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Mario Hezonja

Mar 17, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) blocks Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) shot at the buzzer in the Knicks 124-123 victory at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Mar 17, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) blocks Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) shot at the buzzer in the Knicks 124-123 victory at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

With the game on the line, the Lakers put the ball in LeBron James' hands.

And Knicks forward Mario Hezonja stopped him.

Hezonja blocked James' 13-foot driving shot with 2.3 seconds left to seal the Knicks' 124-123 win over Los Angeles on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, Mario Hezonja
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New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay, forward Mario Hezonja and center DeAndre Jordan celebrate the Knicks' 124-123 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden. (Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay, forward Mario Hezonja and center DeAndre Jordan celebrate the Knicks' 124-123 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden. (Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)

The Knicks and Lakers both entered Sunday's game stumbling toward the finish line but it was New York that snapped its eight-game losing streak in dramatic fashion, closing the game on a 13-1 run for a 124-123 come-from-behind win over LeBron James and the Lakers. >> Box score

Things to know about Sunday's game

1. Mario Hezonja was the unlikely hero for the Knicks. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, James drove to the basket on Hezonja but the 24-year-old guard stayed with him and stuffed him from getting the final shot off to secure the victory for the Knicks. 

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, Mario Hezonja
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Nov 24, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Knicks color commentator and former player Walt Frazier broadcasts prior to a game between the New York Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)
Nov 24, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Knicks color commentator and former player Walt Frazier broadcasts prior to a game between the New York Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)

LeBron James got himself a new public dissenter Sunday during the Knicks' 128-127 dramatic victory over the Lakers at Madison Square garden: Knicks legend and MSG color commentator Walt "Clyde" Frazier

The gregarious analyst began his tear into James during a timeout in which the superstar was not congregating with teammates and plopped himself on the far end of the bench. 

"This type of behavior is not -- when you're the face of the NBA, I think you should be more a part of your team, folks," Frazier said. "No matter what is going on, in the public, you got to be a part of the team. Maybe in the locker room you're not, but you have to exude that type of togetherness in public, folks. And right now we see he doesn't really care."

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Mar 9, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) controls the ball against Sacramento Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox (5) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Mar 9, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) controls the ball against Sacramento Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox (5) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Knicks will be without Dennis Smith Jr. for Friday's game against the San Antonio Spurs. 

The 21-year-old point guard was added to the injury report on Thursday with a sore lower back but there is no indication that the injury is serious. 

Emmanuel Mudiay is expected to get the start at point guard in place of Smith while Kadeem Allen was recalled from the G-League to join the team in San Antonio. 

Tags: Emmanuel Mudiay, Mario Hezonja
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Oct 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) leaps for a dunk in the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Oct 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) leaps for a dunk in the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Mario Hezonja's brief tenure as a Knick has been mostly underwhelming, but the 6-foot-8 Croatian does not plan finishing out the 2018-19 season on a selfish note.

With free agency pending for the 2015 fifth overall pick, he was adamant that he will not hog all of the shots down the stretch to boost his stats and perhaps give himself more opportunities this summer. 

I don't give a s--t that I'm a free agent,'' Hezonja told Marc Berman of the New York Post. "I'm trying to help these guys as well. I don't give a sh-t about myself. I'll be fine. Trust me. I'll be fine. With my basketball skill, talent and abilities, I'll always be fine. I just want to help these guys with stuff I've been through in my career in both Europe and here."

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Oct 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) leaps for a dunk in the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Oct 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) leaps for a dunk in the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Knicks forward Mario Hezonja told the New York Post on Tuesday that he needs to "definitely work more for my teammates."

But the question for coach David Fizdale remains: Where?

"I think I'm falling into the same things that other coaches have tried to find: What is he?" Fizdale told the Post. "What spot is best on the floor for him? Can he handle playing the four and the two from a position-less standpoint? Or does he just need to be slotted?"

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Oct 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) leaps for a dunk in the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Oct 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) leaps for a dunk in the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Clarence who?

That was the message from Mario Hezonja after former Knicks executive Clarence Gaines Jr. ripped the small forward's defense on Twitter prior to Monday night's 124-113 loss to the Bucks.

Hezonja said he was unaware of the criticism, which he answered (unknowingly, of course) with a strong, 18-point performance while going up against Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

"I don't know who Gaines is,'' Hezonja said, per the New York Post.

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