for this game

Lee stars as Knicks sting Hornets

Jan 13, 2009 - 5:36 AM By Peter Finney PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- New Orleans Hornets Coach Byron Scott was openly worried before his team took on the road-weary New York Knicks about the Hornets' tendency to play down to the level of their competition.

Scott turned out to be prophetic.The Knicks, losers of three straight road games and 10 of their last 12 games overall, shocked the Hornets, 101-95, on Monday Night behind David Lee's 24 points and Al Harrington's 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Chris Duhon was 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the final 54 seconds to ice the victory.

"They played 48 minutes," Scott said after the Hornets (22-12) dropped to 12-5 at home. "You can't win like that. I'm pretty sick of having to conjure up the energy to even talk about energy. We should never even be talking about playing hard or playing with energy."

After watching his team fall to the Houston Rockets 96-76 on Saturday night - a season low in scoring - Knicks Coach Mike D'Antoni was thrilled with his team's ball movement that resulted in 30 assists on 39 made field goals.

"The three other games on the road trip (losses to Oklahoma City, Dallas and Houston) I don't think we had 30 (assists) total," D'Antoni said. "We've been stressing that - just don't settle for shots. We had patience. We were driving the ball, kicking, not settling."

The Hornets clawed back from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit with 10:11 left to cut the Knicks' lead to 96-93. But Harrington nailed a 3-pointer from the left wing with 26 seconds left to give the Knicks a 99-93 lead, and New Orleans got no closer than four points.

Scott was not amused.

"It (ticks) me off more than anything, because I'm a competitor," he said. "For whatever reason, we looked at the New York Knicks as the New York Knicks, who had won 13 games. Well, add another one to their belt. We can't look at opponents like that if we're going to grow and be a very good basketball team. These are the games that are the most dangerous."

The Hornets were led by David West with 25 points and Chris Paul with 23, but they shot only 38 percent from the field.

The Hornets pulled within 65-61 with 1:26 left in the third quarter, but the Knicks went on a 12-2 run, including consecutive 3-pointers by Nate Robinson and Harrington, to extend the lead to 77-63 with 10:11 left.

The Knicks hardly looked as though they were completing the final leg of a ragged four-game road trip, in which they had dropped games to Oklahoma City, Dallas and Houston.

The Knicks outscored the Hornets 24-17 in the second quarter to take a 47-40 lead at halftime. Tim Thomas sparked the surge off the bench with nine points in 11 minutes, including a 3-pointer with 8:01 left in the second quarter that climaxed an 8-0 New York run and put the Knicks up 35-30.

The Hornets tried to work the ball down low to center Tyson Chandler against the smaller Knicks, and they got 26 of their 40 first-half points in the paint. But the Hornets made just 1-of-9 from the arc and shot just 39 percent from the field.

The Knicks, meanwhile, made four 3-pointers in the first half, and their bench outscored New Orleans 17-6. For the game, the Knicks's bench outscored the Hornets' reserves 36-11.

The Hornets now face an imposing road trip this week that starts Wednesday in Dallas and concludes against Cleveland and Detroit.

"We'll see what we're made of," Scott said. "If we play with the same effort and that same intensity in these next three, it won't be a close game - none of them."

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