|New York vs Utah|
|97 - 96|
Down to eight players after four were suspended for their role in a brawl, New York erased a 16-point deficit Monday night and stunned the Utah Jazz 97-96 in overtime on Stephon Marbury 's layup just before time expired.
With the jerseys of Nate Robinson , Mardy Collins , Jared Jeffries and Jerome James hanging in their lockers, the Knicks shook off Saturday's embarrassing scene against the Nuggets and the penalties announced earlier in the day by commissioner David Stern.
"We had a tough last 48 hours with this whole situation happening," forward David Lee said. "We wanted to come out tonight and really show our fans that we're in some tough circumstances but we're going to continue to fight."
Marbury had 29 points and eight assists, Jamal Crawford added 18 points - all after halftime - and the Knicks found a way to win despite making only two field goals in the final 8 minutes of regulation to get forced into the extra period.
"I said to them that the same resistance and fight that you've had in your life, in your own daily journeys trying to get to the NBA, whenever you met that resistance in your life, you move through it," coach Isiah Thomas said.
"This is a time when you're meeting resistance and you've got to move through that resistance. You can't give into it."
Deron Williams scored 23 points for Utah, including a jumper that gave the Jazz a 96-95 lead with 3 seconds left. But Lee found Marbury streaking up the left side with his inbounds pass, and Marbury made a layup that was ruled good after a review by the officials.
Forgotten because of the fight was that Marbury had his best game of a rocky season on Saturday night, scoring a season-high 31 points. He was just as good Monday, carrying the Knicks while Crawford was struggling, and had fans yelling his name when he came back on the court for a postgame TV interview.
"I was really happy for him," Thomas said. "Again, he's from New York and he understands the city better than any of us, the ups and downs of it. And you know the toughness that he has of just grinding it out through the bad times, just grinding it out and fighting for Stephon Marbury ."
The Knicks led 80-70 with 5 1/2 minutes remaining before Utah's zone began giving them trouble. Mehmet Okur hit a pair of 3-pointers in a 40-second span, trimming New York's lead to 82-80 with 2:23 remaining. Marbury made one free throw before Williams banked in a runner to make it a one-point game again. Crawford sank a pair from the line to make it 85-82, but Williams' 3-pointer with 10 seconds left tied it.
Crawford missed a potential winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Reserve guards Robinson (10 games) and Collins (6) were serving the first games of the penalties they received Monday. New York was also without starting forward Jeffries, who was suspended four games, and backup center James, who was banned one game for leaving the bench area.
New York was already without starters Steve Francis (knee) and Quentin Richardson (back spasms).
"We know that this is going to be a tough task for us," Marbury said.
But they did have Thomas, who escaped punishment from Stern even though acknowledging that he told Carmelo Anthony not to go into the lane shortly before Collins delivered a hard foul on J.R. Smith to trigger the brawl.
Thomas said he wasn't threatening Anthony, and Stern apparently believed him.
The absences forced Thomas to use some unusual combinations. He started power forwards Lee and Channing Frye together, and later had centers Eddy Curry and Kelvin Cato on the floor at the same time.
Lee finished with 17 points and a career-high 20 rebounds.
Carlos Boozer had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz, but was largely quiet after the first quarter. Okur finished with 19 points.
Crawford was having a miserable shooting game until finishing the third quarter with a flourish, getting a pair of dunks - one that bounced off the rim and went in - around a 3-pointer to give the Knicks a 66-59 advantage with 20 seconds left.
Boozer scored 17 points in the first quarter, when the Jazz shot 52 percent and built a 34-20 lead. But the Jazz wilted in the second quarter after the Knicks picked up the defensive pressure, scoring a season-low 10 points. They went more than 8 minutes before their first field goal and shot 3-for-19 (16 percent) with six turnovers.
"I thought we could have a chance to go out and stay at it if we stayed active," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We couldn't stand their pressure that they put on us in the second quarter."
New York led 46-44 at halftime, walking off to a loud ovation after its spirited play in the quarter.
The Knicks have won the last five meetings in the series. ... Utah's previous worst quarter this season was 11 points in the third against Orlando on Nov. 27.