Rose knocked down a pair of 18-foot jumpers to complete a 14-0
run to start the fourth quarter, getting a measure of revenge
against the team that traded him last month as the New York Knicks
defeated the San Antonio Spurs 88-75 Monday night.
"It was definitely personal for him," teammate Jamal Crawford
Rose had 18 points -- his most since joining the Knicks 10 games
ago -- and seven rebounds against the team he spent the past 7½
Duncan was sidelined by a sprained ankle, and the Spurs were
without the player used to back him up. Instead, Rose made his
first start since joining the Knicks 10 games ago, replacing Kurt
Thomas (infected elbow).
"In the beginning it was kind of nerve-racking. All day I was
sitting around, couldn't really get a good nap or anything like
that. I just wanted to get it over with," Rose said.
New York, trying to keep its slim playoff hopes alive, gained a
game on the fading Orlando Magic and pulled within 3½ games of
eighth-place Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference standings with
17 games remaining.
Devin Brown scored 22 points for the Spurs, who were held to
their second-lowest point total of the season. Tony Parker added 14
points, but only four came after he started the game 5-for-5 and
scored San Antonio's first 10 points.
Duncan will be sidelined at least two weeks with a seriously
sprained right ankle. Without him, the Spurs relied too much on the
3-point shot (5-for-22) and were at a loss to find any offense when
the Knicks made their surge.
"Yeah, I spoke to him," Rose said of Duncan. "He sent me a
Tim Thomas added 14 points and seven rebounds, and rookie Trevor
Ariza grabbed 10 rebounds for New York.
During the game, Rose avoided eye contact with Spurs coach Greg
Popovich -- except to glance over to see which play was being
called, then announcing it to his new teammates.
"He was really coaching the Knicks," Spurs guard Manu Ginobili
said. "Every time we called a play, he was telling everybody what
to do. He played a very good game."
When the final buzzer sounded, Rose walked over to Popovich and
the two exchanged hugs.
Rose had been a key member of two Spurs championship teams, and
the trade that sent him to New York for Nazr Mohammed was unpopular
in San Antonio.
"It was gut-wrenching, to say the least. He was intricately
woven into the fabric of the team personality. A highly intelligent
guy, very respected, a class act on and off the court for a lot of
years," Popovich said. "It took a while for us to get over it. It
was kind of a mourning period, believe it or not, with our team and
Ginobili scored on a reverse layup for a 25-23 lead less than 90
seconds into the second quarter, and the Spurs stayed ahead until
late in the third quarter when Marbury started getting aggressive
He had six free throws, a short bank shot, two layups and a
20-footer in a personal 14-3 run that put New York ahead 64-60
entering the fourth quarter, then knocked down two free throws with
9:04 left as part of the 14-0 run that put New York ahead 78-60.
Rose ended the run with a pair of 18-foot jumpers off passes
from Marbury, pumping his fist after each shot. Brown ended a
nearly 11-minute field goal drought on a driving layup that made it
78-62, but by then the outcome was no longer in doubt.
The Knicks will play host to the first place Boston Celtics on
Wednesday before beginning a four-game Western road trip against
Seattle on Friday. It will be their fourth straight game against a
Knicks C Jackie Butler made his NBA debut, playing the
final 55 seconds. He made his first NBA shot, a layup, 8 seconds
after he checked in. The 20-year-old was signed out of the CBA late
last month and was activated when New York placed Penny Hardaway on
the injured list earlier in the day. ... Mohammed had 7 points and
seven rebounds off the bench. ... Robert Horry started for Duncan
and had 10 points. ... San Antonio is 1-4 this season without
Duncan. ... The Spurs fell to 23-6 against sub-.500 teams.