Originally created 04/27/97

Knicks take 2-0 lead vs. Hornets



NEW YORK - Three quarters of Rice and one quarter of slop was a recipe that didn't work out well for the Charlotte Hornets.

The New York Knicks withstood 39 points from Glen Rice and held the injury-depleted and bumbling Hornets without a field goal for more than 8« minutes of the fourth quarter Saturday for a 100-93 victory.

It gave New York a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series, which moves to Charlotte for Game 3 on Monday night.

"We're beating ourselves," said Rice, who had only six points in the final 12 minutes after scoring 33 in the first three quarters. "We made a lot of mistakes on the offensive end, we didn't take care of the ball and we didn't play as aggressive as we're capable of late in the game."

Patrick Ewing led New York with 30 points on 15-for-21 shooting with six rebounds and three blocks. Chris Childs added 17, including three straight jumpers late in the fourth that helped New York wrap it up.

"He was open three times in a row because we had poor rotation on defense," Rice said, "but we didn't think he would continue to knock them down like he did."

"We did a good job shutting down Allan Houston and John Starks, but not Childs," Tony Delk said. "Still, we'd rather have him taking those shots than anyone else."

The Knicks, who shot 58.4 percent in Game 1, almost matched it by shooting 56.4 percent in Game 2. Starks added 14 points and Houston 12 to help New York to a 45-29 edge in backcourt scoring.

The Knicks also shot better than the Hornets from 3-point range, going 7-for-19 to Charlotte's 3-for-16.

Delk, starting at point guard in place of Muggsy Bogues, had 15 points. Vlade Divac had 14 points and 12 rebounds and Anthony Mason had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

New York also overcame a huge disparity in free throw attempts and accuracy. The Knicks were just 5-of-13 from the line, not even matching Rice's attempts. He went 15-for-17 as part of Charlotte's 24-for-31 effort, but it wasn't enough.

Rice was having his way through the first three quarters. He scored 10 points in each of the first two quarters and 13 in the third on 5-for-5 shooting to lead the Hornets to an 81-79 lead entering the fourth.

But that's when everything stopped working for Charlotte.

After Mason gave Charlotte an 83-81 lead with 11:06 left, the Hornets committed six turnovers and missed all their field goal attempts until Rice scored on a jumper with 2:28 left. The Knicks took advantage during the slump and outscored Charlotte 17-6 for a 98-89 lead.

"I was asking for the ball, but you have to give their defense a lot of credit. They denied me the ball, didn't let me get good looks," Rice said. `It doesn't matter how many points I scored. If we had just taken care of the ball better and be a little more aggressive on the defensive end, we could have taken points away from them and still could have won the game."

Childs had three of the biggest baskets late in that stretch, making two wide-open jumpers and adding his third 3-pointer of the game with 2:47 left for a 98-89 lead.

That led to a chant of "Sweep! Sweep!" from the Madison Square Garden crowd, and it reached a crescendo with 16 seconds left when Ewing hit a jumper to make it 100-93 and end all doubt.

"Chris played a good game," Ewing said. "He hit some huge shots in the fourth quarter and played very good defense on Delk. That's the type of game we're going to need from him if we're going to win a championship."

Charlotte will be trying to become the sixth team in NBA history to come back from an 0-2 deficit in a best-of-5 series. The Denver Nuggets were the last to do it in 1994.

"We're one game from elimination and three games from an upset," Mason said. "We have to optimistic. We're going home now and we see where we can beat them."

Notes: As expected, Bogues sat out because of a strained right hamstring. His status is questionable for Game 3 on Monday night. ... Ewing was 0-for-2 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, making him 1-for-6 in the fourth over the first two games. ... The game was delayed twice while a crew fixed padding on a backboard. ... Dell Curry, slowed by a calf injury, played only nine minutes off the bench and scored one point. Tony Smith also had one point, and he and curry accounted for all of Charlotte's bench points. ... The Knicks were outrebounded for the second straight game, 42-34.