Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/30

Game 1: Monday, December 30th
Game 2: Tuesday, March 18th

Spurs 95


Knicks 96

(10-17, 7-9 home)

    Coverage: KRRT

    7:30 PM ET, December 30, 2002

    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

    1 2 3 4 T
    SA 23 19 27 2695
    NY 19 26 28 2396

    Top Performers

    SA: T. Duncan 31 Pts, 17 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    NY: A. Houston 28 Pts, 3 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Knicks get by as Duncan's final shot misses

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Two clutch free throws by Allan Houston gave the New York Knicks a big win.

    Houston scored 28 points, including the winning free throws with 5.4 seconds left, and Michael Doleac added a season-high 16 as the New York Knicks beat the San Antonio Spurs 96-95 in David Robinson's last game in New York.

    "These games are big not only because it's a win, but they are good for your confidence, too,'' Houston said. "This was a big win for us. We've had some big losses this season, and this was a big win.''

    Tim Duncan made a short jumper while being fouled with 6.8 seconds left. His free throw gave the Spurs the lead, 95-94.

    But Stephen Jackson fouled Houston trying for a steal, and New York's leading scorer sank both free throws.

    Duncan then missed a short jumper as time expired.

    "I thought it was good. I got a clean look and, honestly, when I let it go I thought it was in,'' Duncan said.

    Duncan had 31 points and 17 rebounds for his 13th straight double-double, and Jackson added 19 points for the Spurs, who went on an 11-2 run in the fourth quarter with Knicks forwards Kurt Thomas and Othella Harrington sitting with foul trouble and Clarence Weatherspoon ejected.

    "The most amazing thing to me was that we kept our poise late in the game,'' New York coach Don Chaney said. "We executed and hung in there.''

    Doleac blocked a shot by Duncan with under a minute to go, and Ward stripped the ball from Duncan seconds later. That set Latrell Sprewell up for a free throw that gave New York a short-lived lead.

    Doleac provided the Knicks with consistent shooting, even when the Spurs switched Duncan to guard him, and New York stayed close by grabbing as many rebounds (36) as the Spurs.

    "I just told him 'Whatever you are doing, don't stop,''' Sprewell said. "Doleac has been playing well for us, Charlie hit some big shots. Everyone pretty much contributed and that's what we needed.''

    Kevin Willis and Weatherspoon were both ejected in the third period for fighting.

    After pushing each other on the previous possession, Weatherspoon held onto Willis after Doleac hit a jumper and pushed him into the first row of seats.

    The two exchanged shoves before both being ejected. After Willis left, Weatherspoon made a move toward the locker rooms before being restrained. Neither player commented on the fight.

    Robinson hit the game's first two baskets as San Antonio went on a 15-3 run to start the game.

    "It's one of the best sports places to play and our championship memories are here,'' Robinson said of Madison Square Garden. "It's a tough way to go out.''

    Game notes

    The Spurs activated rookie Manu Ginobili Sunday. The Spurs released guard Anthony Goldwire to make room for Ginobili, a guard from Argentina who went on the injured list Dec. 5 with a sprained right ankle. ... David Robinson made his last appearance at Madison Square Garden Monday. "He's definitely in the top 10 (all-time centers),'' New York coach Don Chaney said before the game. "I love the way he plays.'' ... Robinson got a modest cheer before the game, and Duncan had to raise the center's arms to really play into the hype. "That's just the kind of guy he is,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He doesn't get caught up in the pomp and circumstance of the NBA.''

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 95 96
    FGM-FGA 35-74 (.473) 33-73 (.452)
    3PM-3PA 3-11 (.273) 7-12 (.583)
    FTM-FTA 22-28 (.786) 23-26 (.885)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-36 5-36
    Assists 14 19
    Turnovers 15 17
    Steals 8 8
    Blocks 6 2
    Fast Break Points 2 1
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (2/0) 22 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    New York
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 31
    Reb: 17
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 2
    Allan Houston Houston
    Points: 28
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0