NBA Game Summary - Portland at New York
(Sunday, January 9th)
Final Score: New York 113, Portland 105
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Jerome Williams supplied the energy and Allan Houston and Stephon Marbury provided the offense, as the New York Knicks ended a four-game losing streak with a 113-105 win over the Portland Trail Blazers at Madison Square Garden.
Williams, who had a season-high tying 15 points and added six rebounds, earned his first start of the season and sparked what had been a lackadaisical Knicks' defense over their last four games. He drew offensive fouls, crashed the boards, hit the floor for loose balls and inspired teammates to do the same.
Houston scored all of his season-high 25 points in the first three quarters and finished 8-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-6 from three, for New York, which moved back to the .500 mark (17-17) and increased its lead in a weak Atlantic Division to one game over the idle Philadelphia 76ers.
Marbury added 20 points and 12 assists for the Knicks, who had seven players score in double figures on the way to their first win of the 2005 calendar year.
Kurt Thomas tallied 18 points for New York, which last won on December 29 at home versus Minnesota and suffered an embarrassing 104-79 setback in Cleveland on Saturday night that resulted in a players' only meeting afterwards.
"It was a desperate win tonight," said Williams. "We needed to show our fans that we work hard and show them what is the right way to play. As a group we know we can't have those lapses."
Zach Randolph had 27 points and 10 rebounds for Portland, which has lost four straight. Ruben Patterson added 20 for the Blazers, losers in seven of nine overall despite shooting 55 percent for the game.
After Portland cut was at one point a 21-point deficit to just seven points, 84-77, early in the fourth quarter, the Knicks ran off seven straight points to regain a double-digit advantage. Kurt Thomas started the run with a jumper, and after two Moochie Norris free throws, Williams' transition reverse layup and free throw capped the three-point play and increased New York's lead to 91-77 lead with 2:04 elapsed in the fourth.
Later, after Portland cut the Knicks' lead to nine points 97-88, Williams' backdoor dunk extended the advantage back to double-digits and New York held on from there.
Williams earned his first start as a Knick in part because of a knee and calf injury to Tim Thomas, who was in uniform and on the bench but sat out the contest. He played a season-high 33 minutes and added four assists.
Trevor Ariza added a career-high tying 14 points and Nazr Mohammed recorded 11 points and six rebounds for the Knicks, who have won two straight against the Blazers.
The Knicks got off to a quick a start, taking a 19-7 lead by the midway point of the first quarter and carrying a 31-23 advantage into the second. In the quarter, a 9-0 run gave New York a 46-31 lead with 5:16 remaining and the club cruised into the break with a 55-42 cushion.
In the third, Houston sparked a 12-3 run to open the quarter and give the Knicks their largest lead at 67-46. The guard hit a pair of three-pointers during the run, capping the burst with a trey 3:11 into the frame.
A late run by the Blazers cut the New York lead to 84-74 going into the final 12 minutes.
This was Sebastian Telfair's first game at MSG since being drafted in June 13th overall by Portland out of Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn. He entered the game with 11 seconds left in the first quarter and scored his first basket as a pro at the Garden 2:08 into the second. He finished with two points and a season-high seven assists in 23 minutes of action.
"Obviously, Marbury had the advantage tonight," said Telfair about playing against his idol and good friend. "I didn't have one of my best games. It was my first time home playing as a pro. Hopefully I'll be better the next time."
Telfair and Marbury, also a NYC native, have forged a strong relationship over the past few years and when Telfair entered the game Marbury greeted him with a hug.
"Once he gets a consistent jump shot he will be fine," said Marbury of Telfair. "He knows the game. He knows how to play. He's very quick and very talented."
Norris scored 10 points...NY shot a season-high 59 percent and recorded a season-high tying 29 assists as a team...Before the game, the Blazers signed rookie free agent James Thomas to a 10-day contract...NY's Mike Sweetney missed the game with an ankle injury.
01/10 00:04:06 ET