Allan Houston scored 30 points, including a decisive jumper with 21.7 seconds remaining, and Latrell Sprewell added 30 more as the Knicks defeated the Orlando Magic, 99-96, yesterday afternoon in New York.
New York, which had dropped six of its last eight games and returned to Madison Square Garden under .500, began the season without Patrick Ewing, and added more casualties on a just-completed five-game West Coast swing.
Front-court players Marcus Camby, who is suffering from tendinitis in his left knee, and Larry Johnson, who was placed on the injured list prior to yesterday's game with back spasms, each missed time on the trip and did not play against Orlando.
To make up for the loss of an inside presence, Houston, Sprewell and Chris Childs took matters into their own hands.
Houston and Sprewell became the first Knicks to score 30 points apiece in the same game since Jan. 9, 1994. Ewing (36) and John Starks (30) were the last New York teammates to score at least 30 points in the same game.
Equally important, however, was that Childs broke out of a season-long slump with 15 points--13 coming in the second half.
"I haven't played worth a darn since training camp," said Childs, who made all three of his three-point attempts. The most crucial of them came with 48.6 seconds to go, giving New York a 93-92 lead and firing up the home crowd.
"I've let the team down," he added. "I wasn't putting forth the effort I was used to."
After Childs's three-pointer, Orlando's Pat Garrity quickly answered with a 15-footer to put the Magic back in front.
But on the following possession, Houston received the ball at the top of the key, drove to his right and hit a pull-up jumper over Tariq Abdul-Wahad and Garrity. The basket gave New York a 95-94 advantage, a lead that the Knicks did not relinquish.
* RAPTORS 106, WARRIORS 88: Antonio Davis scored a season-high 28 points and Vince Carter added 22 to help send host Golden State--missing five of its top seven players--to its fifth straight loss. Donyell Marshall (left knee tendinitis), John Starks (right knee tendinitis) and Chris Mills (left ankle soreness) did not suit up. Two other starters, Jason Caffey (right Achilles tendinitis) and Erick Dampier (left knee surgery) are both on the injured list.
* TRAIL BLAZERS 88, CLIPPERS 71: In Los Angeles, Damon Stoudamire scored 24 points and Scottie Pippen had 10 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds for Portland, which at 13-2 is off to the second-best start in club history.
* 76ERS 82, BUCKS 79: Eric Snow scored a season-high 18 points and rookie teammate Todd MacCulloch added 16 to lead Philadelphia in Milwaukee. Ray Allen, who led Milwaukee with 23 points, missed a three-pointer as time expired.
* HAWKS 94, CELTICS 84: Isaiah Rider scored 30 points and Dikembe Mutombo added 17 points and 17 rebounds as Atlanta rallied at home.
* SPURS 106, NUGGETS 87: Malik Rose scored 21 points and had a career-high 14 rebounds at home for San Antonio. The Spurs were without the services of David Robinson, who missed the game with cervical back spasms that he suffered in Friday night's 121-98 win against Boston. Tim Duncan chipped in with 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Spurs.
* CAVALIERS 106, HORNETS 89: Lamond Murray and Andrew DeClercq each scored 16 points to carry host Cleveland. Murray also had 16 rebounds.
* TIMBERWOLVES 113, GRIZZLIES 82: In Minneapolis, Kevin Garnett, playing on a sore left foot, scored 20 points as Minnesota snapped a three-game losing streak.
* SUNS 129, NETS 90: Rookie Shawn Marion scored 27 points as Phoenix, at home, earned its fifth consecutive victory. Jason Kidd and Clifford Robinson each added 19 points for the Suns.
* MAVERICKS 95, BULLS 83: Dirk Nowitzki scored seven of his 17 points during a 17-4 spurt at the start of the third quarter as host Dallas ended a five-game losing streak.