for this game

Robinson sparks Knicks to comeback win over Rockets

Jan 27, 2009 - 5:07 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- A four-game shooting slump caused Wilson Chandler to overthink things and also sent him to the second unit.

On Monday, Chandler stopped thinking and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:21 remaining as the New York Knicks overcame a nine-point deficit and pulled out a 104-98 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Nate Robinson continued to emerge from his recent slump by scoring 13 of his 19 points in the final period. He set up Chandler's big 3-pointer by scoring nine points in a span of nearly three minutes that brought the Knicks back from a nine-point deficit.

David Lee posted his eighth straight double-double as he collected 17 points and 13 rebounds. Chris Duhon added 12 and 11 assists for New York, which has six of its last nine and won for the first time in 22 tries when trailing through three quarters.

"For once, we started the fourth quarter down, and we won the game," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "That's a baby step."

Out of the starting lineup for the first time since November 5, Chandler finished with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting. His biggest points were a pair of free throws that forged a 94-94 deadlock with 3:53 remaining and his straightaway 3-pointer that gave New York a 97-96 lead.

"It felt good," Chandler said. "When it left my hand, it felt good and I just wanted to play hard on offense and defense and help my team win."

"(I told him) just stay aggressive, keep playing hard and do what you always do," New York guard Quentin Richardson said. "Everybody goes through little stretches where they struggle here and there."

The 3-pointer came after he had scored 16 points on 8-of-25 shooting in his previous four contests.

His cold shooting followed a stretch in which the 21-year-old reached double figures in 11 of 12 games, including a career-high 31-point night against Boston on January 4.

"I wasn't thinking," Chandler said of the difference between Monday and his slump. "I was just playing hard. A few players and a few coaches told me the same thing and I knew I was doing too much."

"I told him before the game to just play as hard as you can and try not to think so much, and that's what he did," New York's Tim Thomas said. "It was hard (being taken out of the starting lineup) and he played really well tonight. That's what you want."

The Knicks took their first lead since just under 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half and finished this one by getting defensive stops.

After Chandler's basket, the Rockets missed eight of their last nine shots and New York had its first win in 22 tries when trailing after three quarters when he and Robinson combined for three free throws down the stretch during the decisive 16-4 run.

Tracy McGrady led the Rockets with 20 points but went scoreless in the final 5:25. He shot 7-of-20 and missed his final five shots as Chandler defended him well.

"He is a tough cover," D'Antoni said. "I thought Wil did an outstanding job just trying to deny the basketball, make him work, try to get him out a little bit, not going for fakes. That is about all you can do."

"They put some size on me, put some length on me and mixed it up," McGrady said. "As a scorer, you've got to counter whatever they throw at you."

The Rockets had an eight-game winning streak over the Knicks and played without starting center Yao Ming for the second straight night. Yao sat out with a sore right knee and was replaced by Luis Scola, who collected 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Despite the effective play from Scola, the Rockets were done in by their inability to hit shots and subpar nights from Ron Artest and Rafer Alston, who combined to shoot 7-of-29, including 2-of-17 from beyond the arc.

"We didn't play team ball," Alston said. "We were very selfish tonight. They were able to capitalize on our selfishness."

The Rockets shot just under 39 percent (35-of-90) and 7-of-23 in the fourth. Houston also made just 10 of its season-high 33 3-point attempts and misfired on 10 of 11 3-pointers in the fourth.

"We had no movement, so we weren't getting the shots," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "You have to attack, you have to be in an aggressive mode. We didn't do it."

The poor shooting plagued Houston during the third quarter, but it was able to overcome it and took an 80-74 edge into the fourth on Carl Landry's 15-footer. Houston's lead grew to 89-80 when Aaron Brooks split a pair at the line with 7:59 left.