Free to be Spree

By salvaging his career, the Knicks star leads his league in paradoxes

There are 14 seconds left on the clock, and Latrell Sprewell has the basketball in his hands and Vince Carter in his face. It's the second game of the first-round playoff series between the New York Knicks and the Toronto Raptors. With the Knicks behind by a point, Sprewell gathers himself in the left corner, the seconds ticking down and the crowd noise building up. Then he springs toward the lane, pulls up and hits a silky six-footer that floats over Carter's head. New York wins 84-83 and, four nights later, terminates the Raptors in Toronto.

The Knicks-Raptors match-up was supposed...

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