Timberwolves Hold On To Edge Knicks
Minnesota 96, New York 90
NEW YORK, Jan. 16 (Ticker) -- Stephon Marbury forced the Minnesota Timberwolves to trade him seven years ago. Now he has a beef with Wally Szczerbiak.
An injured Marbury could only watch as Troy Hudson barely beat the shot clock with a game-clinching 3-pointer over rookie Nate Robinson with 7.3 seconds left as the Timberwolves snapped a seven-game road losing streak with a 96-90 victory over the New York Knicks.
"It was a dirty pick," Marbury said. "I knew I was hurt when I couldn't get my arms up without any pain."
Szczerbiak, who is five inches taller and 30 pounds heavier than Marbury, thought otherwise.
"I just set a screen. I didn't even try to put anything into it," Szczerbiak said. "I don't even think he saw it. I don't know if his man called it out. He fell backwards and it might have jammed his shoulder."
Szczerbiak, who scored 24 points, admitted that Marbury expressed his displeasure with the pick after the play.
"He said we had a beef, but I didn't say anything back," Szczerbiak said. "I just wanted to play the game."
Marbury played his first 3 1/2 seasons with Minnesota but never was a teammate of Szczerbiak, who was drafted in 1999 by the Timberwolves after Marbury was traded to New Jersey.
Marbury had scored nine points in a 16-2 run that helped the Knicks pull within 74-69 with 9:37 left.
But after the two-time All-Star guard was knocked out of the game, Knicks coach Larry Brown used the pint-sized Robinson down the stretch. Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey immediately took advantage of the matchup, calling a play for Hudson, who hit a 3-pointer over Robinson with 6:46 left to give Minnesota an 83-73 lead.
After Szczerbiak hit a pair of free throws to increase the advantage to 86-75, Robinson provided an offensive spark with seven straight points - two layups and a trey off an inbounds play - to pull the Knicks within 86-82 with 4:19 remaining.
But Hudson, who scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, hit a short jumper from the left side over the 5-9 Robinson and Szczerbiak scored on a baseline drive, opening the lead to 90-82 with 3:19 to play.
The Knicks responded with an 8-2 run, capped by a pair of free throws by Robinson after he was fouled by Hudson with 32 seconds left that pulled the Knicks within 92-90.
But Hudson exploited Robinson again, drilling a 3-pointer from the left side as the shot clock expired.
"I came off the first pick-and-roll with KG (Kevin Garnett) and they defended it well," Hudson said. "I looked up at the clock, saw there was two seconds left and saw Nate with his hands down, getting ready to try and defend my drive. So I just looked for my shot."
"I got over, got a hand up and he (Hudson) made it," Robinson said. "That was the dagger."
Hudson had shot just 28 percent (20-of-71) in his previous seven games but made 4-of-8 shots in the fourth quarter Monday.
After Quentin Richardson missed a 3-pointer for New York, Hudson made 1-of-2 free throws with under a second left.
Garnett had a superb all-around game with 24 points, 16 rebounds and six assists for Minnesota, which won on the road for the first time since Dec. 7 at Portland.
The Knicks have lost two in a row following a season-high six-game winning streak.
Marbury has played in 280 consecutive games, the fifth-longest cuurent streak. His status for Wednesday's game at Chicago is uncertain.
The Timberwolves started the second half with a 20-6 run to open a 72-53 lead. Marko Jaric ignited it with a pair of jumpers and Trenton Hassell capped it with two free throws with 4:48 left in the third quarter.
"We had a hard time stopping them," Brown said. "Their zone bothered us."
But the Knicks fought back with a 12-2 run as Marbury scored the last seven points of the third quarter.
"I knew New York had a run in them coming back in the second half," Casey said. "They're a scrappy team; we had to buckle up twice."