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A day after father's funeral, Marbury faces Sixers

PHILADELPHIA -- The only way Stephon Marbury knew how to
properly pay tribute to his late father was to play basketball.

Marbury briefly considered skipping the Knicks' game at
Philadelphia on Friday night until he realized how much his father,
Donald Marbury, would have wanted him to keep on playing. So a day
after Marbury and the entire Knicks team packed the funeral, their
guard was in the lineup.

"My whole basketball career has been a tribute to my father,''
Marbury said. "When I made it to the NBA, we all made it to the
NBA. We all were pushing.''

Only Marbury may have pushed himself to play too soon after such
a devastating week. He played only 13 minutes and scored two points
in the first half of the Knicks' 101-90 loss to Philadelphia and
voluntarily removed himself from the game at halftime.

"I couldn't get into the physical aspects of playing the
game,'' Marbury said. "I'm emotionally drained. It's the toughest
thing I've ever done. This is something that you can't prepare
yourself for.''

Marbury said he barely slept the last five days and watched the
second half from the bench in a warmup jacket, head in hand.

Marbury joked with his teammates before the game, laughing and
walking around with headphones resting on top of his head. He spoke
briefly and calmly with reporters before the game about how his
faith has gotten himself and his family through a sad and painful
week.

Donald Marbury was taken from Madison Square Garden to a
hospital during halftime of the Knicks' loss to Phoenix on Sunday
night. He died of a heart problem before the game ended.

"I'm happy that I came because I am doing the right thing,'' he
said. "This is definitely something that I needed to do to get
back into the swing of things. Eventually, I was going to have to
get back into it anyway.''

Marbury missed New York's 100-93 win over the New Jersey on
Wednesday.

Knicks coach Isiah Thomas was among the mourners who attended
Thursday's funeral. Thomas said he was glad to have Marbury back
and insisted last month's clash between the team's star point guard
and coach was behind them.

"What I tried to constantly emphasize to him is in the overall
game of life, he's won big time,'' Thomas said. "He's won in a
major way.''