Monday , Dec , 18 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Short-handed Knicks win on Marbury’s buzzer-beater

New York, NY (Sports Network) – Stephon Marbury hit the game-winning layup as
the clock expired in overtime, lifting the undermanned New York Knicks over
the Utah Jazz, 97-96, at Madison Square Garden.

Marbury ended with 29 points and eight assists as the Knicks followed one
of their ugliest events in franchise history with one of their best wins of
the season.

After Deron Williams hit a jumper with three seconds left in overtime to put
the Jazz ahead 96-95, Marbury quickly made his way up court, taking the
inbounds pass from David Lee, went the length of the floor and hit the finger-
roll as time ran out.

Lee ended with 17 points and a career-high 20 rebounds for the Knicks, who
ended a two-game slide in their first game since Saturday night’s brawl with
the Denver Nuggets at MSG.

Jamal Crawford added 18 points and Channing Frye had 10 points and 10 boards
for New York, which had just eight players available because of the
suspensions that were handed down on Monday as a result of the now infamous
incident.

Williams and Carlos Boozer each had 23 points to lead the Jazz, who failed to
take advantage of the Knicks lack of manpower and fell to 1-1 on their current
five-game road trip. Mehmet Okur added 19 points for the Jazz, who used a 10-2
run late in the regulation to draw within one possession.

Down by 10 points, 80-70, late in regulation, Andrei Kirilenko and Okur
spearheaded a 10-2 Utah run. Kirilenko scored the first four points and Okur
hit consecutive three-pointers to draw the Jazz within 82-80 with 2 1/2
minutes left.

The game went scoreless for the next two minutes. Marbury then hit 1-of-2 free
throws with 25.6 seconds remaining and Williams hit a driving layup seven
seconds later. Crawford hit a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left to
again make it a three-point affair, 85-82.

Williams then hit the game-tying three-pointer with 10.8 seconds left and
Crawford missed the potential game-winning three as time expired to force OT.

Earlier on Monday, NBA commissioner David Stern handed down his penalties for
Saturday night’s fight, suspending a total seven players (four Knicks) and
issuing a total of $1 million in fines to both franchises.

The hardest hit was Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, who received a 15-game
suspension. Nate Robinson was the most penalized Knick, receiving a 10-game
suspension. New York’s Mardy Collins (six games), whose flagrant foul led to
the brouhaha, Jared Jeffries (four games) and Jerome James (one game) were
also suspended. The Knicks also received a $500,000 fine for the actions of
their players.

None of the suspended players were at this game, per league rules, leaving the
Knicks with just eight players.

New York head coach Isiah Thomas and his available players didn’t comment much
on the incident prior to the game. The general consensus was that the incident
was unfortunate, it should have been avoided and the team will deal with the
hand it’s dealt. Thomas didn’t respond to Denver head coach George Karl’s
comments earlier on Monday, in which Karl blamed Thomas for what happened
during a profanity-laced interview session.

Knicks owner and Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan released a
statement prior to the game and he was clearly embarrassed by the actions of
his players.

“I was sitting just a few feet away at the end of Saturday night’s game,” said
Dolan. “I believe the Commissioner acted appropriately, as it was an ugly
incident, not worthy of the Knicks, Nuggets, Madison Square Garden or the
people of New York. I am grateful to the fans and our security personnel for
remaining calm during some very chaotic moments. The incident was deeply
regrettable, unacceptable on every level and I hope and expect to never
witness anything like it again. We are all very sorry it happened. We will
have no further comment on this matter.”

Utah appeared poised to take advantage of the Knicks’ problems, taking a 34-20
lead after one quarter. However, the Jazz scored just 10 second-quarter points
and trailed 46-45 heading into halftime.

Late in the third with New York ahead 59-58, Crawford started a 9-3 surge that
bridged the final two quarters. The Knicks led 66-61 after three and Eddy
Curry’s bucket early in the fourth completed the surge for a 68-61 lead.
Later, New York grabbed its largest lead, 80-70, when Marbury hit a bucket
with under six minutes left.

Game Notes

Curry, playing in foul trouble most of the game, ended with just eight
points…Derek Fisher had 10 points for the Jazz…Boozer had 10 rebounds to
record a double-double…The Knicks have won five straight in this
series…Utah last beat the Knicks on February 20, 2004, 92-78, at MSG…The
Knicks outboarded the Jazz, 63-49…The Knicks were also without guards Steve
Francis (knee) and Quentin Richardson (back).

NYK UTA