Weekly lineup

  Wednesday, Jan. 19 7:30pm ET
Ward, Childs lead Knicks

NEW YORK (AP) -- A year older and a year wiser, Stephon Marbury refused to say anything negative after the game about Charlie Ward or Chris Childs.

Stephon Marbury
Chris Childs, left, and Allan Houston stymied Stephon Marbury on his last-second drive to the hoop.

Good thing, too, since it would have been bad form to bash the duo again -- especially with the way Ward and Childs held their own against one of their most outspoken detractors.

Ward had 19 points, seven assists and no turnovers, and Childs played superb defense against Marbury on the game's final play as the New York Knicks defeated the New Jersey Nets 90-89 Wednesday night.

It was the third straight win for the Knicks, who emerged victorious from a back-and-forth final five minutes after squandering yet another double-digit lead in the final quarter.

And it was especially sweet for Ward and Childs, whose talents were publicly questioned by Marbury twice last season after his teams lost to the Knicks -- once while he was with the Timberwolves and once after he was traded to the Nets.

"Last year is over," Childs said. "Marbury is a good player. He's competitive and wants to win. And when you lose, you say things that maybe you don't think out first. But bygones are bygones."

New Jersey had a chance to win on the final play, but Marbury flung up a hapless airball with one second left while looking for a foul call. Childs, in the game after Ward fouled out, stuck with Marbury the entire play as the Nets point guard drove to his left from near midcourt and penetrated the lane.

Allan Houston reached in and got a hand on the ball moments before Marbury released a shot that went straight up in the air, missing the backboard and rim by several feet.

Marbury, who led the Nets with 23 points and 10 assists, stood on the baseline with his hands on his hips as the game ended.

"No comment," Marbury said when asked if he was fouled.

Said Childs: "He was low, I got low, and at the end when he took that last step, he ducked his shoulder in to draw a foul like a good basketball player should. Fortunately, for us, the call wasn't made. If we were over in Jersey, who knows?"

Houston and Latrell Sprewell scored 17 apiece for the Knicks, Patrick Ewing added 12 points and 14 rebounds and Larry Johnson scored 10.

Ward hit a 3-pointer to give the Knicks a 78-66 lead with 9:08 left, but the Nets worked their way back as Scott Burrell hit three 3-pointers in the final seven minutes.

A 3-pointer by Keith Van Horn tied it at 84-all with 3:30 left, and the Nets went ahead 87-86 on Burrell's 3 with 2:11 left.

Sprewell made two free throws, Kendall Gill hit a jumper and Ewing scored on a turnaround jumper from the baseline to give the Knicks a 90-89 lead going into the final minute.

Van Horn and Ewing each missed jumpers, and the Nets called timeout with 6.1 seconds left to set up the final play.

The Nets coaches told the team that their only option was to inbound to Marbury, who freed himself from two defenders to get the ball before failing to hit the biggest shot of the night.

"I'm not happy with a comeback unless we win," Marbury said. "It's very frustrating losing these last three games in the final minute."

Game notes
New Jersey shot just 1-for-20 in the second quarter. ... Ward got a nice ovation after fouling out with 2:19 left. ... Grant Hill of the Detroit Pistons had a front-row seat. His team plays the Nets on Thursday night in New Jersey. ... The Knicks have won five straight and 10 of 11 against the Nets at Madison Square Garden. ... Johnson played in his 600th career game.

NBA Scoreboard

New Jersey Clubhouse

New York Clubhouse

Boston 94
Toronto 90

Indiana 106
Milwaukee 84

Philadelphia 107
Atlanta 89

Dallas 104
Washington 86

New York 90
New Jersey 89

Charlotte 96
Chicago 86

Portland 105
San Antonio 95

Minnesota 91
Utah 88

LA Lakers 95
Cleveland 86

 Latrell Sprewell finishes strong on the fast break.
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