Don't get Patrick Ewing wrong. He appreciates the significance of joining the highly exclusive 20,000-point, 10,000-rebound club.
It's just that it pales in comparison to the one big goal that's eluded him in his 14 NBA seasons.
"I've played a lot of years and I've accomplished a lot," Ewing said after he reached the milestone in a 94-87 victory over the Phoenix Suns Friday night. "But there's one more goal I need to reach, and that's to win a championship."
These Knicks may not be championship caliber. But they were good enough to beat the Suns and snap a three-game losing streak, a much-needed victory for beleaguered New York coach Jeff Van Gundy.
"We've been finding ways to lose games like that," he said.
Latrell Sprewell and Allan Houston provided the offensive spark the Knicks needed at different times in the game.
Sprewell scored 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. Houston scored a season-high 29 points for the Knicks, but none in the fourth quarter, when the Suns rallied from nine points down to briefly take a one-point lead.
In the first quarter, Ewing became the 12th NBA player to score at least 20,000 points and grab 10,000 rebounds in his career.
He grabbed his 10,000th career rebound, and fourth of the game, with 3:49 left in the first quarter. Ewing finished with 13 points and eight rebounds as the Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak.
Luc Longley had a season-high 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who were playing their third game in three nights after road stops against the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland. Clifford Robinson added 17 and Danny Manning 14.
Tom Gugliotta was 0-for-8 from the field with four turnovers and four points. Jason Kidd had 11 points and only six assists, five below his league-leading average.
Trailing 71-62 after three quarers, the Suns made 11 of 12 free throws in the first 6:05 of the final period. They scored eight in a row, all from the foul line, to take a 78-77 lead with 5:55 to go.
But Phoenix, which shot 36 percent from the field, missed seven in a row down the stretch.
"That's what the Knicks are known for, playing good defense and making you take tough shots," Longley said.
Sprewell had a steal and two baskets in an 8-2 run that gave the Knicks the lead for good 85-80 on his 15-footer with 3:22 remaining.
Sprewell, who was 10-for-10 at the foul line, hit two free throws, Charlie Ward made 3-of-4 and Larry Johnson 4-of-4 in the final minute to clinch the victory.
"Playing defense, rebounding and making free throws all the things we didn't do in those close losses," Sprewell said.
The Knicks scored the first 11 points in the third quarter, six by Houston, to take a 58-46 lead on Houston's 14-footer with 8:38 to play in the quarter. The run reached 24-8 on Houston's 3-pointer that put the Knicks up 69-56 with 3:07 left in the period.
"We turned the ball over. We gave them some easy shots in transition, and they got hot," Ainge said.
Phoenix scored the last eight points of the first half to take a 48-47 lead at the break.
The Suns were without Rex Chapman, suspended for the game for grazing an official with his flailing arms while complaining about a foul call in Thursday night's game against Portland.
New York is 1-1 on its only West Coast trip of the abbreviated season. The Knicks have one game left on the trip Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Notes: The Suns finished their schedule against the Eastern Conference with a 1-5 record. ...Phoenix's Toby Bailey, starting in place of Chapman, had six points and eight rebounds in the first quarter and nothing the rest of the way. ...New York won on the road for only the second time in its last nine tries. ... The Knicks have beaten the Suns four straight times. ...The Suns were 11-for-39 shooting and had 12 turnovers in the second half. ...Phoenix is 6-8 at home.
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