for this game

Rush helps Pacers hand Knicks seventh straight loss

Feb 7, 2008 - 5:56 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- The sooner the Indiana Pacers picked up a win, the better things would be. It did not look like things would improve until the fourth quarter.

Kareem Rush and Marquis Daniels combined for 20 points in the final period as the Pacers rallied from a seven-point deficit and ended a seven-game losing streak with a 103-100 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

Rush fell one point shy of his season high as he scored 11 of his 24 points in the fourth. Rush also finished 10-of-13 from the floor, including 5-of-6 down the stretch.

Daniels saw 26 minutes and scored nine of his 13 in the fourth and made 4-of-8 shots.

Both reserves played the entire quarter when Indiana held New York to 32 percent (6-of-19) shooting and overcame an 88-81 deficit with 7:26 remaining.

"I thought they were really the story," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "They gave us great performances not only down the stretch but throughout the game but were really two stars for us tonight."

"Down the stretch we went out there and got some stops," Rush said. "That's been our biggest problem the last couple of games - we haven't been able to close games out. We did a good job, especially on the last possession. We didn't allow them get a good shot off to tie the game."

Rush and Daniels combined for 15 points as Indiana closed out its first win since January 23 in Chicago with a 22-12 spurt. The ability to finish in the fourth allowed the Pacers (20-30) to pull within one-half game of New Jersey (20-29) for the final playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference.

"It was very, very important that we got a win," O'Brien said. "The sooner the better. We're still in the playoff race. I understand New Jersey lost (Wednesday) so we're closer to that eighth spot.

"It's no fun in the locker room and it's no fun around me when we're not winning, so I'm sure everybody is very happy that we got a 'W'."

In a game that featured 19 lead changes and 18 ties, it was not decided until the final minutes. New York's Zach Randolph, who finished with 26 points, hit a three-point play with 2:45 remaining for a 95-94 edge.

Indiana never trailed again as Mike Dunleavy, who had 17 points and nine rebounds, found Jeff Foster for a dunk.

Rush scored five straight points to put the Pacers ahead 100-95 with 1:22 remaining, but Randolph hit a 3-pointer with 32.3 seconds remaining to slice the deficit to 103-100.

The Knicks had a chance for overtime after Renaldo Balkman blocked Danny Granger but were out of timeouts, forcing Jamal Crawford to attempt a desperation heave at the buzzer off a broken play with three defenders around him.

"We didn't have any timeouts so it was tough," Crawford said. "I threw the ball up to Fred (Jones) and he was going to try to make a play. He was going to have a shot or throw it to Zach or myself. My man helped out on him, and I couldn't really throw it back to him, so I had to put it up."

Crawford's miss sent the Knicks to their seventh straight loss, one shy of their season worst. Winless since January 25, New York has actually led in its last four games and in all but one game during its third slide of at least six games.

"I don't know if they hit a couple of shots, and we put our heads down or get tight and guys fell off," Randolph said. "I don't know what it is."

"Same story tonight," Knicks forward David Lee added. "We had a lead. That is about seven, eight games in a row now that we have had a chance to win. We haven't taken care of business."

Before the collapse, New York took a 77-75 lead on Randolph's 3-pointer with 24.4 seconds remaining in the third.

The highlight of the game for New York's fans may have been when members of the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, including star receiver Plaxico Burress, were honored at center court with a standing ovation.

Other than that, it was another lost night for the Knicks, who gave up 35 points off 18 turnovers.

"Right now, our turnovers are killing us," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "We have to do a better job with our guards in terms of getting in the flow and organized."

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