CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 16 (Ticker) --
The outmanned Charlotte
Bobcats gave a spirited effort but could not contain New York
Knicks guard Stephon Marbury
at the end.
Marbury hit two clutch jumpers, including an 18-footer from the
right wing with 1.7 seconds remaining, to lift the Knicks to a
100-98 victory over the Bobcats.
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"We knew they weren't going to give up," New York's Kurt Thomas
said. "The Bobcats always compete. Fortunately for us, Stephon
was able to hit some big baskets at the end."
"I brought Kurt Thomas back up (to the ball) because I knew he
would set a good pick," New York coach Herb Williams
if he sets a good pick on Brevin Knight
that would cause a
mismatch. Either player was going to get a good shot if Kurt
set a good pick. He did set a good pick, their big tried to show
and Stephon got a good look."
Charlotte (17-62) played without center Primoz Brezec
forward Emeka Okafor
. Brezec was out with a right ankle sprain
and Okafor left in the second quarter with a right thigh
"I haven't spoken to our trainer in reference to Emeka's
injury," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff
said. "We've got
some other forwards and I think they can surmount the odds."
The Knicks (32-47) led 79-69 through three periods, but the
Bobcats did not quit. Led by 10 points from Jason Kapono
Charlotte stormed back in the fourth and took a 96-95 lead on a
three-point play by Knight with 71 seconds remaining.
"I never thought we couldn't catch them," Bickerstaff said.
"With a team like ours, you just continue to believe. That's why
we stay out there. They had some matchup problems with our
smaller unit and we made some shots."
"When I got back in the game in the fourth quarter, Bernie
(Bickerstaff) said to make something happen, so that's what I
was going to do," Knight said. "Guys had played their hearts
out to get us back to that point, so we had to go in, sustain
and try to push it up. I went in there trying to be aggressive
and made some buckets, just not enough."
Marbury answered with a 3-pointer from the left corner with 30
seconds left before Knight converted two free throws nine
seconds later. After Marbury drained his jumper, Charlotte's
missed a jumper from the top of the key as time
"That's just the pride of this team," Kapono said. "We fight
back. We don't pout and feel sorry for ourselves. We came back
and had a chance to win, and that's all we can ask for. It was
a good game. We battled back, but it was the same old story
again. Just a different player at the end."
Marbury scored 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-8
3-pointers. Jamal Crawford
scored 17 points and Thomas added 16
and 11 rebounds for the Knicks.
"We won," Marbury said. "That's all that matters. We're just
happy to win the game. It's important for us to continue playing
hard and end the season on a good note."
For Charlotte it was the seventh time they have lost on the
opposition's final possession, including an earlier loss this
season to the Knicks on a 3-pointer by Thomas basket that
bounced high off the rim before falling through the basket.
Charlotte is 5-15 in games decided by three points or less.
led seven Bobcats in double figures with 15 points.
"We fought hard," said Charlotte's Melvin Ely
, who scored five
points during the fourth-quarter comeback. "It's disappointing
to play so hard and come up short. But we've got another game
tomorrow and hopefully we can make up for it then."