Playing with a sore left ankle, Davis had 29 points and a
career-high six steals Wednesday night, leading New Orleans to a
106-98 victory over the New York Knicks.
Davis, who plans to play in Sunday's All-Star game back home in
Los Angeles, did not practice this week. The Hornets let Davis make
a game-time decision on whether to play.
"I didn't want to not play tonight and then play Sunday,"
Davis said. "I didn't want people saying I let my teammates down.
I just felt I needed to give it a go."
Davis showed little sign of soreness from the Jan. 19 ankle
sprain that has caused him to miss six of 11 games. He converted
drives through traffic and even dunked over Dikembe Mutombo.
"I told myself, even though my ankle's hurt, I'm going to push
myself," Davis said. "In games before that I never pushed myself
over the hurting point, past the limit, and tonight I did."
Stephon Marbury led New York with 29 points and 10 assists.
Penny Hardaway came off the bench to score 19 for the Knicks, who
were playing their second road game in two nights. They head into
the All-Star break on a two-game losing skid.
The Knicks had won five straight before the losses. Coach Lenny
Wilkens did not fault his team's effort, but rather poor
communication and 20 turnovers.
"The last two games were opportunities lost for us," Wilkens
said. "We have been playing aggressive defense and we believe in
each other. We have to execute better and take care of the ball."
New Orleans' recent struggles had taken an emotional toll, and
coaches and players yelled at each other after a loss Saturday
night in Milwaukee.
After practice Tuesday, assistant coach Kenny Gattison huddled
the team and told them they were not playing with pride and needed
to trust the coaching staff.
Brown credited the venting by coaches and players for the
"That was definitely a part of it. Everybody really wanted to
win tonight because we haven't really been playing that well
lately," he said. "Hopefully, we can use this to springboard us
back to being the team we know we can be."
Davis hit a pair of 3s and Brown put back a shot that Davis
missed as the Hornets opened the third period with a 20-2 run to
take the lead for good at 69-56.
Brown had eight points in the quarter and the Hornets shot
12-of-18 from the floor. Davis converted a stuttering, slashing
drive all the way from halfcourt in the final seconds of the
quarter to give New Orleans an 83-73 lead.
The Knicks shot 7-of-20 in the third and Marbury, after scoring
16 in the first half, was held to four free throws in the period.
Hardaway kept the Knicks in the game, hitting four of six shots in
the quarter, including a 3-pointer.
"They turned up their intensity and we didn't match it," said
Keith Van Horn, who had 14 points and 13 rebounds. "They came out
at halftime with a greater sense of urgency. We let them be the
New York shot better in the fourth, during which Marbury and Van
Horn each scored nine points, but Armstrong's timely 3s kept the
Knicks from getting too close.
"When the game's on the line, you just got to focus in and
knock them down," Armstrong said. "These are shots I know I can
make. That's why I just kept shooting."
Davis and Marbury went at each other hard from the outset, with
Davis hitting a pair of 3-pointers and converting a steal from
Marbury into a breakaway layup as Marbury fouled him.
Marbury also had 13 points in the period and gave New York its
first lead, 27-25, when he pulled up on the dribble just before the
first-quarter buzzer and swished a rainbow 3-pointer from 30 feet.
Hardaway hit a pair of 3-pointers to help New York build a lead
as large as nine, at 44-35. George Lynch hit two 3s for the Hornets
in the final five minutes of the second period, and New Orleans
trailed 54-49 at halftime.
Knicks F Kurt Thomas sat out, serving a one-game suspension
for head-butting Mavericks forward Josh Howard during New York's
105-90 loss at Dallas on Tuesday night. ... Davis, now in his fifth
season, surpassed 5,000 career points on his dunk over Mutombo with
9:36 to go in the second quarter. ... After the All-Star break, the
Knicks expect Allan Houston back from a left knee injury.
After the Cleveland Cavaliers knocked down 18 3-pointers in the first half, all the Hawks' Twitter account could do was laugh ... and cry.
Former Lakers coach Byron Scott said he believed he'd be given one more year to coach the team.
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