Crawford’s Last-Second Jumper Lifts Knicks
New York 98, Indiana 96
NEW YORK, April 7 (Ticker) -- Jamal Crawford followed one big shot with another.
Crawford drained the go-ahead jumper with five-tenths of a second remaining as the New York Knicks posted a 98-96 victory over the slumping Indiana Pacers.
He followed that up with some more late heroics Friday, scoring 23 points and sending another team fighting for playoff positioning to a disappointing loss. The Knicks have just three wins in the last three weeks and 21 overall, but Crawford has hit the game-winning shot in each of their last three victories.
"I know he's not afraid to take it," New York coach Larry Brown said. "I was a little nervous that he walked it up. I wanted him to kind of rush it up but it was a great win, especially when you consider the players we had out there."
"It is the greatest rush you can get," Crawford said. "For me, that is the greatest rush I can ever get. When it goes through the net, that is the greatest rush because fans explode and your teammates get excited."
With 1:28 to go, Peja Stojakovic, who had 32 points, made a 3-pointer to pull the Pacers within 94-92. After Jermaine O'Neal drew a charge on Crawford, Stojakovic misfired on an attempt from the arc 13 seconds later.
Crawford sank two foul shots to push the lead back to four with 51 seconds remaining, but O'Neal, who collected 25 points and four blocks, converted a hook shot and Stephen Jackson added a layup to tie the score at 96-96 with eight seconds left.
After New York elected to not call timeout, Crawford dribbled the length of the court and drained a shot over Jackson with less than a second on the clock.
"He (Crawford) didn't have enough time to pass so I knew he was going to shoot," Jackson said. "I just tried to contest the shot. I contested it and he hit the shot."
Following a timeout, Anthony Johnson threw the inbounds pass off the back of Stojakovic - who was covered by Qyntel Woods - as time expired to seal the Pacers' sixth loss in their last seven outings.
Rookie Nate Robinson scored 16 points and Woods added 13 and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who have won two straight following a nine-game losing streak and a lengthy team meeting following a blowout loss in Washington.
Stojakovic made 6-of-10 shots from the arc and Jackson added 17 points for Indiana (36-39), which holds a one-game lead over Chicago for seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings. It remains one-half game behind Milwaukee, which sits in sixth. The Bucks fell, 100-90, to Memphis on Friday.
Against Atlanta, New York and Charlotte - the three worst teams in the East - Indiana is 3-7.
"We seemed to relax," O'Neal said. "That's been our M.O. the previous ... two or three weeks. All the games we lost, we've been up double figures. We're kidding ourselves right now. I don't know why we think we're that good to be taking time off on defense and not putting teams away."
Indiana took a 72-68 lead through three quarters and held a 75-74 edge with 9:28 left on O'Neal's three-point play. But the Pacers went scoreless over the next four-plus minutes and faced an 84-75 deficit with 5:25 remaining before Jackson, Stojakovic and O'Neal each hit clutch shots.
"We put ourselves in another hole but we fought back and got stops," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "Peja hit some big shots, (Jackson) hit some big shots, Jermaine hit a big one to give us a chance to get even and Crawford hits the shot. It's just a tough loss."