Knicks 113, Hornets 96

The New York Knicks were making shot after shot, ready to go

down the stretch with New Orleans.

Turned out, they didn’t have to. The Hornets pretty much took

the last five minutes off.

Al Harrington scored 28 points and the Knicks scored the game’s

final 18 points to beat the Hornets 113-96 Friday night.

“Our defense was horrible,” Paul said. “We’ve had a few games

where our defense was good, but not tonight, and it was obvious we

couldn’t buy a shot.”

The Knicks won their fourth straight for the first time since

winning six in a row from Jan. 2-13 in 2006. The Hornets lost for

the first time in seven home games.

New York trailed 96-95 with less than five minutes left, but

Harrington and Duhon hit a barrage of baskets. Duhon sank

back-to-back 3-pointers, and Harrington followed with two more as

the Knicks put the game away.

“Everybody hit big shots, one after another,” New York coach

Mike D’Antoni said. “We were moving the ball really well. We’re

just playing really well right now.”

Duhon scored 22 points, and Wilson Chandler added 20 before

fouling out with 5:15 left. David Lee, who scored a season-high 28

points when the Knicks beat the Hornets in New York, contributed 17

points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

David West scored 20 to lead New Orleans, and Paul added 13

points and 13 assists. The Hornets, who scored a season-high 62

points in the first half, managed just nine field goals in the

second half and did not score after James Posey’s putback gave them

a 96-95 led with 4:57 left.

“We just tried to force them to keep shooting jump shots with a

hand in their face,” Lee said. “Our energy is better and we’re

helping better on defense.”

Duhon hit a long 3-pointer 14 seconds later, starting the

onslaught. By the time the Hornets called a timeout with 2:59 left,

they trailed 104-96. Harrington finished them off with another 3 on

New York’s next possession.

The Knicks took their first lead of the game with a 12-3 run

early in the third quarter. Harrington and Chandler scored inside

before Duhon hit consecutive 3-pointers. His second 3 put the

Knicks ahead 70-69 at the 6:13 mark. Neither team led by more than

4 for the rest of the quarter, but Jared Jeffries made his only

basket of the night to give New York an 81-79 advantage entering

the fourth.

“We were definitely in a deep hole, and now we’ve put ourselves

back in the opportunity go get into the playoffs, which is our

goal,” Duhon said. “We’re definitely back in it. We just have to

keep going.”

NOTES: Earlier Friday, the Hornets announced forward Ike Diogu,

who had not played this year after being signed as a free agent in

July, will have season-ending micro-fracture surgery next Tuesday

on his injured left knee. He has career averages of 5.8 points and

3.1 rebounds. … Eddy Curry for the Knicks returned after missing

seven games with a sore left knee. He played 6:34 in the first

half, scoring two points, and sat out the second half. … The

Knicks’ Larry Hughes had a 4-point play to start the second

quarter, hitting a 3 and making a free throw after being fouled by

Hornets rookie Darren Collison.