NBA Roundup : Knicks Finally Win One, 103-93
For the first time since they drew Patrick Ewing in the lottery last spring, something went right for the New York Knicks Tuesday night.
In the battle of the losers at New York, Ewing scored 25 points and pulled down nine rebounds, to lead the Knicks to a 103-93 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
The victory over the winless Suns ended the Knicks’ 20-game losing streak and was their first after eight defeats this season. The Knicks, crippled by injury for the last two seasons, lost their last 12 games in the 1984-85 season.
The Knicks fell apart last season after scoring champion Bernard King suffered a serious leg injury, but they outlucked six other teams in the draw that enabled them to pick Ewing, the 7-foot center from Georgetown.
But with King still unable to play, Bill Cartwright and James Bailey, also injured and Louis Orr a holdout, the Knicks have been a pitiful team. The Suns, who thought they would be an improved team, have had shooting problems and went into the game 0-7. Someone had to end a losing streak.
A Madison Square Garden crowd of 12,220, smallest of the season, wasn’t confident it would be the Knicks. The fans booed through most of the game, but when Ewing led a late surge that gave the Knicks a commanding lead, the fans gave them a standing ovation.
As one might expect of a game between two teams that had lost all 15 games played, it was a ragged game.
The Knicks, who signed Orr just before game time, led most of the way, but seldom by more than a few points until late in the game. With the Knicks leading, 91-86, in the fourth quarter, Ewing hit a 12-foot jumper and followed with two free throws, and the Suns never got close again.
Orr, although he had not practiced with the Knicks this season, played 10 minutes, sinking 3 of 6 field-goal attempts.
“We were disappointed we hadn’t won,” Ewing told UPI. “We just had to keep on working hard. We dug in and did the best we could.”
The last time the Knicks won anything besides the lottery was last March 22.
“I sure hope our streak ends soon,” Coach John MacLeod of the Suns said. “It’s a very tough situation. No one likes to lose. Give New York credit though. They shot well, passed good and played excellent defense.”
Houston 127 Denver 119--Lewis Lloyd scored 26 points and made two key plays in the closing minutes at Houston to lead the Rockets into first place in the Midwest Division. The Rockets have won five in a row and have a 7-2 record. The Nuggets have lost two in a row after opening the season with six victories.
The Rockets took the lead early in the second quarter, built the lead to 13 points, then nearly blew the game in the closing minutes.
The Rockets led, 120-110, with 2:22 left. But Mike Evans sank two three-point goals and Alex English made two free throws to cut the lead to 120-118 just 61 seconds later.
Lloyd drove the middle for a basket, was fouled and made the free throw. A little later, he stole an inbounds pass and scored to put the game out of range.
English, the league’s leading scorer, played all but one minute and scored 36 points for the Nuggets. Fat Lever had a career-high 31 for the losers.
Milwaukee 132, Chicago 103--Terry Cummings, who made only 2 of 16 shots in the previous game, made five baskets in three minutes during a fourth-quarter flurry at Chicago that broke open a close game.
The Bucks led by only seven points after three quarters, but Cummings’ flurry sparked a 38-point final quarter that kept the Bucks a half-game behind Detroit in the Central Division.
Detroit 124, Washington 122--Reserve forward Tony Campbell sank a short jumper with 22 seconds left in overtime at Pontiac, Mich., to climax a Piston rally.
The Pistons trailed by 15 points early in the fourth quarter, but Isiah Thomas made three baskets in an 11-3 spurt that brought them close.
Bill Laimbeer played a big part in the Pistons’ victory with 28 points and 21 rebounds.
Portland 126, Sacramento 115--Kiki Vandeweghe scored 26 points and the Trail Blazers sank 16 of 17 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter at Portland to hold off the Kings.
It was the seventh consecutive win at home for the Trail Blazers and gave them an 8-2 record. They are in a virtual tie with the Lakers for the Pacific Division lead.
Seattle 109, Dallas 90--Rookie Xavier McDaniel, the bright spot in an otherwise slow start for the SuperSonics, sparked this win at Seattle. McDaniel scored eight of his 21 points in the third quarter to help the Sonics break open a close game.