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Knicks Rally To Eclipse Suns


Nothing epitomized the Phoenix Suns' offensive woes quite like Jason Kidd's airball late in the fourth quarter. Ugliest airball you've ever seen.

Kidd missed a 24-footer by a good four feet as the Suns were going through a seven-minute stretch in which they scored just one point, causing their winning streak to end at eight games Friday night in an 84-79 loss to the New York Knicks.

"It was off-target," Kidd said, understating things a bit. "The shot clock was running down, I took a peek and thought it was at six. Everybody was standing around at that point, and I did the next best thing and took a shot."

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  • Kidd's miss with 30 seconds left was followed by two free throws by Latrell Sprewell that gave the Knicks a four-point lead. Rodney Rogers hit a 3-pointer with six seconds left for Phoenix's first basket in more than seven minutes, but Allan Houston hit two free throws with 4.7 seconds left to ice the victory.

    Patrick Ewing tied his season-high with 25 points and had 10 rebounds, Latrell Sprewell scored 21 and Chris Childs hit a pair of big jumpers to finish a late 13-0 run that allowed the Knicks to overtake the Suns after trailing for most of the night. New York scored 19 of the game's final 24 points.

    It was the Suns' first loss since Feb. 4.

    "We did what we needed to do to put ourselves in position to win the game, but when you don't finish it this is what happens: You sit in the locker room and wonder what happeed," Clifford Robinson said.

    Tom Gugliotta led Phoenix with 18 points. Kidd had 13 assists and 10 rebounds but just two points.

    Things went the Suns' way for the first 3 1/2 quarters, and a layup by Luc Longley with 7:19 left gave them a nine-point lead.

    But that would be Phoenix's last basket for the next 7:13 as New York went ahead on two baskets by Ewing, one each by Sprewell and Houston and a 3-pointer by Childs with 2:26 left for a 76-74 lead.

    After Kidd missed a 3-pointer, Childs calmly stepped up from 22 feet and hit another jumper to complete a 13-0 run and give New York a four-point lead.

    "We've gotten a few teams playing their best this year, Detroit when they came in here in January and had won six or seven in a row, they (Phoenix) had won eight," Ewing said. "This is as good as any other win we've had this year, certainly very good."

    The Suns led for almost the entire first half and only briefly surrendered the lead early in the third quarter when Ewing scored to give the Knicks a 43-42 lead. Phoenix immediately responded with an 8-0 run ending with a nifty no-look, backward bounce pass from Kidd to Longley for a layup.

    It took the Knicks the rest of the third quarter to pull back within two, but Phoenix scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter for a 71-60 lead, a run that ended with an alley-oop dunk by Shawn Marion off a pass from Penny Hardaway to put the Knicks back where they had been most of the night playing from behind.

    John Wallace scored the next five points and had a chance for more as he grabbed an offensive rebound under the basket, but as he went up to shoot Hardaway poked the ball free, leading to a baby hook by Longley at the other end for a nine-point lead.

    After that, the Suns couldn't score.

    "We didn't execute as well as we had in the win streak," Gugliotta said. "We made a lot of turnovers in crucial situations. We were making sloppy plays all night, and it affected us late in the game when we didn't correct it."

    Notes

  • A fan selected to shoot a halfcourt shot for $77,777 attempted it from his knees with his back facing the basket, throwing the ball backwards over his head. The ball hit the top of the backboard.
  • The Knicks began a stretch of three straight games on national television. The play Philadelphia on Sunday and Miami on Monday.
  • New York is 8-1 at home against Western Conference teams, the only loss coming to Denver on Dec. 5.
  • hoenix is 19-5 against teams from the East.

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