Chicago's two young players showed off their developing skills and their fresher legs, especially in the final minutes Saturday night, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 100-98 victory over the New York Knicks.
"I felt if I could come out and make my presence felt early, it would carry through the whole game. And it did,'' Curry said following his career-high 30-point performance.
"He's a beast down there. He's going to be a great player in this league,'' New York's Kurt Thomas said of the 6-foot-11, 285-pound Curry, who made the jump from the preps to the pros.
Curry shot 12-of-17 from the field with a variety of inside moves and also had nine rebounds. Crawford, his play improving since he replaced Jay Williams as the starting point guard eight games ago, finished with 22 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.
"I'm a work in progress,'' said Crawford. "I have a lot of room for growth. I still haven't played that much organized basketball. This is the most I've played in my life.''
The Knicks, trying to climb into the eighth playoff spot in the East, were playing their fourth game in five nights and shot only 39 percent with weary legs.
"If we want to catch up, we need to put a string of wins together,'' New York coach Don Chaney said. "This win one, lose one won't do it.''
Kurt Thomas led the Knicks with 20 points and Allan Houston had
19, including 10 in the fourth quarter. New York dropped three
games behind Milwaukee for eighth place in the East.
"We were playing against a very young team,'' Thomas said.
"They kept pounding the ball inside. Eddy got his confidence early
and got it rolling. He led them the whole night.''
The Knicks rallied in the fourth quarter but couldn't complete
Houston hit a 3-pointer with 3:19 left, Thomas had a basket and
then fed Clarence Weatherspoon for a dunk to cut the Bulls' led to
93-91 with 2:22 left. Houston scored again to keep New York within
two, but then Crawford made a nifty pass to Curry for a slam with
54 seconds left.
Thomas' follow made it 97-95, but again Crawford came through,
driving through the lane for a left-handed layup with 14.6 seconds
"I just wanted to create a shot or get fouled and finish,'' Crawford said.
Curry had 16 first-half points and Chicago led by as many as 14
before settling for a 56-49 advantage at the half.
Bulls forward Donyell Marshall left with 7:01 remaining in
the first quarter because of bruised ribs and did not return.
Marshall initially hurt his ribs in practice. He was replaced by
Eddie Robinson, who was activated Saturday from the injured list
... The wife of Bulls guard Fred Hoiberg delivered twins Friday
night. He was not with the team. ... Latrell Sprewell, the hero of
New York's victory over the Pistons on Friday night, managed just
seven points on 3-of-12 shooting. ... The Bulls are 22-12 at home.