NEW YORK (AP) -- Ten games into the season and eight games
removed from being booed off the court in their home opener, the
New York Knicks have reached .500 and moved into first place in the
Nazr Mohammed had another strong game against the team that
traded him last season, scoring 18 points and grabbing 14 rebounds
Tuesday night to lead New York past the Atlanta Hawks 104-88.
If the Knicks can defeat Toronto on Wednesday night, they'll
move above .500 for the first time in nearly three years.
"I think we're moving in the right direction, but I still feel
we have a ways to go," coach Lenny Wilkens said. "I like the
intensity we're coming out with now. The defense is getting
Stephon Marbury had 11 assists -- all in the first half -- and
Jamal Crawford scored 17 as New York moved past Boston and Toronto
into sole possession of first place. Marbury scored 16, and Kurt
Thomas continued his recent strong play with 12 points and 11
Mohammed was acquired in February when Knicks president Isiah
Thomas sent Keith Van Horn to Milwaukee in a three-way trade that
also netted Tim Thomas. Initially judged to be a secondary player
in that deal, Mohammed is turning out to be the more valuable
Mohammed shot 8-for-12 and had three steals, while Tim Thomas
missed his first seven shots and finished 1-for-9 for nine points
in his seventh single-digit scoring performance among the Knicks'
first 10 games.
Last March, Mohammed had 18 points and 13 rebounds last March in
his first game against the Hawks, with whom he spent three seasons.
"I wanted a little bit more of an opportunity while I was
there, so I kind of showed them what they're missing," Mohammed
Atlanta lost at Madison Square Garden for the 10th straight
Marbury had seven assists before he attempted his first field
goal, and the Knicks led 24-19 after one quarter behind the 4-for-4
shooting of Kurt Thomas.
Marbury got his 10th assist on a jumper by Kurt Thomas that made
it 47-39 with 1:49 left before halftime.
"He penetrated and got us wide open looks, and that's what you
expect from your point guard," Kurt Thomas said.
Tim Thomas broke his shooting slump on a three-point play that
gave the Knicks a 60-48 lead, and Crawford followed by blocking
Kenny Anderson's breakaway layup attempt and then sprinting all the
way back downcourt to convert a transition layup that turned into a
Marbury checked in only briefly in the fourth quarter, knocking
down a 22-footer with 1 second left on the shot clock for a 90-73
lead with 7:32 remaining. The Hawks never threatened again.
"We were terrible tonight. The effort wasn't there," Hawks
coach Mike Woodson said. "You can't play a good team like the
Knicks and expect to win playing this way.
Hawks G Royal Ivey left in the second quarter with a
sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee. ... C Peja
Drobnjak sprained his ankle in the third quarter and did not
return. ... Point guard Jamison Brewer made his Knicks debut, and
his first basket was an impressive one-handed dunk in transition
over Boris Diaw. "That's probably the best way you can let 'em
know you're a Knick,' said Brewer, who judged the dunk the best of
his NBA career. ... Rookie Josh Childress replaced Diaw in the
Hawks' starting lineup and had five steals, five assists, five
rebounds, two blocked shots and 13 points.