Knicks' Marbury to come off bench against Kings

Updated: November 17, 2007, 9:43 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Stephon Marbury joked about his new reserve role before the New York Knicks' 123-118 double-overtime against Sacramento on Friday night.

Stephon Marbury

Marbury

"I guess I'll be competing with Manu Ginobili and Jason Terry for Sixth Man of Year," Marbury said. "This is just another chapter and I have to make an adjustment. I'm not going to cry about it."

Marbury, back for his second game after skipping out on the team in Phoenix following a clash with coach Isiah Thomas, wasn't in the starting lineup.

"Well, he won't start tonight," Thomas said. "As the game moves on we'll see how much he plays and how we play."

Marbury scored 15 points on 4-for-10 shooting with four assists and two turnovers in 44 minutes off the bench. Starter Mardy Collins, by comparison, had four points and two assists in 19 minutes of work.

A decision has been made for me to come off the bench. I'm willing to take on that role. I'm not happy and comfortable with that, but that's something that I have to do. It's definitely lighting a fire under me to play at a higher level.

-- Stephon Marbury

Marbury was fined $182,000 for leaving the Knicks in Phoenix and missing their loss Tuesday night to the Suns. Against the Los Angeles Clippers a night later, he came off the bench and scored 13 points in the Knicks' 84-81 loss.

"A decision has been made for me to come off the bench," Marbury said. "I'm willing to take on that role. I'm not happy and comfortable with that, but that's something that I have to do. It's definitely lighting a fire under me to play at a higher level."

Thomas wouldn't comment about reports that Marbury's teammates voted not to let him play against the Clippers.

"We'll just keep that in-house," Thomas said.

Marbury said he did not know it if the vote took place or not it, but he understands what the team was going through.

"I guess my teammates took a stand for something that shouldn't have happened," Marbury said. "I can't do nothing about that. I can't control that. I'm sure guys were disappointed because they didn't know what was going on."

Malik Rose said Marbury apologized to the team.

"There's a lot of things going," Rose said. "There's still things going on from months ago and those things kind of take away from basketball. But it wasn't like Stephon and Isiah's latest situation was the culmination of those things. It was just something that had happened and took our minds off of basketball."

After the shootaround session Friday afternoon at the Kings' practice facility, Thomas said his focus is on winning and that he will use "everything necessary in the tool shed" to succeed.

"From that point guard position, I need leadership and I need defense," Thomas said. "And [Marbury] is capable of doing those two things, but tonight we'll start Mardy Collins at that position and move through the game from that point on."

Marbury echoed Thomas' demands when asked about regaining his starting spot.

"I have to play defense and lead the team," Marbury said. "That's what [Thomas] said. ... I've said my peace on this. This is something I'm going to put behind me and just to continue on playing basketball."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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