Marbury Sparks Knicks Past Sonics
New York 120, Seattle 116
NEW YORK, Jan. 8 (Ticker) -- Stephon Marbury did a little bit of everything to help the New York Knicks do something they had not done all season.
Marbury took control of the game in the third quarter and continued to get everyone involved as the Knicks posted a 120-116 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics.
However, Marbury has posted four straight double-doubles, averaging 23.5 points and 12 assists, since that game and the Knicks have won three in a row for the first time since February 24-28 of last season.
"It is everyone (getting involved)," said Marbury, who had reached double-figures in assists this season before this stretch. "It is not just myself. We are just more comfortable. We have a really nice flow right now."
Marbury finished with 23 points and 15 assists Sunday for New York, which had won consecutive games just one other time this season. He scored New York's final 11 points of the third quarter to give the Knicks a 91-89 lead.
With the game tied, 113-113, Marbury drove hard into the lane and kicked the ball out to rookie forward David Lee, who drained a jumper from the corner to give New York the lead for good with 21 seconds to play.
"I think it's great," Brown said. "The end of the game, the young kids along with Stephon make huge plays."
"(Lee's) been shooting the ball extremely well in practice, staying after practice and taking 100 to 200 shots from the same spot," Marbury said. "When you see that, you know and feel comfortable throwing him the ball."
With backcourt mate Jamal Crawford out with a sprained left ankle, Marbury recorded his fifth double-double of the season and committed only one turnover for the second straight game.
"When Marbury gets 15 assists and one turnover without Jamal in the game, you realize why we won," Brown said. "He was phenomenal."
"Like I said, by playing a consistent rotation and knowing who's going to be in the court, makes the game a lot easier," Marbury said.
Seattle had its chances down the stretch but could not convert. Luke Ridnour, the league's leading free-throw shooter at 95 percent, followed Lee's jumper by missing two from the line with 10 seconds left.
"The first one just rolled off," said Ridnour, who had made 79-of-83 free throws this season before missing down the stretch. "Unfortunately, you make so many in a row and then you miss there. I can't explain why."
Trevor Ariza, who entered the game shooting 57 percent from the line, calmly knocked down a pair for a 117-113 edge with eight seconds remaining.
The Knicks entered the game 26th in the league in free throw shooting at 73.9 percent but shot a season-best 84 percent (32-of-38) from the line Sunday.
"We missed so many free throws early in the year in situations, maybe it wasn't the last minute of the game but it was in the fourth quarter, certainly," Brown said. "Tonight we made so many in unlikely situations. Eddy (Curry) makes two, David Lee makes two and then Trevor, who's not a great free throw shooter and hadn't been in a lot of crucial situations, he gets a rebound and makes two.
Vladimir Radmanovic connected on his eighth 3-pointer of the game to cut the deficit to 117-116, but rookie Nate Robinson made two free throws with six seconds to play.
Ray Allen then missed a potential tying 3-pointer on a wide open look from the top of the key and Lee split a pair of free throws to cap the scoring.
"I had a great look at it and after I missed, I was thinking to myself I could have taken a dribble because I was so wide open," Allen said. "I always think it's going in. When I miss, what can I do about it?"
Radmanovic, who scored a career-high 30 points, had 16 in the fourth quarter. He gave the Sonics a 113-111 lead with a baseline jumper with just over a minute to play. Allen finished with 33 for Seattle but was 13-of-29 from the field, including 4-of-13 from the arc.
Maurice Taylor scored a season-high 23 points and Curry continued his strong comeback from a sprained right ankle with 22 as the Knicks shot 52 percent (42-of-81).
Seattle, which had allowed less than 100 points in consecutive games for the first time this season, fell to 1-2 under new coach Bob Hill. Hill replaced Bob Weiss, who was fired Tuesday after a 13-17 start.
"Today was the clearly the best game we've played, including Chicago," Hill said. "There were a lot of good things today. In spite of losing the game, I have to feel good about the progress that we've made in a short amount of time."
Allen had 22 points in the first half as Seattle led by as many as 10 before settling for a 62-61 lead at halftime.
"It's really hard," Radmanovic said. "I think we played a really good game. We had a chance in the first half to put this team away but like in the first game in Seattle - they just came back."