Knicks’ Sixth Straight Win is Brown’s 1,000th
New York 105, Atlanta 94
NEW YORK, Jan. 13 (Ticker) -- The New York Knicks did something they had not done in five years to help Larry Brown do something done by only three others.
Jamal Crawford scored 23 points, Stephon Marbury had another strong floor game and Brown notched his 1,000th career victory as the Knicks posted a 105-94 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
"It's unbelievable for a coach to have that many wins," Marbury said.
"It's a great accomplishment," Crawford added. "Only a few people can reach that. That's a testament to how good he is."
Now it is Brown in charge of the Knicks. His tenure began in rocky fashion as New York struggled to a 7-21 start, the coach constantly tinkered with his rotation, used 18 different starting lineups and the players struggled to adjust to his style
Brown has been using the lineup of Marbury, Antonio Davis, Eddy Curry and rookies Nate Robinson and David Lee for the last seven games and things have turned around.
The start of 2006 has been the beginning of a new season for the Knicks, who are 6-0 in the new year for their first six-game win streak since a seven-game run from December 22, 2000-January 7, 2001.
"I think it's fantastic," said Atlanta coach Mike Woodson, who was Brown's assistant two years ago in Detroit. "I have had an opportunity to work with him. He is one of the best in the business. That is the reason why he wins the ballgames."
While Crawford, Marbury and Woodson were heaping praise on Brown, the 65-year-old coach credited those that helped him get to this milestone.
"I've been blessed with the players I've had to coach as well as with coaches that have taught me," he said. "I know every time something good happens to me, those people are happier than I am. That makes me feel great."
New York's last three wins have been very impressive. The Knicks won at Cleveland on Tuesday and returned home to outlast Dallas in overtime the next night. On Friday, Brown felt the win was even better because his team was tired.
"I told him (Marbury) how proud I was because he had nothing tonight," Brown said. "He had no legs and I thought our whole team was really kind of struggling. I told him this is the best game because of what he had to go through. Of all the games that he's played, and he's gotten better by each game, this was by far the best because of the matchup he had and the condition he was in and the things that he did."
"That's what it's about," Marbury said. "You still got to put things together when you're tired. They came out and they zoned us. It was kind of a shock to the system, but I think we made the adjustment. We grinded it out."
Marbury and Crawford have been catalysts for New York's recent surge and once again were instrumental Friday. Crawford was 8-of-14 from the field for his 11th 20-point game off the bench this season. Marbury finished with 19 points, nine assists and four steals.
With the game tied at 84-84 early in the fourth quarter, the Knicks went on a 12-2 run capped by a 17-foot jumper by Lee to make it 96-86 with 3:59 to play. It was the second time during the surge that Lee took a feed from Marbury and hit a key jumper.
The Hawks cut it to 100-92 with 2:16 left on a layup by Joe Johnson and got the ball back down eight but Marbury iced the game with a steal and three-point play on the ensuing possession.
The only man back on a 3-on-1 fast break for the Hawks, Marbury stole an ill-advised behind-the-back pass by Josh Smith. On the other end, Marbury came off a screen at the top of the key, got to the basket and scored as he was fouled by Smith. He made the free throw for a 103-92 lead with 91 seconds to play.
When it became apparent the Knicks were going to win, the crowd, which included former New York Rangers captain Mark Messier, serenaded Brown with chants of "Larry, Larry."
"I thought that was Larry Bird," Brown said. "I heard it. I grew up coming to this place and I never that imagine that would happen to me. So, obviously that was very special.
"It's a special place. They're unbelievable basketball fans here. They respect the opponents and cheer them when they make good plays. They know if you're playing good. They're know if you're playing bad. So to be a basketball coach in this environment is pretty special. I was troubled early on that we weren't playing like they expected to play. Now we're getting a little bit better and I can feel them appreciating that and that makes tonight really good."
Johnson scored 19 points and Al Harrington and Zaza Pachulia added 18 each for Atlanta (9-25), which is the only team in the NBA yet to reach 10 victories and has lost eight of its last 11 overall.
Robinson finished with 17 points and Curry added 15, including two dunks during the decisive run. The Knicks shot just under 56 percent (40-of-72) and avenged a 122-111 loss in Atlanta on December 16.
The Knicks held a 12-point lead early in the first half but settled for a 50-47 lead at halftime. They had a 75-73 lead through three quarters before pulling away for their fifth straight home win.