for this game

Marbury misses huge free throw as Sonics hold off Knicks

Mar 7, 2007 - 4:54 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Stephon Marbury couldn't miss all night, except when it mattered most.

Despite scoring 40 points, including eight 3-pointers, Marbury missed a game-tying free throw with nine-tenths of a second left as the Seattle SuperSonics held off the New York Knicks, 100-99, for their third straight win.

Rashard Lewis drained the go-ahead 3-pointer in the waning moments, Ray Allen scored 29 points and Earl Watson added a season-high 23 for the SuperSonics, who were unstoppable from the perimeter, shooting 52 percent (39-of-75) from the field and 13-of-24 from the arc.

"I am really proud of the Sonics," Seattle coach Bob Hill said. "We battled, we fought and we hung in there. We kept putting them on the foul line, but we answered it at the other end. I thought Ray's decision obviously on the break (setting up Lewis' go-ahead 3-pointer) was significant because Nick (Collison) was wide open for two, and he had enough sense to know Rashard was there for the three. It was a game we needed to win and won."

Singlehandedly carrying the Knicks throughout, Marbury was 13-of-22 from the floor - including 8-of-11 on 3-pointers - and nailed numerous big shots as he went back and forth with Seattle's sharpshooters all night.

Trailing, 100-98, on the game's final possession, New York went to Marbury, who was fouled on a hard drive to the basket. After nailing the first free throw, the veteran point guard watched his second try rimmed out. The rebound was batted in the air as time expired.

"I was thinking it was going in," Marbury said. "I missed. I've missed free throws before."

New York coach Isiah Thomas pointed to the struggles from the line as a team rather than just the last attempt.

"This isn't about the last free throw that was missed," Thomas said. "This is about going 24-of-38 from the foul line. The three things we like to control every night is the foul line, turnovers and rebounds. We do an excellent job of getting to the foul line. We just have to do a better job of converting. That has been our story the whole year."

However, it was a poor shot by Marbury that set up the heroics by Lewis. With the Knicks' nursing a one-point lead, Marbury misfired on a 28-foot shot from the arc with 10 seconds remaining, igniting Seattle's fast break.

"The shot clock was going down and the defense packed it in," Marbury said. "I knew I wasn't getting to the basket, so that's why I pulled up and took a three."

Lewis then drained a wide-open 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 100-98 with five seconds left.

"(Allen) saw me wide open, and I knew he was going to hit me," Lewis said. "He wasn't looking to shoot the ball, so I knew he was going to pass it to somebody."

"There wasn't (any doubt about it) because when (Lewis) released the shot he screamed like he knew he made it, and it was still on its way to the basket," Allen said. "He gave me a lot of confidence. It's great to know when Rashard is out there, I know I'm looking for him at all times because he's the other guy out there I know that he can knock that shot down."

Allen and Watson combined to shoot 17-of-35 from the field, including 9-of-17 from the arc, for the Sonics, who picked up just their second win in their last nine games at Madison Square Garden.

"You have to give them credit. Allen and Lewis made some tough shots," Thomas said. "Watson made some big shots for them. He had a nice game."

"The last couple of weeks is the first time I felt normal, like I felt completely healthy," Watson said. "In my body, it's been something, and finally I feel normal, and now I had an opportunity to play extended minutes because of Luke (Ridnour) being out. I just go out there and be aggressive and try to help the team win."

Eddy Curry had 15 points and eight rebounds for New York, which is in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, one-game behind eighth-place Orlando, which is just one-half game ahead of New Jersey in the battle for the conference's final playoff spot.

"It was just one of those things, one of those games where you look back and you see all these different ways you could have won," Curry said. "The free-throw line being one of them."

In the heat of the playoff race, Marbury admitted any loss is devastating.

"It's frustrating. It's frustrating to lose period," Marbury said. "Like I said, it's a long road ahead of us, and we're mindful of that and we just have to continue to come out and play the way we did in the second half as opposed to the first half. The first half we weren't giving ourselves a chance."

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