Knicks Only Add to Lakers’ Problems : Pro basketball: Team has lost five in row overall and franchise-record six in row at Forum.
For Pat Riley, it was Showtime again.
For the Lakers, it was show-up time--and they didn’t.
Anthony Mason scored a career-high 30 points and Charles Oakley added 18 as Riley’s New York Knicks defeated the Lakers, 105-95, before a sellout crowd of 17,505 Friday night at the Forum. The defeat extended the Lakers’ franchise-record home losing streak to six games. They have lost eight of their last 11 games.
Their five-game losing streak is their longest of the season and they are 16-17 at home, the first time they have fallen below .500 at the Forum during the second half of a season since 1974-75. They are 0-5 on a home stand that ends Sunday.
Their overall record of 33-33 represents the first time they have been at or below .500 after 66 games since the 1975-76 season, when they were 32-34.
Losing A.C. Green, one of their top rebounders, to a second technical foul with 7:35 to play in the first quarter weakened the Lakers’ already woeful rebounding. The Knicks had a 53-38 edge to help Riley balance his record against the Lakers at 2-2.
Green said he only told referee Dick Bavetta something along the lines of, “Hey, ref, you’re missing a great game,” but he accepted responsibility for the ejection. “It didn’t help the team any, and that’s the bottom line,” Green said after his second ejection this season and third of his career. “I have the feeling they were trying to keep the game under control. . . .
“I’m sure if the same situation comes again, I’ll handle myself better. I need to be out there with my teammates. I can’t help them in the locker room.”
Laker Coach Randy Pfund said Green’s ejection balanced the Knicks’ loss of Greg Anthony to a five-game suspension and Doc Rivers for two games for their part in the Knicks’ brawl against the Suns on Tuesday night.
“They were missing two of their players because of past indiscretions and (the officials) felt that was the way to make it fair,” Pfund said. “It was a veteran official and he has to be able to handle a situation like that better. It was not a volatile situation.”
Riley, whose team improved to 46-20 after holding an opponent under 100 points for the 41st time this season, said the brawl “is history, that’s behind us now. . . . We were really struggling. Our spirit was a little bit down and this was a good win for us.”
With the Knicks’ Patrick Ewing on the bench with four fouls, the Lakers narrowed their deficit to 85-82 on a three-point basket by Anthony Peeler less than two minutes into the fourth quarter. But after Peeler missed a jump shot, Mason lofted a hook shot that gave New York a five-point lead.
The Lakers closed the gap to 94-91 after Byron Scott scored five of his team-high 18 points, but Charles Oakley made a tipin and scored on a follow to put the Knicks ahead, 98-91.
According to forward Charles Smith, Riley’s team was “still a little off balance” after Tuesday’s brawl. However, Smith said a team meeting before Friday’s game convinced the players they had to minimize the losses.
“We’ve got to step up and try to play together, not with everybody trying to play separately,” the former Clipper said. “I wouldn’t say we’re drained, but we’re upset to be playing without Doc and Greg for this period. But that’s in the past. We’re just trying to win these games in their absence.”
The referees seemed to closely monitor all contact. They were quick to separate Ewing and Green when the two argued after a Smith basket 1:31 into the game. That cost both a technical foul, and Green was ejected six minutes later.
The Lakers held a 29-24 lead after the first quarter and were ahead, 35-26, midway through the second, but the Knicks rallied and led at halftime, 52-50.