HOUSTON, Nov. 18 (Ticker) --
New York Knicks guard Jamal Crawford
his 3-point attempt at the buzzer felt good when he let it go,
even if it did bank in to beat the Houston Rockets, 93-92.
Forward Kurt Thomas
, who led the Knicks with 23 points, summed
it up best when he said: "We'll take it."
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After losing its first three road games of the season, including
the first two on this four-game trip, New York needed a good
little good karma.
"It really helps our psyche," said New York coach Lenny Wilkens,
whose Knicks improved to 3-4 for the season. "Guys can
New York guard Penny Hardaway
inbounded the ball in the
frontcourt to Crawford with 2.9 seconds to play and the Knicks
down by two points.
"Coach Wilkens drew it up where anyone could have been open,"
said Crawford, who finished with 19 points and made 5-of-11
3-pointers. "I honestly practice that type of shot. Penny did
a great job of finding me.
"We needed the win. This was bigger than just a win. We'll
take it anyway we can get it."
Wilkens said there were two, maybe three options on the play,
with Thomas setting the screen for Crawford.
New York never would have had the chance to win if it had not
stopped the Rockets on their final possession.
Thomas hit a jumper from the right elbow with 26 seconds left to
bring New York - which began the fourth quarter trailing by 11
- to within 92-90. Wilkens decided not to foul to get the ball
"I saw the clock and didn't want to bail (them) out and put them
on the line," Wilkens said. "Our defense was pretty darn then.
The guys looked over and I said, 'No (fouls). Good D.'"
The Rockets went to Tracy McGrady
, who had 24 points and eight
assists, but the league's two-time defending scoring champion
missed a runner from eight feet, and Thomas grabbed the rebound
and called timeout.
"We weren't able to convert on the offensive end when we needed
in the fourth quarter," McGrady said. "We gave them a chance to
win the game and they hit a lucky shot."
"I think that last shot was luck," added Houston center Yao Ming
, who ended up with 23 points and 11 rebounds but collected
only two free throws and one board in the fourth quarter.
It was not luck that lost the game in Houston coach Jeff Van
"You get what you deserve in this game," he said. "It was a
fortunate shot by them, but we allowed 29 points in the fourth
quarter before that shot. Late turnovers, missed free throws,
we're getting what we deserve right now."
Houston lost for the second time in three nights after blowing a
double-digit lead in the second half, having also lost at
Atlanta on Tuesday, 88-84.
"There's enough blame to go around, starting with me and moving
on down to everyone else involved," said Van Gundy, who was
beaten by his former team for the first time in three tries.
"We're off to an obviously disappointing start."
Thomas disappointed no one on the Knicks, grabbing 14 rebounds
to go with his 23 points. He and Nazr Mohammed
, who took down
17 rebounds, led New York to a 50-41 edge on the boards,
including 31-14 in the second half.
"Houston has having problems (defending) the pick-and-roll,"
Thomas said. "It was pick-and-roll all night, baby. When they
call my number, I'm ready."
Hardaway gave New York its spark with back-to-back 3-pointers
early in the fourth, part of an 11-0 run to begin the period
that erased a 72-71 deficit.
"Our defense got better (as the game went on)," Wilkens said.
"We really moved the ball, got a lot of people involved."