New York 97, Minnesota 93

NEW YORK, Nov. 4 (AP) -- Jamal Crawford scored 10 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and the New York Knicks won their home opener for the first time in six years by beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-93 Sunday night.

After a loss at Cleveland in their opener, the Knicks finally had something to celebrate thanks to Crawford, who keyed the stretch in the middle of the fourth quarter that allowed New York to build enough of a cushion for the final minutes.

Zach Randolph added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks, who had lost five straight home openers since beating Washington on Oct. 30, 2001. Stephon Marbury added 17 points and seven assists, and David Lee scored 14 points.

Ryan Gomes scored 19 points for the Timberwolves, who fell to 0-2 in their first season since trading longtime star Kevin Garnett to Boston over the summer. The Wolves had won four in a row and 10 of 12 against New York.

Al Jefferson, also acquired in the Garnett deal, added 16 points and 12 rebounds.

The game was tied at 81 with 7 minutes left before Crawford's jumper gave New York the lead for good. After two free throws by Marbury, Crawford made a pair, then he made another jumper for an 89-81 lead with 5:18 remaining.

Minnesota twice pulled within three and had a chance to tie after calling timeout with 11 seconds left. But Antoine Walker missed a 3-point attempt and Randolph made a clinching free throw with 2.2 seconds to play.

The Knicks were greeted with a supportive sellout crowd. Coach Isiah Thomas received a loud, mixed reception during pregame introductions .

The Wolves started quickly, shooting 59 percent and leading by as many as 10 in the first quarter before settling for a 28-21 advantage. The Knicks turned things around with a sizzling second quarter, shooting 12-of-14 (86 percent) in a 33-point period that sent them to halftime ahead 54-50.

New York opened a four-game homestand. The Knicks host Denver on Tuesday night in the first meeting between the teams since last year's brawl at Madison Square Garden that led to seven suspensions, including a 15-game penalty for Denver's Carmelo Anthony, who led the NBA in scoring at the time.

Notes: Thomas and Minnesota coach Randy Wittman, college teammates for two years at Indiana, shared a pregame hug and chat.

"I'm here as a friend. I haven't seen him in a while and that's kind of all I'm going to indulge in,'' Wittman said. "He's going through some tough times, absolutely, and I just told him he could pick up the phone at any time and call me.'' ... The NBA players weren't the only good athletes at MSG. New York marathon champions Paula Radcliffe and Martin Lel were at the game, as was welterweight champion Miguel Cotto, who takes on Shane Mosley here Saturday.


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