Curry a non-factor in return as Celtics top Knicks

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ricky Davis had seen this kind of thing before.
Boston would build a big lead and then let the other team back into
the game.

It almost never ended well for the Celtics.

On Sunday, Davis got a pleasant surprise.

Davis scored 27 points and made two free throws with 8.7 seconds
left, then New York's Nate Robinson missed a long 3-pointer on the
game's final play as the Celtics beat the Knicks 102-99.

"Usually when guys come back from a lead we kind of hang our
heads," Davis said. "We just kept executing, kept getting
defensive stops. That's what I liked about it."

The Celtics led by as many as 14 in the third quarter, but
Channing Frye hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the period to
cut Boston's advantage to 76-67. From there, the Knicks chipped
away until they got within 99-98 with 21.4 seconds left.

Moments later, Boston reserve guard Dan Dickau scored his only
points of the game by making two free throws. The Knicks got back
within 100-99 on two free throws by Stephon Marbury's with 8.9
seconds left.

But Davis hit his two free throws and Robinson was unable to
make a big buzzer-beater for the second straight week. Eight days
ago, the rookie from Washington made a 3-pointer as time expired to
give the Knicks a 105-102 overtime win against Philadelphia.

"Sometimes the ball goes in your favor, sometimes it don't,"
Robinson said.

It was a difficult way for New York to leave home in preparation
for a three-game West Coast road trip that begins Tuesday in

"It's tough," said Marbury, who led the Knicks with 35 points.
"This is a game you want to get away with but unfortunately we
didn't come up with a victory."

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 28 points and nine rebounds in
the latest in a string of strong performances. Over the last four
games, Pierce is averaging 29.8 points and 11 rebounds.

Now the Celtics have some momentum heading into the last four
games of a five-game road trip that began Sunday. They face Houston
on Tuesday before visiting the New Orleans Hornets, San Antonio and

"That was a great win for us, obviously," Boston coach Doc
Rivers said. "It was our first win going on a long road trip. We
couldn't have asked for a better win."

Marbury scored 24 points in the first half. He was 17-of-21 from
the free-throw line overall in a game where the Knicks went

Frye set a career high with 25 points, the rookie's third
straight game with at least 21.

Delonte West added 17 points for the Celtics.

New York center Eddy Curry was a non-factor in his first
appearance after missing five games with a strained left calf. He
had three points and one rebound in 13:51 of playing time.

The Knicks got a scare with 5:24 left in the third quarter, when
West drove for a dunk. Jamal Crawford was trailing the play and
collided under the basket with Marbury, who was coming over to
help. Both players went down, and Crawford was helped from the
court. He received 11 stitches to close a cut on his chin and
didn't return until 44.1 seconds were left in the fourth quarter.
Marbury stayed in the game. West was called for a technical for
hanging on the rim.

Marbury was sporting a bump on his forehead after the game.

"I was a little woozy (after the collision)," Crawford said.
"But other than that, I was all right."

New York struggled to maintain any offensive rhythm in the first
half, but was able to get within 46-45 at the break by going
16-for-18 from the free-throw line, including an 8-for-9
performance by Marbury.

Game notes
Frye was announced as a starter for New York, but he was
replaced before the tip-off by Antonio Davis. Frye entered the game
with 5:42 left in the first quarter. ... Knicks coach Larry Brown
said before the game that maybe a better rivalry would develop
between the teams if they played more frequently. But he quickly
added, "I also think it's important that both of the teams get
better." ... New York center Jerome James said he had to get about
40 tickets to Tuesday night's game in Seattle for friends and
family. James spent four seasons with the SuperSonics before
signing a five-year, $30 million contract with the Knicks before
this season. ... The Knicks wore throwback uniforms that were
royal-blue with orange trim.