for this game

Curry bounces back, leads Knicks over Nets

Dec 16, 2007 - 4:45 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- There was an Eddy Curry sighting, and the New York Knicks found something else that had been reported missing - a victory.

A night after going scoreless in 13 minutes, Curry had 23 points and nine rebounds as the Knicks snapped a five-game losing streak with a 94-86 victory over the New Jersey Nets Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

"Eddy is a big part of this team and we need him to be successful," New York forward Zach Randolph said. "He stayed aggressive, faced up and going off his dribble helped him. He played better tonight. He played big. For us to win, we need him."

"It's good to get him back," Knicks guard Jamal Crawford said. "A player like Eddy will come out of it sooner or later. We definitely needed him tonight."

Crawford added 32 points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that gave the Knicks a 70-62 lead entering the fourth.

Randolph added 20 points and 13 rebounds for New York, which never squandered that lead and picked up its first win since December 5 at New Jersey when Jason Kidd sat out with a migraine.

While Crawford and Randolph's individual efforts ensured the Knicks would not squander the lead in the fourth, it was Curry's re-emergence that was the biggest development.

Curry played 37:42, made 9-of-16 shots and 5-of-8 free throws. He also just missed his second double-double of the season as he grabbed nine rebounds.

"When he plays like this, he is a force and he is a real presence," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said of Curry. "Nothing really changed. He had the same shots that he's had the last couple of games.

"You could see his will and his determination and his whole demeanor. That really comes from him and just the way he approaches it. When he approaches the game like that, it just gives everyone confidence, particularly the guards."

During New York's losing streak, Curry had scored just 36 points while making 16-of-41 shots. Those games included a 3-of-13 showing Monday against Dallas and an 0-of-5 night Friday in a 101-96 loss at Chicago.

Curry sat out most of the second half Friday, had two dunks blocked and picked up two fouls in the first 2:46. It resulted in him going scoreless for the first time since January 29, 2003 and was also the sixth game that he failed to score in double figures.

"I was mad at myself," Curry said. "I feel like I was letting my team down every time we lost, and I looked at the box score and just the way I felt after the game. I felt like I could have did more and, if I just did a little bit, we could probably win some games."

That game also came after Thomas hinted that Curry was limited in what he could do. A night later, Curry turned in his first 20-point performance since December 2 against Phoenix and sixth overall.

"I just kind of made up my mind that I was going to come out and play as hard as I can and, if I miss shots, I wasn't going to let it affect me," Curry said. "But I was going to play the whole game and, at the end of the game, I was going to know I did everything, I could to get myself out of the funk I was in."

The Knicks never built their lead to any more than 10 in the fourth but also never wilted as their lead was sliced to four with Curry on the bench. They restored their lead to eight on Crawford's 17-footer with just over five minutes remaining and were never threatened thereafter.

Curry returned with 4:23 remaining and gave the Knicks their first double-digit lead of the night when he made a pair of free throws.

The win snapped New York's 11-game losing streak to New Jersey with Kidd on the court. Including the four-game sweep in the 2004 playoffs, the Knicks are just 3-24 against New Jersey since Kidd's arrival in 2001.

Without Kidd's services, the Nets suffered a 100-93 setback to the Knicks when the two teams met for the first time this season on December 5.

Kidd missed the game with a migraine headache but multiple reports said he decided to sit out to protest the current state of the franchise and perhaps force a trade. The 13-year veteran denied the reports.

In this one, Kidd collected 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for New Jersey, which lost to lowly New York one night after defeating the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers at home.

"We knew Curry was going to be extremely motivated coming off his performance against Chicago," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "It was more lack of offensive attack. We tried to get ourselves going by double-teaming, creating some turnovers and energy.

"At the end of the day, we just have to find a way in terms of getting the ball in the paint and doing a better job of passing out of the double teams. We played like a very tired team."

Vince Carter led the Nets with 24 points and Richard Jefferson finished with 14 but shot 7-of-21 for New Jersey, which lost for the fifth time in six games.

"We had great efforts from everybody last night," Kidd said. "We just couldn't carry it over to tonight. We had a lot of good looks but we just couldn't knock them down."

Curry, whom Thomas sent two first round picks to Chicago for in October 2005, scored 14 points in the first half when the Knicks rallied from a six-point deficit and took a 40-38 lead at halftime.

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