Knicks Back to .500
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W
110
96
New York vs
110 - 96
Record: 2-2
NEW YORK (AP) -- Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford and a host of other New York Knicks were so good their play covered up a deficiency at center that Eddy Curry believes he can cure.

Marbury had 21 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds before sitting out the fourth quarter, getting a little extra rest before beginning a tough road trip as the Knicks defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 110-96 Friday night.

Crawford added 19 points, Tim Thomas had 15, Michael Sweetney 14 and Jerome Williams 12 for the Knicks, who reached 100 points with more than eight minutes remaining against the defensively disinterested Clippers.

But it wasn't all good.

The Knicks received zero points, two rebounds and four fouls in 12 minutes from starting center Nazr Mohammed, who is averaging only 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds through the Knicks' 2-2 start.

New York has some interest in Curry, whose agent issued a trade demand earlier this week before Curry rescinded it.

"If he goes anywhere, he definitely wants to come here,'' Crawford said of his former Chicago teammate. "This spot is very attractive to him. When we played together in Chicago we never wanted to leave each other.''

The Knicks, who never trailed in winning their second in a row after opening the season with two losses, will play their next four games at Indiana, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.

The trip begins Saturday night, and Marbury will have a smidgen less wear and tear to deal with after leading the Knicks to an early double-digit lead that held up through most of the final three quarters.

"It's a very tough road trip, a very good test for us,'' Marbury said. "We have to raise our intensity to another level.''

Corey Maggette shot 10-for-17 and scored 29 points, Chris Wilcox had 21 and Elton Brand 20 for Los Angeles, which was coming off a 34-point road victory at Indiana.

"We talked about it before the game, how the opportunity was there to make this into a real special trip,'' coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Maybe we're too young to handle a good success without feeling too good about ourselves.''

It took New York less than four minutes to open its first double-digit lead, 13-2, and the advantage never dropped below eight during the second quarter. Penny Hardaway ended the third quarter with a driving finger roll for an 88-72 edge, and Crawford banked in a 20-footer with one second left on the shot clock to make it 100-81 with 8:04 left.

Now nearly a week removed from a 34-point loss to Boston in their home opener, the Knicks are looking much more comfortable on offense.

"It's night and day,'' Crawford said. "We feel we can put some wins together and keep rolling.''

Earlier Friday, the Knicks were set to sign free agent forward Eddie Robinson before he failed a physical because of a bone deformity in his toe. Robinson has decided to undergo surgery, which will sideline him at least six weeks.

New York will stick with an 11-man roster until Jamison Brewer or Bruno Sundov comes off the injured list following Saturday night's game at Indiana. Allan Houston also is on the injured list but is not close to returning from chronic knee soreness.

Notes
The last member of the Knicks to record a triple-double was Latrell Sprewell with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists against Orlando on Feb. 28, 2003. ... Knicks center Nazr Mohammed was scoreless with four fouls and just two rebounds in 12 minutes. ... Clippers rookie Shaun Livingston missed a breakaway dunk in the first quarter but converted a breakaway reverse layup on the Clippers' next possession. ... Mets manager Willie Randolph sat courtside.

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