Knicks Top Blazers as Cousins Shine
New York 103, Portland 92
NEW YORK, Nov. 20 (Ticker) -- A good feeling about how Stephon Marbury would play turned into the first home victory for New York Knicks coach Larry Brown.
Marbury had his most aggressive game of the season and scored a season-high 27 points as the Knicks posted a 103-92 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
The two-time All-Star was on the bench for good chunks of the fourth quarters in the last two games of New York's 2-4 West Coast Trip. In losses to Denver and the Los Angeles Lakers, Marbury totaled just 13 points on 6-of-20 shooting.
After the loss to the Lakers, Marbury expressed his desire to play more shooting guard. But that notion was shot down by Brown, who cited the inexperience of fellow guards Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson as floor generals.
"I ain't go through nothing this week," said Marbury, scoffing at the notion that he was experiencing tough times. "Going through something is watching my mother walk in a blizzard trying to feed our family. This ain't nothing to me."
But hours before Sunday's noon start, that issue seemed to be old news and Brown told reporters that he felt Marbury would play well.
Marbury proved him right and got the better of younger cousin Sebastian Telfair. Although Telfair scored a career-high 27 points, Marbury was the one that played the better all-around game, finishing with eight assists while making 9-of-16 shots and 9-of-11 foul shots.
"I thought Steph overall was phenomenal," Brown said. "I loved the way he was being aggressive. I loved the way he was trying to get other people involved. I loved the way he tried to guard.
"I told people before the game, he would play great. I felt confident he would."
While Marbury had his best showing of the young season, rookie Channing Frye continued to shine. The eighth overall pick scored 20 points, 13 in the second half.
The Knicks, who had lost games in the second half on their West Coast trip, were facing a 70-69 deficit when Zach Randolph hit a 16-foot fadeaway shot with 3:51 remaining in the third quarter.
But Marbury ignited a 12-1 run with a driving layup on New York's next possession and Frye hit a pair of baskets during the spurt as the Knicks took an 81-71 lead into the fourth period.
"(Marbury) did come out with a lot of energy," said Telfair, who graduated nine years after Marbury from Brooklyn's Lincoln High School. "This is a game that we both look forward to."
Portland was within 92-85 at the 5:21 mark following Juan Dixon's 3-pointer. But Marbury converted another layup on the other end and Frye hit a pair of baskets as the Knicks pulled away for their third win in 10 games under Brown.
"Coming back off a road trip like this and playing at 12 o'clock, it is kind of hard for us," Marbury said. "We came out in the second half and did what we had to do to get the win."
Telfair, whose first appearance with Portland in New York came on Jan. 9, had 19 points at halftime as the Trail Blazers shot 59 percent (20-of-34) for a slim 57-54 advantage.
"I'm happy to come home and have a chance to play in the Garden and play against my cousin and have my family come out and watch us play on the same court," Telfair said.
"He played very well tonight," Marbury said. "I think this was the best game he has had as a pro. He read the pick-and-roll well and he did everything he had to do."
But many things went wrong in a frustrating second half for the Trail Blazers, who opened a seven-game road trip by committed 14 of their 23 turnovers and getting outrebounded, 20-10, in the second half. That drew the ire of first-year coach Nate McMillan.
"It's all about numbers," McMillian said. "We have too many people concerned about numbers, touches and the way they look as opposed to playing the right way."
Telfair made 8-of-12 shots and dished out seven assists. Randolph added 17 points and Darius Miles added 16, although he committed seven turnovers.
Crawford was a late insertion into the starting lineup when Quentin Richardson was unable to dress due to lower back spasms. He made four 3-pointers and scored 19 points.
Knicks center Eddy Curry scored 12 points but did not return in the second half due to a recurring left calf injury.