NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Knicks went into the NBA record
books Thursday night for their defense. Because of their offense,
they lost the game.
Cuttino Mobley drove around Latrell Sprewell for a layup with
8.7 seconds left to complete a game-ending 7-0 run as the Houston
Rockets took advantage of a horrible offensive collapse by New York
to defeat the Knicks 76-75.
"We deserved to lose," coach Jeff Van Gundy said.
The Knicks failed to score over the final 3:20 and had to
improvise their final shot after Allan Houston failed to run into
the backcourt to receive an inbound pass. Houston later admitted
that he was unaware of a rule change effective this season that
allows players to go into the backcourt to receive the ball when
it's inbounded from midcourt.
Instead, Larry Johnson got the ball and missed an 18-footer just
before the final buzzer.
The Knicks held their opponent under 100 points for the 29th
consecutive time, breaking the record set by the Fort Wayne Pistons
in 1954, but it was of little consolation as they had their winning
streak snapped at seven games.
"I don't care if those guys have the record, that's not the
issue. The issue is winning the game," Rockets coach Rudy
Tomjanovich said. "It shows that you never give up. If you do the
right things on the court, it doesn't matter who the other guys
are, what their record is, how much money they make. If you do the
right things, you can win a game."
The Rockets, who improved to 9-1 against teams from the Eastern
Conference, were ecstatic at the buzzer. Tomjanovich ran onto the
court and hugged Mobley, while Steve Francis -- who had 22 points,
nine assists and eight rebounds -- jumped over the scorer's table on
his way to the locker room.
Shandon Anderson had 17 points and Mobley 16 for the Rockets,
who hoisted up 30 3-pointers and made 12.
Johnson had 18 points and Houston added 13 for the Knicks, who
missed their final six shots. Latrell Sprewell shot just 1-for-11,
while Charlie Ward was 1-for-6 and Erick Strickland was 2-for-9. As
a team, New York shot 31 percent.
The Knicks led for almost the entire game, falling behind for
less than two minutes midway through the third quarter before
closing the quarter with a 10-3 run to take a 60-55 lead into the
New York's lead reached 10 when Johnson converted a three-point
play with just under six minutes left to make it 73-63, but the
Knicks then went into a drought and made only one field goal the
rest of the way -- a jumper by Houston with 3:21 left that made it
The Rockets scored their next five points from the foul line,
but Mobley, Francis and Anderson each missed a free throw in the
final 2 1/2 minutes.
Anderson's free throw with 45.7 seconds left pulled Houston to
75-74, and Houston missed on a drive with 20 seconds left. The
Rockets rebounded and called timeout, then isolated Mobley against
Sprewell on the right side for the game-winning basket.
"We were late on our help, that's what it comes down to,"
Houston said. "We weren't there to help soon enough, and on a key
play like that everyone has to be on the same page."
Johnson tried to draw a foul on the final shot, but Maurice
Taylor avoided committing one despite leaving his feet on a
"It was probably a no-call," Johnson said.
|The Knicks' Charlie Ward blankets the Rockets' Steve Francis in the first period.|
The Rockets were called for nine offensive fouls. ... The
Rockets had lost their previous five regular-season games at
Madison Square Garden. ... The Knicks dropped to 8-5 against teams
from the West. Their next two games are against Portland and San
Antonio. ... The Rockets improved to 7-1 on Thursdays and won for
just the second time in 16 games when trailing entering the fourth
New York Clubhouse
Golden State 96
New Jersey 87
New York 75
Rudy Tomjanovich Official Site