Knicks Stop Bucks In OT


Once again, Latrell Sprewell and Marcus Camby showed the Knicks why Ernie Grunfeld brought them to New York.

Sprewell hit a tying 3-pointer with 7.9 seconds left in regulation and Camby had 23 points and 13 rebounds Monday night in a 111-101 overtime victory over Grunfeld's new team, the Milwaukee Bucks.

"He's responsible for Marcus and I being here and for us playing so well right now," said Sprewell, who scored 11 of his 21 points in a five-minute span of the fourth quarter and overtime. "It's all because of him. So it was good to do it with him here."

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  • Grunfeld, who traded for Camby and Sprewell when he was New York's general manager, was fired in April after spending 18 years in the Knicks organization.

    Grunfeld and coach Jeff Van Gundy had a power struggle last season over the coach's use of Camby, who was acquired for Charles Oakley, one of Van Gundy's favorite players.

    "It's been way overdone," Van Gundy said of the talk about a feud between the two. "We were together for 10 years and had a lot of success in those years."

    Grunfeld was also diplomatic about his relationship with Van Gundy and MSG president Dave Checketts, who fired him.

    "I had some great years in New York, and I am very proud of what I accomplished there and the friends I made," Grunfeld said.

    The Knicks, who were 21-21 at the time of Grunfeld's firing, went on to the NBA Finals, where they lost in five games to the Spurs.

    Sprewell and Camby, who helped key the playoff run that saved Van Gundy's job, were instrumental in New York's comeback from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

    Camby, who turned his ankle midway through the quarter, had eight points in the fourth and was a force on the defensive end, blocking shots and soaring for rebounds.

    "He's much more aggressive than last year," New York's Chris Childs said. "Last year when he missed a shot he would get down on himself. Now he sprints back and tries to make up for it on the defensive end."

    Sprewell took over down the stretch, scoring the final five points to send the game to overtime.

    The Knicks trailed 97-92 with 55 seconds left in regulation when he drove to the baseline and drew a foul on Ervin Johnson. Sprewell made both shots to make it a three-point game.

    After a miss by J.R. Reid, Allan Houston misfired on a 3-pointer from straightaway. Johnson tried to save the ball for Milwaukee, but threw it right to Charlie Ward.

    "It was a bad decision on my part," Johnson said. "I didn't want the ball to go out of bounds. I didn't realize who I threw the ball to do. It was a bad mistake on my part."

    Ward dribbled behind the 3-point line, then fed Sprewell, who hit from the right wing to tie it. Sprewell leapt into the air and then ran into Patrick Ewing's arms at the Knicks bench after hitting his first 3 in six attempts this season.

    "At that point, I'm not thinking about the shots I had missed," Sprewell said. "I just wanted to knock it down."

    Sprewell, who also had seven rebounds and five assists, then hit a jumper to open the overtime and Camby soared in for a finger roll to give New York a 103-97 lead, capping an 11-0 run.

    After two jumpers by Danny Manning, Camby grabbed an offensive rebound and Sprewell hit another jumper. Camby then blocked his sixth shot and Sprewell hit two free throws to make it 107-101.

    "I told the guys we had come too far to lose this game in overtime," Sprewell said. "There was no way we were going to let this game get away."

    Allan Houston led the Knicks with 30 points and Kurt Thomas added 13 and 11 rebounds in place of the injured Larry Johnson.

    Glenn Robinson scored 23 to lead the Bucks, who were the last team in the Eastern Conference to lose a game.

    "All we needed to do was deliver some knockout blows, but instead we just gave the ball away in the fourth quarter and they hit their free throws," Milwaukee's Ray Allen said.

    Notes

  • Sam Cassell won the Player of the Week after averaging 29.0 points and 9.0 assists in Milwaukee's three wins.
  • Johnson said his stiff back was making progress and he expects to be back Thursday.
  • Tim Thomas missed the game for the Bucks with a sprained right ankle.
  • Michael Jordan sat courtside and got a standing ovation from the New York crowd.
  • Milwaukee's J.R. Reid committed three illegal defenses in the first 10 minutes.

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