NEW YORK (AP) _ It took 41 days for someone to beat the San Antonio Spurs, and the NBA Finals took on a whole different look when the New York Knicks did just that.

Behind 34 points from Allan Houston in one of the best games of his career, the Knicks defeated San Antonio 89-81 Monday night in Game 3 to cut their deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-7 series.

The Knicks never trailed, never let the Spurs' numerous comebacks rattle them and played what was easily their best all-around basketball of the series. It was San Antonio's first loss since Game 2 of the first round and ended the Spurs' NBA-record postseason winning streak at 12 games.

Game 4 is Wednesday night, and another victory by New York could make this once-lethargic, low-rated series as compelling as any.

To do so, the Knicks will need another night like the one they got from Houston _ an inspired display of clutch shooting, whether on jumpers, drives or foul shots.

Houston shot 10-for-24 from the field and 12-for-12 from the line as he tied his career playoff high. Latrell Sprewell added 24 and Larry Johnson had 16 for the Knicks, who have played their best all season just when things have looked most bleak.