End of Streak
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New York @
86 - 79
Record: 9-9
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Stephon Marbury finally found his shooting touch and it made the difference for the New York Knicks.

Marbury had 22 points and nine assists to help the Knicks end a three-game losing streak with an 86-79 victory over New Orleans on Wednesday night, dropping the Hornets to 0-9 at home.

After shooting 2-of-12 in the Knicks' loss Tuesday night in Memphis, Marbury started 1-for-6 but made six of his next 12 shots, including four 3-pointers. His last basket, a driving scoop shot with about two minutes to go, stopped a 6-0 Hornets run that trimmed New York's lead -- once as large as 24 -- to 10.

Marbury, who averages just over 20 points, said he doesn't let a streak of bad shots affect him.

"If it's an open shot you always think that you're going to make it," Marbury said. "You never think you're going to miss."

Kurt Thomas scored 15 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, while Nazr Mohammed made his first five shots, finishing with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, to carry the Knicks to an early double-digit lead. Mohammed also had nine rebounds, while Tim Thomas scored 11 points.

Needing a victory just to get back to .500, the Knicks (9-9) never took the league-worst Hornets (1-16) for granted, coach Lenny Wilkens said.

"There's no fooling around. You can't because those are the teams that are dangerous," he said. "When a team has that kind of record and you come in here thinking you're just going to roll over that's when you get in trouble. So we didn't want to do that."

Lee Nailon and reserve guard Dan Dickau led New Orleans with 17 points each, while David Wesley added 13. P.J. Brown had 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Chris Andersen finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

But the Hornets ended up shooting only 34.9 percent as New York packed the inside and challenged New Orleans to make jump shots.

"Wesley was the only guy who could really hurt you from outside and we knew that," Tim Thomas said. "We focused in on him and said, 'let's make other guys to make shots,' and that kind of helped us until they put Dickau in."

New York's lead was 22 when Marbury hit his third 3-pointer, making the score 64-42 half way through the third quarter. The Knicks were shooting about 57 percent at that point, then suddenly lost its offense.

The Knicks failed to score on the last seven possession of the period, but the Hornets continued to shoot inconsistently and needed Andersen's tip-in just to trim the lead to 68-54 by the end of the quarter.

Mohammed's strong start was the difference in the first half. He reached 10 points before a minute had elapsed in the second quarter. The 8-foot jumper capped a 14-2 run that gave New York an early 30-17 lead.

Outshooting New Orleans 54.3 percent to 32.6 percent for the half, the Knicks kept a double-digit lead throughout the second period and led 45-29 after Marbury's 3-pointer.

After Wesley responded with a 3, Tim Thomas connected while driving into a crowd, giving New York a 47-32 lead at halftime.

"We're just not knocking down shots," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We're doing a pretty good job getting open shots and a good job running the offense. If we're not making (shots), we're putting so much pressure on ourselves on the other end."

Allan Houston remained out of uniform in his second game since being activated from injured reserve. ... Dickau's point total was a career high. He had 14 points a night earlier in Houston. ... Three of the Hornets' starters -- Matt Freije, Alex Garcia and Nailon -- weren't with the team last season. ... Freije left the game in the third quarter with a cracked tail bone. He'll be day to day, a Hornets spokesman said. ... J.R. Smith, the Hornets' first-round draft pick, didn't play for the second straight game. ... Second-year forward Michael Sweetney had five fouls in 13 minutes of play.

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