Duncan-less Spurs can't face Malik's Knicks
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W
88
75
New York vs
88 - 75
Record: 28-37
Malik Rose had his best game since joining the Knicks (AP Photo)
Malik Rose had his best game since joining the Knicks (AP Photo)
NEW YORK (AP) -- Tim Duncan was missed by the San Antonio Spurs, and Malik Rose made sure his former team missed him, too.

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 said.

Rose had 18 points -- his most since joining the Knicks 10 games ago -- and seven rebounds against the team he spent the past 7 1/2 seasons with.

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.

Stephon Marbury scored the Knicks' final 14 points of the third quarter and finished with 31 points and 10 assists despite being guarded by Bruce Bowen, one of the league's best defenders.

New York, trying to keep its slim playoff hopes alive, gained a game on the fading Orlando Magic and pulled within 3 1/2 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 death threat."

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 our staff."

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 on offense.

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 first-place club.

Notes:
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.

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