<
>

Marbury tallies 29 points, nine assists

2/28/2004

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Bobby Simmons did for the Los Angeles
Clippers what Kurt Thomas couldn't do for the New York Knicks --
make a clutch jumper with the game on the line.

Simmons hit go-ahead 19-footer with 21.3 seconds remaining and
Quentin Richardson scored 23 points as the Clippers extended the
New York Knicks' losing streak to five games with a 96-94 victory
Friday night.

Elton Brand had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who
had lost seven of their previous nine games.

Chris Wilcox made one of two free throws with 51 seconds left
before Simmons made the eventual game-winner from the right of the
key. Coach Mike Dunleavy sent in Simmons to replace Corey Maggette
for defensive purposes just 30 seconds earlier.

"I'm not sure what Mike had in store for me, but we knew that
they were going to go small and that they were going to have Tim
Thomas at the power forward position," Simmons said. "He was
posing up the whole game, so the one thing I didn't want him to do
was let him catch the ball in order to have an attempt at the
basket."

Kurt Thomas missed a medium-range jumper with five seconds left,
and Richardson made one of two free throws before Thomas shot an
airball from 17 feet just before the final buzzer. The Knicks had
only one field goal in the final 9:12.

The Knicks, who already have used a franchise-record 21 players
this season, had their 18th different starting lineup as coach
Lenny Wilkens had Kurt Thomas at center. But he picked up two fouls
in the first 1{ minutes and was a non-factor the rest of the game,
finishing with four points in 16 minutes after getting his fourth
foul just 3:20 into the second half.

"I couldn't get into a rhythm because of the foul trouble, but
my teammates kept fighting and got back into the game," said
Thomas, who had 344 fouls last season. "It came down to the end,
and I couldn't make a shot. They were pretty good looks, but
because of the fact that I wasn't in my rhythm and didn't have my
legs under me from sitting on the bench pretty much the whole
game."

The Knicks scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter
to take an 85-83 lead -- their first since the first quarter. The
lead changed hands three more times before Tim Thomas, who missed
most of Wednesday night's game at Phoenix because of a
hyperextended right elbow, sank two free throws with 1:13 to play
for a 94-92 edge.

"It was sore and it still is, but it's nothing that I can't
play through," he said after scoring 22 points. "I just kept
fighting and kept playing. I know it's going to be sore the rest of
the season, but it's something that I'll just have to deal with."

Stephon Marbury had 28 points and nine assists for New York,
which is 10-10 since Wilkens replaced Don Chaney as head coach.

Dikembe Mutombo reported in for the first time with 6:19 left in
the third quarter and New York trailing 74-63. He made a layup and
grabbed three rebounds to help close the gap to four.

Nazr Mohammed, playing his fifth game since the three-way deal
that brought him to the Knicks from Atlanta on Feb. 15, eclipsed
his season high in rebounds in the first half with 11. He finished
with 12.

The Clippers used 17 points from Richardson and 14 from Maggette
to take a 62-55 halftime lead, their most productive first half of
the season. Tim Thomas had 15 points in the half to match Marbury's
total.

Game notes
A third straight season out of the playoffs would match the
Knicks' longest drought since a seven-year stretch that ended in
1967 -- Willis Reed's third season with the club. "I think that we
have a great chance to make the playoffs," Mutombo said. "All we
have to do is go out there as players and try to compete ...
regardless of the decisions the coaches are making now. That's how
I'm looking at it right now. I'm not worrying about Mutombo not
starting no more." ... Allan Houston, the only Knick to start all
82 games last season, sat out his 13th straight game with an
injured left knee. The two-time All-Star has missed 19 games this
season, matching the total he missed during his first 10 NBA
campaigns.