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Knicks survive Hamilton's big night, beat Pistons in 3OT

NEW YORK (AP) -- The longer the game, the better the New York Knicks are.

The Knicks withstood their third overtime game in 10 days and their third this season of two or more overtimes, outlasting Richard Hamilton and the Detroit Pistons 151-145 on Wednesday night.

Channing Frye forced the third overtime with a buzzer-beating jumper, Jamal Crawford took over from there and the Knicks improved to 4-0 in OT this season.

Throw in a triple-overtime victory over Phoenix last January, and obviously the Knicks know what they're doing when the games drag past 48 minutes.

"We don't want to give Coach a heart attack, but we have shown we can win in these type of situations," Crawford said.

The Knicks overcame Hamilton's career-high 51 points, the first 50-point game against them since Michael Jordan accomplished the feat in 1997. They have won a pair of triple-overtime games this season, having beaten Memphis in their season opener.

Playing 55 minutes, Hamilton was 19-for-37 and made all 12 free throws in the first 50-point game by an opponent at Madison Square Garden since Jordan's famed 55-point night on March 28, 1995.

"Like they always say, New York is the Mecca of basketball," Hamilton said. "I read that in Michael Jordan books my whole life and I played here in the Big East tournament, so it's always fun to play in the Mecca of basketball."

Crawford finished with 29 points, nine in the third overtime. He carried the Knicks after Stephon Marbury fouled out with a season-high 41 points in the second extra period, leaving the already short-handed Knicks with only two available guards.

"Tonight we never thought we were going to lose," Marbury said. "We always knew we were going to win. We played well down the stretch and guys made plays when they were supposed to."

Eddy Curry scored 33 points and Frye added 26 for the Knicks. Crawford had a season-high 11 assists -- the final one setting up Frye's jumper at the end of the second OT.

The Knicks won a pair of OT thrillers last week, with Marbury beating Utah at the buzzer on Monday and David Lee's tip at the end of the second extra period knocking off Charlotte on Wednesday. But they played four times in six nights last week, sometimes with only eight players, and were worn out by a loss at Philadelphia on Saturday.

New York looked rejuvenated Wednesday, shooting 56 percent and ending Detroit's five-game winning streak.

"I gave them an A-plus plus," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "The Pistons are very good. They are playing at a very high level right now. Our guys were very resilient in terms of their fight. They just wouldn't quit, just wouldn't give up."

Curry's three-point play with 4:25 remaining in the third OT gave the Knicks the lead for good. Crawford followed with consecutive jumpers, and after Nazr Mohammed scored four straight points, Crawford made another jumper for a 146-143 lead with 1:10 to play.

He added a pair of free throws to keep the lead at three with 18 seconds to go, and the Knicks had it clinched after Hamilton missed on a drive and picked up a technical for arguing.

"It's tough," Hamilton said. "Tonight we had more than one opportunity to seal the game and we were just making bonehead moves down the stretch. We're better than that."

Hamilton scored Detroit's first eight points of the second OT, and when he finally missed, Mohammed put it back in for a 132-128 lead with 32 seconds remaining. But New York got a chance after Chauncey Billups made one of two free throws with 8.6 seconds left, and Frye hit a jumper from the right side as time expired.

The Pistons led by five after Hamilton's jumper with 2:17 left in the first overtime. Marbury tied it with three free throws after Billups fouled him behind the arc. Billups missed a 3 and Mohammed's follow just missed in the closing seconds.

Mohammed finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Billups had 17 points and 10 assists.

"We had them. We had them put away so many times," Billups said. "Missed free throw here, down three, three-point plays, it was crazy, man. But they showed a lot of resiliency. I'm sure they're happy with the win, very extremely happy beating us in a thriller like that."

The Knicks trailed by three with less than 90 seconds remaining in regulation before Marbury drove for a basket and set up Frye for the go-ahead jumper, giving New York a 112-111 lead with 59 seconds remaining.

Crawford made two free throws to make it 114-111 with 15 seconds left, and the lead was still three after Frye followed Tayshaun Prince's bucket with a pair of free throws. Carlos Delfino tied it with a 3-pointer with 5.3 seconds to play.

Marbury's 3-pointer at the buzzer put the Knicks ahead 61-60 at halftime. New York shot 62 percent (23-of-37) while scoring the most points allowed by the Pistons in the first half this season.

Game notes
After playing 11 of their last 13 games at home, the Knicks begin a five-game western trip Friday at Phoenix. ... Hamilton's previous career high was 44 vs. Cleveland on Nov. 28, 2003. ... With Jared Jeffries back, the only suspended players the Knicks are missing from the brawl with Denver are Mardy Collins and Nate Robinson. Collins will miss one more game, while Robinson has five more to go.