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New York vs
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Record: 16-15
NEW YORK (AP) -- The first time Chris Webber laid eyes on Maurice Evans, one thought came to mind: Who's the guy who looks like Anthony Peeler's little brother?

"I'll tell you what, though," Webber said. "Over the first two days of working out, I saw his effort and his strength, and I said 'That guy is going to be really, really good. He's going to be a force to be reckoned with."'

Evans came off the bench to score a career-high 16 points, and the Sacramento Kings kept the New York Knicks wallowing in mediocrity with a 105-98 victory Tuesday night.

Webber scored 22 points, Peja Stojakovic had 21, Mike Bibby added 19 and Brad Miller 16 for the Kings, who got only two points in 29 minutes from starting shooting guard Doug Christie.

Evans, a 6-foot-5 swingman who was used sparingly by Minnesota two years ago before playing professionally in Italy, made up for what Christie failed to provide.

He shot 7-for-9 from the field to surpass his previous career high of 13 set three games earlier against Golden State, and Sacramento won for the eighth time in its last nine road games and gained its first victory at Madison Square Garden in nearly a decade.

"I'm a confident person, and I came here to try to contribute something," said Evans, who has stepped into Bobby Jackson's role as the Kings' first energy player coming off the bench. Jackson is out for the remainder of the season after undergoing wrist surgery.

Evans drew the defensive assignment on Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury in the fourth quarter, helping hold New York's leading scorer to just one point over the final 12 minutes.

"I just tried to do the best I could to stay in front of him and make him shoot over me, and I think my length kind of bothered him a little bit," said Evans, whose worldwide career high was 36 points in Benetton Treviso's playoff victory last season over Skipper Bologna.

"He really came in and gave them some energy," Knicks forward Jerome Williams said. "He got to the basket, got fouls, he was tough. He's a player, in terms of their weapons, that doesn't get mentioned as much."

Marbury led the Knicks with 26 points, Nazr Mohammed added 22 and Allan Houston scored a season-high 21.

Prior to the game, Knicks team president Isiah Thomas said he was more than happy with the way his team has performed this season. The loss dropped New York's record to 16-15, though they still lead the weak Atlantic Division.

The loss was the Knicks second straight, continuing a season-long cycle in which each of their steps forward has been followed by a step in the opposite direction.

"Unfortunately, that's the cycle of the climb," Thomas said. "You don't go from the bottom to the top. There's always intermediate steps. Right now, we're probably what our record indicates -- a little bit better than .500, a little bit above average, but I don't think we're at the top of the league or the top of the climb."

New York allowed two dunks, two layups and a wide-open 3-pointer during a 12-0 run to start the second quarter that gave Sacramento a 34-21 lead, but the Knicks caught the Kings by opening the second half with a 23-9 run to go ahead 66-65.

Marbury scored 17 points in the third quarter, and New York trailed 81-79 entering the fourth.

The final quarter was tight throughout, Sacramento taking a 98-93 lead when Evans got ahead of the field for an uncontested dunk following a miss from inside by Tim Thomas.

A jumper by Kurt Thomas made it a three-point game, but Webber and Miller scored the next four points to lock up the victory, Sacramento's 10th in 11 games against Eastern Conference opponents.

Notes
Knicks F Michael Sweetney sprained his right ankle in the first half. X-rays were negative, but he did not return. ... Webber semi-dodged a question about whether he's like to be traded to the Knicks someday, although he did say: "There's no player that's ever touched a basketball that I've ever loved and admired more than Isiah." ... Sacramento's previous victory in New York came on Jan. 13, 1996, when Christie was a member of the Knicks. ... The Kings, who began a four-game, five-day road trip, play their next seven games against sub.-500 teams.

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