Now They Win
W
100
98
New York @
100 - 98
Record: 32-47
Stephon Marbury being fouled by Gerald Wallace (AP Photo)
Stephon Marbury being fouled by Gerald Wallace (AP Photo)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- After sitting out the final quarter of the New York Knicks' last game, Stephon Marbury made the most of his last-minute opportunity.

Marbury scored 19 points and hit the tiebreaking jump shot with 1.7 seconds left Saturday, giving the Knicks a 100-98 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Marbury, who was benched for the entire fourth quarter in Thursday's win over Cleveland. This time, he never gave up the ball in the final seconds.

He dribbled off a screen, getting away from Brevin Knight for an instant, and made an 18-footer from the right wing.

The play was set up for a pick-and-roll.

"I was surprised they didn't trap me," said Marbury, who is playing through aches and pains. "We are just trying to play hard and end on a positive note."

Charlotte had a final chance, but Malik Allen missed a 21-footer from the top of the key as time expired.

Jamal Crawford added 17 points and Kurt Thomas had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks, who have won three of four following a nine-game losing streak.

Crawford said Marbury deserves credit for playing in pain.

"He's playing really banged up. He would never tell anyone else that," Crawford said.

The Bobcats played most of the way without forward Emeka Okafor, who sustained a right thigh bruise after getting tangled up with Michael Sweetney early in the first quarter. Okafor left the game for good in the second quarter, finishing with six points and three rebounds in 15 minutes.

Okafor said he aggravated an injury sustained two weeks ago against Chicago.

"I got hit in the same spot again, except it was 10 times harder," Okafor said. "I tried to play through it, but I couldn't move."

With center Primoz Brezec already sitting out with a sprained ankle, Okafor's absence left the Bobcats thin up front.

But the Bobcats rallied from a 12-point third-quarter deficit. Jason Kapono's back-to-back baseline jumpers put Charlotte ahead 91-90 -- its first lead since 21-18.

Crawford's 3-pointer on the next possession put New York back ahead.

But Charlotte again rallied, moving ahead 96-95 on Knight's three-point play with 1:11 left.

Marbury's 3-pointer put the Knicks ahead 98-96 with 29.6 seconds left, but Knight tied it with two free throws with 20 seconds to go.

The Bobcats lost for the 15th time by three points or less, a league high.

"I tip my hat to those men in the locker room," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "Despite our lack of size, they got us back and gave us a chance."

Keith Bogans had 15 points, while Kapono and Gerald Wallace each scored 14 for the expansion Bobcats, who failed in their attempt to win three in a row for the first time.

Wallace also matched a career best with 14 rebounds.

Notes:
Knicks coach Herb Williams said he's not actively seeking other jobs, even as his future with the Knicks remains uncertain. ... Williams is endorsing Okafor for rookie of the year over Chicago's Ben Gordon. "I know Gordon has had great fourth quarters, but Okafor has been more consistent," Williams said. ... In a scheduling oddity, the Bobcats play their second straight afternoon game Sunday in Washington. "The players should be turning in early," coach Bernie Bickerstaff said with a grin.

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