 minutes, Marbury was 9-of-14 from the floor and made all three of his 3-point attempts. He also was 7-of-8 from the line and handed out six assists.

"I thought Marbury was great," Thomas said. "Just from start to finish."

"I have the ball more," Marbury said. "When I have the ball more and I am able to create and make plays, I will be in a nice flow."

Marbury and Crawford combined for 50 points and were 16-of-30 from the floor. They also scored 12 of New York's 24 points in the fourth.

"They looked great tonight," Utah forward Carlos Boozer said. "They were talking out there. They were communicating. Honestly, I was really impressed."

The fans had plenty of reason to react positively towards the Knicks in this one. They took an 89-80 lead into the fourth and a 10-point edge with 7:54 left when Marbury finished off a three-point play.

"We were able to play well in front of our home crowd and get wins," New York center Eddy Curry said. "They (fans) were huge for us. They definitely will help us get the wins as added support."

Utah got it to 105-101 when Boozer put back Andrei Kirilenko's missed foul shot with 4:26 remaining. The Jazz missed two chances to further get closer, but after Boozer grabbed an offensive board, Deron Williams coasted in for a layup with 3:41 remaining and it was a two-point game - forcing Thomas to call a timeout.

The Jazz hung around but, with 2:26 remaining, Marbury forced Williams into making a backcourt violation. However, the Knicks could not capitalize as Crawford missed a runner, but Williams had his layup blocked by Randolph.

Following a missed 3-pointer by Crawford, Randolph swooped in for a basket for a 109-104 advantage. Quentin Richardson intercepted Utah's pass, and Marbury finished the play with a layup for a seven-point edge with 1:19 remaining.

New York took a 58-52 edge into halftime after nearly blowing all of a nine-point lead. They had a 53-44 lead quickly cut to one, but Crawford capped the half with a fadeaway 3-pointer from the right wing.

Crawford scored eight points in the third, including a jumper with 4:17 remaining that put New York up 81-70. He also helped the Knicks maintain their lead by scoring two consecutive baskets for a 69-59 edge with 8:29 remaining.

Boozer collected 30 points and 12 rebounds and Williams added 26 and eight assists for Utah, which made five turnovers in the final 12 minutes.

"Turnovers killed us," Williams said. "It was uncharacteristic. I just gotta do a better job of taking care of the ball."

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    UTAH 80

    Nov 26 9:20 PM

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    UTAH 52

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    UTAH 27

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