Curry bounces back with 23 points as Knicks top Nets

NEW YORK (AP) -- Eddy Curry knew he had to start playing better before his team could.

Curry scored 23 points, a night after hitting rock bottom during a scoring slump, and the New York Knicks beat the New Jersey Nets 94-86 on Saturday night to snap a five-game losing streak.

Jamal Crawford led New York with a season-high 32 points. Zach Randolph added 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks, who had fallen into a tie for last place in the Eastern Conference.

"I was mad at myself," Curry said. "I felt like I was letting my team down every time we lost. I'd look at the boxscore and just the way that I felt after the game, I felt like I could have did more and if I could have just did a little bit, we could probably have won some games."

It was a rare victory for the Knicks in what has been a one-sided series between cross-river rivals. New Jersey had won six straight in New York, with the Knicks' last home victory coming March 19, 2004.

But the biggest development was the rediscovery of Curry's offensive touch. The 6-foot-11 center was scoreless in 13 minutes Friday night at Chicago, his first game without a point since Jan. 29, 2003.

"Last night was probably the lowest that I've been in a long time, just as far as emotionally and just not satisfied with myself at all," said Curry, who said he had a talk with coach Isiah Thomas on the plane ride back from his hometown. "So I knew tonight it was going to be a good night for me."

Curry had been held in single digits in six of the previous nine games, dropping his scoring average to 14.3, but bounced back by going 9-of-16 from the field and grabbing nine rebounds.

"I thought Eddy's aggressiveness at the start of the game, it really propelled the team," Thomas said. "I thought his attitude and his approach to the game really gave the team a lot of confidence. I thought we really fed off the way he started the game."

Vince Carter scored 32 points for the Nets, who lost for the fifth time in six games. They are 0-2 against the Knicks this season and fell to 19-3 against New York in the regular season with Jason Kidd in the lineup.

"Both teams played last night," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "With the exception of a couple of segments, we looked pretty much stuck in the mud."

Kidd missed the first meeting with a migraine, which sparked reports that he was sitting out the game to force the Nets to give him a contract extension or trade him. New Jersey isn't interested in making a deal yet, hoping it could turn things around after a disappointing start.

But one night after an impressive performance in a 105-77 victory over Cleveland, the Nets' offensive struggles returned. The Nets still haven't won games on back-to-back nights this season.

"That's the question we are all trying to find," Kidd said. "We had a great effort from everybody last night and we just couldn't carry it over to tonight."

Kidd had 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Leading scorer Richard Jefferson added 14 points but shot just 7-of-21.

The Knicks led throughout the entire second half, building a comfortable lead by going 10-of-15 from the field in the third quarter. That included Crawford's bucket from just inside halfcourt to beat the buzzer, sending New York to the final period ahead 70-62.

The Knicks again were without starting point guard Stephon Marbury, who missed his fourth straight game as he deals with the death of his father. Another starter, Quentin Richardson, rejoined the lineup after missing a game because of a strained right knee.

New Jersey was missing key reserve Bostjan Nachbar, who sprained his right ankle when Cleveland's Anderson Varejao banged into it late in Friday's victory.

New Jersey scored the final seven points of the first quarter to grab a 24-18 lead. Crawford scored 10 points in the second period, helping the Knicks rally for a 40-38 halftime edge.

Game notes
With Nachbar's absence, only Jefferson and Jason Collins have played in every game this season for the Nets. ... Randolph has four straight double-doubles and 13 this season. ... Even with the Knicks' comfortably ahead, a group of fans started chanting "Fire Isiah!" in the closing minutes.