SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Snubbed for last week's Eastern Conference Player of the Week award, Allan Houston is making a compelling case for this week's.
Houston scored 16 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter as the New York Knicks rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit to defeat the San Antonio Spurs, 105-97.
"He was unbelievable carrying this team and stepping up big-time," Knicks coach Don Chaney said.
Allen Iverson won the most recent Eastern Conference Player of the Week award despite Houston's stellar recent play, including a 50-point outburst against Milwaukee on Sunday.
"Over a stretch of games I haven't seen him play this well," Knicks forward Latrell Sprewell said of Houston. "He's in the zone."
The victory snapped the Spurs' six-game winning streak and moved the Knicks within two games of Milwaukee and Washington, which are tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
"Tonight was a big win for us," Houston said. "This felt like a playoff game."
The Knicks trailed, 63-48, 3 1/2 minutes into the second half and 78-69 entering the fourth quarter.
But after Tim Duncan made two free throws to give the Spurs an 82-76 advantage with 8:35 left, Michael Doleac countered with a jump shot and Houston nailed a hanging jumper and back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Knicks an 86-82 lead with 4:51 to play.
Houston capped a 17-3 run with another 3-pointer to make it 93-85 with 3:11 left. The Spurs got no closer than five points down the stretch.
"Allan was on fire," said San Antonio's Malik Rose, who started his sixth straight game in place of the injured David Robinson. "He has been shooting the ball well all year and he really hurt us tonight."
Houston shot 14-of-22, including 6-of-9 from the arc. In his last two games, he is 27-of-47 overall and 12-of-23 from 3-point range.
"The guys did a great job getting me open, the other guys made shots and were able to get me open," Houston said. "If I can get to my spots I feel comfortable, and sometimes when it's going good you can hit those shots."
"He got a really hot hand and just shot the ball extremely well," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We did everything from trapping him off the ball and doubling him, but he was on fire."
The Knicks connected on 12-of-20 shots in the final 12 minutes and held the Spurs to just 5-of-21 as they swept their season series. New York edged San Antonio at home, 96-95, on December 30.
Duncan, who was questionable before the game after spraining his right ankle against Chicago on Sunday, scored 27 points but went only 9-of-15 from the free-throw line.
"I went through a little workout this afternoon and it felt really good," Duncan said. "I wanted to come out tonight and test it. It felt fine and I wasn't bothered with it."
Tony Parker added 21 points for San Antonio, which made only 22-of-35 free throws. New York went 14-of-15 from the line.
"We struggled down the stretch with our offense," Popovich said. "Good production from the line tonight definitely makes a game like this closer and possibly allows us to get ahead, but we just didn't get the production we wanted tonight, not just from the line but in general."
The Spurs had won eight of their last nine contests at the SBC Center and had gone 12-0 against Eastern Conference teams at home this season.
"New York played great and deserved that game," Popovich said. "They really stuck with their offensive game plan and came out to play. They played very hard and did what they could down the stretch to win."
"Tonight we got it done and hopefully we're moving in the right direction," said Sprewell, sho scored 17 points despite shooting just 4-of-14. "We played solidly tonight defensively, we took care of the ball. Everyone on the floor did something well for us tonight, which is what you ahve to do to win big ballgames. We just have to stay focused on the games ahead."