Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 11/29

Game 1: Saturday, November 29th
Game 2: Wednesday, February 11th
Game 3: Monday, April 12th

Hornets 74

(11-6, 5-4 away)

Knicks 79

(7-10, 4-4 home)

Coverage: MSG

1:00 PM ET, November 29, 2003

Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

1 2 3 4 T
NO 23 14 21 1674
NY 21 21 19 1879

Top Performers

New Orleans: J. Magloire 12 Pts, 17 Reb

New York: D. Mutombo 13 Pts, 12 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 5 Blk

Mutombo sets pace for Knicks

NEW YORK (AP) -- Dikembe Mutombo hurt New Orleans with his offense, and then finished off the Hornets with his defense.

Allan Houston scored 18 points, and Mutombo added 13 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks to lead the New York Knicks to a 79-74 victory over the Hornets on Saturday.

"I don't want him to be our offensive go-to guy or anything -- we've got enough of those," New York coach Don Chaney said, joking. "I'm really amazed about his scoring ability.

"I like the way our players have accepted him -- they are looking for him down there."

Mutombo got the Knicks started with 11 points and seven rebounds in the first half, and Houston scored 13 during a sluggish second half for both teams. Mutombo added four blocks in the second half, and altered six other shots.

"I'm getting an opportunity to play more minutes, and that's kind of allowed me to get more focused," Mutombo said. "I'm more relaxed on the court."

David Wesley's 16 points led the Hornets, who committed six of their 16 turnovers in the fourth quarter and shot just 32 percent. Baron Davis had 13 points and 10 assists.

Mutombo's presence seemed to alter the shots of Davis and his Hornets teammates.

"He's done a great job of protecting," Chaney said of Mutombo. "Even on Baron Davis, one of the great playmakers in the game, when he drove, he was looking for Dikembe."

The Hornets pulled within a point when Wesley threw up a shot to avoid a 24-second violation, but Houston and Mutombo held off the charge.

"You have a great challenge with (Davis)," Mutombo said. "You have to be proud of it, and I was very proud of what I was doing to him today."

After the 6-foot-3 Davis sparked his team by leaping to block the 6-foot-9 Kurt Thomas and pumping his fist in the air, Mutombo sent one of Davis' layups into the first row.

Davis smiled after the block.

"We just never got over the hump offensively or defensively," he said.

P.J. Brown's dunk over Mutombo with 44 seconds left pulled New Orleans within three points, but Charlie Ward hit a running jumper with 22.3 seconds left to give New York a 76-71 lead.

Mutombo picked off Brown's pass on the next play.

"If he's not blocking a shot, he's affecting it somehow," Brown said. "He shot that jumper, which I hadn't seen in a while, and he had a bunch of free throws, which I haven't seen in a while. That's probably the best I've seen him play in a while."

Davis cut the lead to 77-74 with a 3-pointer, putting the Hornets in position to tie, but Ward and Thomas each hit a free throw.

"The most encouraging thing is we are learning how to win games," Houston said. "We just can't look back."

The Knicks struggled to execute in the first quarter, committing a 3-second, a 5-second and a 24-second violation in the first nine minutes. But Mutombo had nine points and five rebounds in the period, and the Knicks outhustled the Hornets, even after their center went to the bench with his third foul late in the second quarter.

The Knicks led by as many as 12 points in the first half and were up 42-37 at the break.

Game notes

Keith Van Horn played for the first time in six games, returning from a sprained right ankle. He played 22 minutes and finished with seven points and four rebounds. ... Magloire added 12 points and 17 rebounds for the Hornets. ... Knicks F Antonio McDyess (left knee surgery) wasn't sure whether he will play his first game of the season Monday against Detroit. "It depends on how I feel" after scrimmaging in practice Sunday, McDyess said, "to know definitely that I'll go Monday, but that's something to shoot for." ... McDyess got some advice from Houston this week: "He just told me when I'm ready mentally, that's when I need to be on the court. Coming from him that means a lot," McDyess said. "I'm just so anxious to get on the court." ... Thomas had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 74 79
FGM-FGA 29-91 (.319) 31-76 (.408)
3PM-3PA 5-27 (.185) 3-21 (.143)
FTM-FTA 11-16 (.688) 14-23 (.609)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-55 8-48
Assists 18 15
Turnovers 16 14
Steals 8 12
Blocks 4 8
Fast Break Points 1 6
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 18 (1/0)

Top Performers

New Orleans
New York
Jamaal Magloire Magloire
Points: 12
Reb: 17
Ast: 0
Stl: 0
Blk: 0
Dikembe Mutombo Mutombo
Points: 13
Reb: 12
Ast: 2
Stl: 2
Blk: 5