What a difference two weeks make.
It's been two weeks since New York coach Isiah Thomas decreed that he didn't think his point guard was worthy of starting. Now, he can't stop gushing about him.
Stephon Marbury continued his turnaround with a season-high 28 points, and the New York Knicks beat the Utah Jazz 113-109 on Monday night.
``I thought Marbury was great,'' Thomas said. ``His leadership throughout the game, during the course of the game, his decision-making, his defense, his shot-making ability. Just from start to finish he was great.
``Overall a good team effort, but No. 3 was really good tonight.''
Marbury was still hearing pregame boos along with Thomas after ditching the team for a game in Phoenix when the coach told him of plans to remove him from the starting lineup. Marbury regained his starting spot last week, and on Monday he keyed one of the Knicks' best offensive performances of the season.
Thomas stressed it was his disappointment in Marbury's defense and leadership that led to the demotion, but Marbury has shown his offense is rounding into shape. He scored 19 points Saturday against Chicago, and followed that by going 9-for-14 and making all three 3-pointers Monday.
``When I have the ball more and I'm able to create and make plays, I can get into a nice flow,'' Marbury said. ``Coming into this year I was trying to pick up from last year from the end of the season, but that didn't happen. But with time, everything might happen. The season is still young, it's November. I'm not panicking at all. I'm not worried, I have no worries as far as how I'm going to play.''
In other NBA games, it was: Washington 110, Dallas 98; Sacramento 112, San Antonio 99; Golden State 129, Phoenix 114; Minnesota 103, New Orleans 94; Orlando 85, Portland 74; and Houston 88, Los Angeles Clippers 71.
Zach Randolph had 25 points and 14 rebounds. Jamal Crawford added 22 points for the Knicks, who have won two in a row following an eight-game losing streak. Randolph, who grabbed a huge offensive rebound in the final seconds, has eight double-doubles in the 10 games he has played this season.
``Right now we feel like we beat anybody,'' Randolph said. ``We got a lot of talent in here and guys have got to be ready to play. Like I said to the guys, when we compete we can play with anybody in this league. I really mean that.''
Carlos Boozer scored 16 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, but the Jazz had their three-game winning streak snapped. Deron Williams added 26 points and eight assists for Utah, which played Sunday in Detroit and seemed a step slow on defense, allowing the Knicks to shoot 53 percent from the field.
``I didn't think our energy was as high as it should've been,'' Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. ``Even though we played yesterday afternoon, that shouldn't have been a problem at all. We didn't seem to have tremendous energy to try and stop them.''
Wizards 110, Mavericks 98
At Dallas, Caron Butler scored 35 points and Antawn Jamison added 27 to help Washington hand Dallas its first home loss of the season and third straight overall.
Dallas, which started the season 6-0 at home, got 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists from Dirk Nowitzki.
The Mavericks, who lost their third straight to an Eastern Conference opponent, converted all 29 free-throw attempts for a club record, breaking the previous mark of 27 set in February 2002 against New Jersey.
Last season the Mavericks went 27-3 against the East.
Kings 112, Spurs 99
At Sacramento, Calif., Beno Udrih scored a career-high 27 points against his former team and Sacramento snapped San Antonio's five-game winning streak.
Ron Artest added 20 points and Brad Miller had 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Udrih was 8-for-12 from the field and made all nine of his free throws.
Tony Parker scored 12 points on 5-for-13 shooting and Tim Duncan had 15 points and five rebounds in just the third loss this season for San Antonio.
Warriors 129, Suns 114
At Oakland, Calif., Monta Ellis scored 15 consecutive points in the fourth quarter and matched his career high with 31 points and Golden State snapped Phoenix's eight-game winning streak.
Stephen Jackson scored a season-high 32 points in his first home appearance of the season, and Baron Davis had 28 points, 10 assists and six rebounds in Golden State's sixth victory in seven games following an 0-6 start.
The Warriors returned from a highly successful East Coast trip that included four wins in five games over seven days.
Steve Nash had 23 points and 13 assists for Phoenix, which lost for the first time since Nov. 7. Amare Stoudemire and Grant Hill both scored 17 points for the Suns.
Timberwolves 103, Hornets 94
At New Orleans, Marko Jaric scored 21 points and Minnesota got its second victory of the season.
Sebastian Telfair scored 20 points for the Timberwolves, while fellow reserve Antoine Walker scored 17, hitting three 3-pointers and following his own miss for a key basket with 1:04 to go to stifle New Orleans' last-gasp rally.
Chris Paul scored 31 points to lead New Orleans.
Magic 85, Trail Blazers 74
At Portland, Ore., Hedo Turkoglu scored 21 points and Rashard Lewis had 20 and Orlando became the first NBA team to win 13 games this season.
Dwight Howard, the Magic's leading scorer, was just 4-for-10 from the field and had nine points and 14 rebounds.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points for the Blazers.
Rockets 88, Clippers 71
At Los Angeles, Tracy McGrady scored 19 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter and Houston capitalized on another key injury for Los Angeles.
Rafer Alston added 17 points for the Rockets, who have consecutive wins following a six-game losing streak, and have beaten the Clippers four straight times at Staples Center. Yao Ming had 14 points and eight rebounds.

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