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Finishing touch by Curry is key
Eddy Curry wants to be starting games, but Friday night he did something more important.
He finished one.
Involved in almost every big play down the stretch, Curry's 14 points and nine rebounds helped the Bulls deny the Knicks their first five-game winning streak in 34 months with a 104-99 victory.
The Bulls also received huge games from Jamal Crawford with 28 points, Kirk Hinrich with 19 and Antonio Davis with 14 points and 10 boards. Marcus Fizer contributed 10 points off the bench.
Curry entered with 2 minutes 57 seconds left in the game after Davis, who is probable for Saturday, tweaked his left knee. Twenty-two seconds later, Curry threw down a thunderous dunk for a 96-89 lead.
With 1:34 left, Curry stepped in front of a driving Keith Van Horn and took the hit, with one official calling a block and another a charge. A discussion led to a double foul and jump ball, which Curry won.
"That's the best play I've seen him make defensively in the month I've been here," coach Scott Skiles said.
Crawford drained a jumper at the other end to push the lead back to seven.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Van Horn and Charlie Ward sandwiched around a dubious three-second call on Corie Blount made it 98-97 with 43.8 seconds left.
But instead of folding, Curry fought, splitting two free throws after drawing a foul on a pretty screen-and-roll with Crawford. Curry then challenged Shandon Anderson's layup, which Crawford rebounded and followed with two free throws.
Ward's layup made it 101-99, but the Knicks were forced to foul Fizer, who hit 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch.
"Marcus was superb in practice [Thursday]," Skiles said. "When a guy practices like he did, I'm going to reward him and put him in the game."
The Knicks, playing without their starting backcourt of Frank Williams and Allan Houston, were led by Van Horn's 25 points.
"Whatever minutes I have, I'm trying to do something to be productive," Curry said. "Hopefully, I can work my way into the starting lineup."