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Denver at New York

Knicks fight back late, top Denver in first MSG matchup since brawl

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- The Knicks found a better way to fight back against the Denver Nuggets.

Zach Randolph had 22 points and 17 rebounds, three other players scored more than 20 points, and New York erased a series of double-digit deficits to win 119-112 Tuesday night in Denver's first trip to Madison Square Garden since last year's brawl.

Seemingly on the verge of being run off the floor in the same way they were before losing their cool 11 months ago, the Knicks instead blew by the Nuggets with a fourth-quarter rally, then held on behind huge plays from Randolph and Eddy Curry in their best outing since being paired together.

Jamal Crawford led the Knicks with 25 points and Curry added 24, nine in the fourth quarter. Stephon Marbury had 21 and nine assists, and Renaldo Balkman led a spirited bench effort with 11 points.

"Our whole team, I like the tenacity that we played with. I like the intensity that we played with," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said.

Allen Iverson scored 32 points and Carmelo Anthony had 24 for the Nuggets, who led by as many as 15 and were still ahead by 10 going to the fourth quarter before dropping their second straight.

Iverson briefly had to leave the floor after bloodying his lip defending Marbury with under two minutes left, but everything else about the game was clean -- unlike Denver's last trip here.

In that one, the Nuggets were 1:15 away from finishing up a 123-100 victory last Dec. 16 when Knicks reserve Mardy Collins took down J.R. Smith by the neck to stop a breakaway. Nate Robinson soon jumped in, and he and Smith tumbled into the front row while fighting. Anthony, leading the NBA in scoring at the time, dropped Collins with a punch and was suspended 15 games.

Seven players were suspended, each organization was fined $500,000, and the Nuggets sorely needed to find more scoring. So they stepped up their efforts to get Iverson, acquiring him from Philadelphia just after the suspensions were announced.

There were no incidents this time, even when Smith had another breakaway late in the third quarter and Robinson was forced to foul to stop him. And though players from both teams insist everything about the brawl is in the past, the icy relationship between George Karl and Thomas hasn't gone anywhere.

Thomas accused Karl of creating a dangerous situation by leaving his starters on the floor after the Knicks had already pulled theirs. Karl fired back with a profane tirade in which he said the situation was "premeditated" after hearing Thomas had cautioned Anthony not to go to the basket shortly before Collins' foul.

Neither coach wanted to talk much about the other this week, and Thomas cut short his session with the media following Monday's practice moments after he was asked if he and Karl had chatted this summer at the Las Vegas Summer League.

"Tonight's game has an extra intensity to it. It has an extra energy to it," Karl said earlier Tuesday. "But as I've said in the last couple of days, the regular-season games that have a passion and an intensity to them usually make for good basketball if you stay professional and stay focused."

Down 92-82 to start the fourth, the Knicks tied it at 102 on Curry's bucket with about five minutes left. After a final tie at 108, Marbury put New York ahead for good with two free throws with 2:32 remaining, then Curry blocked Marcus Camby's shot on the other end and the Knicks stayed ahead from there.

New York outscored Denver 37-20 in the final 12 minutes.

Robinson and Smith entered during the same stoppage with 3:56 left in the first quarter, with Smith making his season debut to loud boos following a three-game team suspension for an incident at a nightclub.

The Knicks shot 70 percent in a fast-paced first quarter, and still trailed 37-32. Linas Kleiza made all five shots and scored 12 points, Iverson had 11 in his first action at Madison Square Garden since late in the 2005-06 season, and the Nuggets shot 67 percent.

The lead grew to 50-35 when Eduardo Najera dribbled the length of the floor for a layup, bringing out the first boos directed toward the Knicks at home this season. But New York fought back to tie it at 60 before Denver ran off the final six points of the half.

The Nuggets quickly restored the double-digit lead in the third, and again back came the Knicks, tying it at 82 behind a flurry from Crawford during an 11-1 spurt. The Nuggets then scored 10 straight to take a 92-82 cushion into the final period.

Notes

  • Denver F Kenyon Martin sat out so he could play Wednesday at Boston. The Nuggets aren't using him in back-to-back games while he works his way back from knee surgery.
  • The game featured three of the top four picks from the deep 1996 NBA draft: Iverson (No. 1), Marcus Camby (No. 2) and Marbury (No. 4). Thomas drafted Camby while he was an executive in Toronto.
  • Randolph is the first Knicks player to open a season with three straight double-doubles in points and rebounds since Patrick Ewing 15 years ago.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Jamal Crawford's 25 points lift N.Y. in an uneventful first meeting with Denver since last year's brawl.  (AP)
Jamal Crawford's 25 points lift N.Y. in an uneventful first meeting with Denver since last year's brawl. (AP)

Scoreboard
Denver (2-2) 37292620112
New York (2-1) «32282237119
DEN:A. Iverson 32 Pts
DEN:M. Camby 13 Reb
DEN:C. Anthony 9 Ast
NY:J. Crawford 25 Pts
NY:Z. Randolph 17 Reb
NY:S. Marbury 9 Ast
Players of the Game
New YorkDenver

Z. Randolph

A. Iverson
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
221703245
Denver
A. Iverson, SG4513-225-945232
C. Anthony, SF397-2010-1329324
M. Camby, C353-73-613369
L. Kleiza, SF328-130-220318
Nene, PF264-70-08068
E. Najera, PF306-110-092213
J. Smith, SG232-62-21038
Y. Diawara, SG90-00-01120
A. Carter, PGDid Not Play
C. Atkins, PGDid Not Play
K. Martin, PFDid Not Play
S. Hunter, PFDid Not Play
M. Wilks, PGDid Not Play
V. Wafer, SGDid Not Play
B. Jones, SFDid Not Play
Totals 43-8620-32402027112
 50.0%62.5% 
New York
J. Crawford, SG448-196-858125
Z. Randolph, PF389-154-7170422
S. Marbury, PG368-153-429421
E. Curry, C3511-162-581224
Q. Richardson, SF223-80-23127
R. Balkman, PF285-61-241411
D. Lee, PF234-91-17019
N. Robinson, PG150-30-03210
M. Rose, PFDid Not Play
J. James, PFDid Not Play
J. Jeffries, PFDid Not Play
F. Jones, SGDid Not Play
M. Collins, PGDid Not Play
R. Morris, CDid Not Play
W. Chandler, SFDid Not Play
Totals 48-9117-29492219119
 52.7%58.6% 
Other Games
Pho 115 Final
Char 83
Atl 82 Final
NJ 87
Tor 85 Final
Mil 112
Orl 111 Final
Min 103
LAC 97 Final
Chi 91
SA 81 Final
Hou 89
Sea 98 Final
Sac 104
Cle 108 Final
GS 104
NO 118 Final
LAL 104