Latrell Sprewell spent time before the game in the film room, and then spent the entire first half trying to finding his shot.
Once he did, he made the Denver Nuggets pay for his discovery as he scored 26 points while Allan Houston added 23 Tuesday night as the New York Knicks ended a three-game losing streak with a 102-95 victory.
Sprewell shot only 1-for-4 in the first half. But he scored 24 points in the second half, going 9-for-13 and Houston, went 6-for-8 after 4 of 7 in the first half.
"Latrell was much more aggressive," New York coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "He wasn't waiting for double teams. When they did double on him, he passed the ball."
"He had a good balance between driving to the hoop, jump shots and layups in transition," he said.
McDyess' dunk with 1:08 left pulled the Nuggets within 95-91. Marcus Camby's layup and free throw with 50 seconds remaining sealed the win for the Knicks.
"We got the lead down to a manageable situation," Denver coach Dan Issel said. "Down the stretch they executed and we didn't."
The Nuggets, who had 100 turnovers in their first six games, turned the ball over 20 times including three times in the ast two minutes.
New York took a 74-70 lead into the fourth quarter. Denver turned a pair of Knicks turnovers into five points by Mercer to cut the deficit to 89-85, but Sprewell hit successive jump shots.
"Latrell didn't just get hot, he exploded," Mercer said. "We couldn't stop him and Houston in the second half and that was the key."
McDyess extended that lead to 63-56 with a pair of jump shots before Sprewell keyed an 18-7 with 12 points in the final five minutes of the quarter.
"When Sprewell and I get our shots, everyone is in a good rhythm," Houston said.
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