Spree, Knicks Slay Warriors

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Latrell Sprewell wanted to "crush" the Golden State Warriors, and he let his teammates in on his bitter reunion with P.J. Carlesimo.

Sprewell, eating up the boos and rebuking those who jeered, scored 14 points and kept up a steady supply of chest-bumping and hand-slapping encouragement for teammates as the New York Knicks beat the Golden State Warriors 86-79 Saturday night.

"It was about winning," Sprewell said. "It was what I expected. I could have played better, but as long as we won, it's OK. I've heard it all before. There's nothing original. It's pretty much the same old stuff."

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  • Near the end of the game, a group of fans began a derisive chant about Sprewell, and he answered them moments later, driving past Chris Mills for an emphatic dunk and running by the Warriors bench in celebration.

    "That was the highlight of my night," Sprewell said. "I didn't say anything. I just wanted to show them I was here, make a little bit of eye contact with everybody on the team."

    Sprewell was taken out of the game with less than a minute to play after he and Mills got technical fouls for shoving each other. Sprewell pointed to the scoreboard while sitting on the bench as the chanting continued.

    The tension-filled game marked the first meeting between Sprewell and Carlesimo since the star guard choked his former coach in a burst of anger at a Warriors practice two years ago. And it's evident they are still worlds apart and apparently will remain so.

    Carlesimo had expressed hopes of shaking hands with Sprewell during pregame introductions in order to bring some closure to the episode.

    But Sprewell stayed by the Knicks' basket and the Warriors coach, who drew a smattering of boos himself during hs introduction, was left standing by himself at midcourt. He returned to the bench for the start of the game.

    "There's no obligation on his part to do that," Carlesimo said afterward. "If the opportunity was there, yeah, I would have been happy to shake his hand. But it's not like he didn't do the right thing."

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    Latrell Sprewell and the Knicks beat Golden State 86-79.(AP)
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  • Sprewell said this week he hoped to "crush" the Warriors on his return. He continues to believe he was mistreated by Carlesimo and the Warriors organization, which he said ignored his complaints about his overbearing coaching style.

    Before the game, Sprewell, was greeted by cheers, applause and chants of "Spree!, Spree!" upon taking the floor Saturday night for pregame warmups. But he ignored a child who sought his autograph by dangling his old Golden State Warriors jersey over a railing.

    Then, he got in a brief shouting match with a heckler who came to courtside and yelled repeatedly, "Spree, who are you going to sue now?"

    Sprewell stopped taking his practice shots for a moment, turned toward the heckler and told the fan to shut up and used an expletive.

    Security guards escorted the heckler away from courtside and other fans shouted him down, one yelling, "Don't worry about it, Spree. Go for 40 tonight."

    Sprewell took the game's first shot and missed badly, with one fan yelling "Nice shot, Spree!" Fans booed each time Sprewell touched the ball.

    But Sprewell shook off the mixed reception as well as aggressive double teams by the Warriors and helped the Knicks break on top early with an 18-3 run at the end of the first quarter during which he handed out three assists.

    After consecutive follow slams by Chris Dudley, Sprewell bumped chests with him and ran over to Charlie Ward to pat him on the back after he hit a 3-pointer.

    Near the end of the game, Adonal Foyle fouled him on a drive to the basket and the crowd began roaring as Sprewell went to the foul line.

    Sprewell, acquired in a January trade that sent Mills, John Starks and Terry Cummings to Golden State, waved his hands and the roar of boos and cheers became crescendo.

    Then he calmly made the second free throw after missing the first as the Knicks used a strong finish to win their fourth straight in Oakland.

    Houston scored 24 to lead the Knicks. Donyell Marshall had 19 points for the Warriors and Mills finished with 17.

    Notes

  • Knicks forward Larry Johnson missed his second straight game with back spasms.
  • Chris Childs turned 32 Saturday.
  • The Knicks are 5-5 in back-to-back games
  • Golden State is 2-3 since an 0-4 start.
  • This was the first game for Starks against his former Knicks team. He spent eight years in New York, earning a trip to the All-Star game and the NBA's Sixth Man Award along the way.

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