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Knicks get by as Duncan's final shot misses

12/31/2002

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.''