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Knicks eclipse Suns in three Ots

2006-07-28 16:13

  David Lee was once happy with whatever playing time he got for the New York Knicks. When the rookie was given more than he ever could have imagined, he delivered in a big way.

  Lee had season highs of 23 points and 15 rebounds while playing 52 minutes, and the Knicks outlasted the Phoenix Suns 140-133 in New York on Monday in three overtimes to snap a three-game losing skid.

  “David Lee played phenomenal tonight,” Stephon Marbury said. “He's definitely the MVP of the game. Whenever you got a guy slashing and dunking, it makes it a lot easier for me penetrating.”

  Marbury scored 32 points, including seven in the third OT, and added 10 assists against his former team. But it was the play of Lee and Eddy Curry (20 points, season-high 15 rebounds) against the foul-plagued Phoenix frontcourt that helped the Knicks take the lead for good in the third OT.

  A first-round pick from Florida, Lee played little at the beginning of the season and was even on the inactive list for seven straight games. But Larry Brown recently made him the starting small forward, and Lee kept providing more energy on Monday than anyone guarding him. “I have been waiting for this opportunity to get in there and the coach has been happy with me lately and told me to just go out there and play as hard I can,” Lee said.

  It was more time than the Suns could handle. Forced to play overtime for the second straight game, they wilted in the third OT and were unable to complete their first 5-0 road trip since April 6-13, 1998.

  In other National Basketball Association games, it was: Bucks 93, Bulls 92; Nuggets 120, Celtics 110; Pacers 115, SuperSonics 96; and Hornets 103, Bobcats 86.

  Shawn Marion scored a career-high 39 points and Steve Nash added 28 points and a career-best 22 assists for the Suns, who had four players foul out. The Knicks shot 54 free throws to the Suns' 16.

  “It seemed like the more and more we kept going to overtime, the more it drained us,” Marion said after playing 60 minutes.

  Jamal Crawford added 29 points for the Knicks, who entered tied with Atlanta at 7-21 for the worst NBA record.

  Curry opened the third overtime with his three-point play. Marion scored on the other end, but Lee's three-point play made it 133-129 with 4:16 remaining.

  After another basket by Marion, Marbury scored seven straight points as the Knicks pushed the lead to 140-131. New York was playing its first triple-overtime game since February 14, 1993, a 100-102 loss at Orlando.

  “It is very satisfying,” Marbury said. “It shows what we have as a team. Whenever you can go on the court and play three overtimes with no one giving up, it shows what we can do on the court.”

  The Suns trailed by as much as 13 points in the second half before Marion and Nash led a rally in the fourth quarter, scoring the Suns' final 11 points of regulation.

  Marion converted an alley-oop from Nash to give Phoenix its first lead since the opening 2 minutes at 104-102, before Curry made two free throws with 8.4 seconds to go after being fouled while going for an offensive rebound.

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