Hornets 99, Knicks 93
NEW YORK (AP) _ Glen Rice has been on a roll for a month, and Sunday was just the latest in a growing string of shooting and scoring exhibitions.
Rice scored 40 points, breaking the 30-point barrier for the ninth time in 10 games, as the Charlotte Hornets’ snapped the New York Knicks’ 15-game home winning streak with a 99-93 victory.
Rice, coming off a 43-point performance Friday against Milwaukee, reached 40 points for the third time in seven games.
``It’s total confidence. At this particular time I feel I can do no wrong, and wherever I want to shoot the ball I feel it’s going in,″ Rice said.
How good of a roll is it?
``I’ve never been around a guy shooting like that. I swear, never,″ Charlotte coach Dave Cowens said. ``All the players I’ve been with, Bird, Havlicek, Jo Jo White, I’ve never seen anything like this. This guy’s really good. He’s got a great stroke.″
It was the first home loss since Dec. 3 for the Knicks, who were without Patrick Ewing (strained groin) for the second straight game. John Starks scored 26 points and did what he could to replace Ewing’s offense, but the Knicks simply had no answer for Rice.
The All-Star guard, snubbed for NBA player of the month honors in January despite averaging 31.8 points in 16 games, scored 15 in the third quarter and reached 40 on a foul shot for the final point of the game.
He finished 12-for-20 from the field, 4-for-5 on 3-pointers and 12-for-15 from the foul line.
New York made one last charge after Dell Curry gave Charlotte 91-77 lead late in the fourth quarter. Allan Houston cut the deficit to seven with 56 seconds remaining and Chris Childs made a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left to make it 94-90,
Rice then made two free throws with 28.8 seconds left, and Houston and Childs missed treys on New York’s next possession. Curry made two free throws with 20 seconds left to bump the lead back to eight.
Curry added 16 points and Anthony Mason had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Hornets, who outshot the Knicks 52 percent to 38 percent.
The Hornets won the final three games of the season series after being blown out in New York’s home opener.
Houston had 23 for the Knicks but shot just 8-for-25 from the field. Larry Johnson added 16 points and Charles Oakley had 10 points and 21 rebounds.
The game was tight through the first quarter, and Charlotte broke it open by outscoring the Knicks 20-3 to start the second period. The Hornets began pushing the ball inside, and they scored fairly easily without Ewing around to act as a shot-blocking deterrent.
A pair of free throws by Tony Delk made it 43-29 with 4:48 left in the first half, and Charlotte held a 53-42 lead at the break.
The Knicks had a 10-1 run early in the third quarter to stay close, but Rice took over by scoring 15 of his points in the period.
``Rice is guardable, but we didn’t do well on him coming off screens,″ Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said. ``We gave him everything, free throws, jumpers off screens, 3-pointers. He is definitely one of the best players in the NBA right now.″
Notes: The Knicks last loss at home was against Miami on Dec. 3. Their 15-game streak was the longest since the 1992-93 team won its final 20 regular season home games. ... Muggsy Bogues grabbed four rebounds in the first quarter to tie his season-high. He finished with six. ... The Hornets have won six of their last seven games at Madison Square Garden. ... Rice has led Charlotte in scoring in 19 straight games. ... Oakley surpassed 9,000 career rebounds and set his season high with 21.