NEW YORK (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis scored 28 points, including a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1:48 remaining, and the New York Knicks beat the Charlotte Hornets 118-113 on Tuesday night for their third straight victory.
The Eastern Conference player of the week was held below 30 for only the third time in 10 games this season, but he delivered when it mattered, scoring seven points in the final 2:32.
Doug McDermott added a season-high 20 points off the bench and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 19 for the Knicks, who have won six of seven after an 0-3 start. New York shot 60 percent from the field to catch up and eventually pass Charlotte.
Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard and rookie Malik Monk each had 21 points in the Hornets’ third straight loss.
The Knicks, who erased a 19-point deficit against Indiana in their last game, were down 15 in this one before mounting a charge in the fourth quarter with Porzingis on the bench. They cut it to four with about 7 minutes left, but Howard converted a follow shot and Walker banked in a 3-pointer to push the lead back to 109-100 with 5:34 to play.
New York answered with four 3-pointers in a 14-2 run, with Porzingis’ clutch shot from straightaway making it 114-111. His drive to the basket with 11 seconds remaining made it 116-113, and Monk missed a 3-pointer before Walker lost the ball out of bounds on the sideline.
The Hornets were 7 of 9 from 3-point range in the first quarter and led 41-32. They increased the lead to 69-58 at halftime even with the Knicks hitting 61 percent of their shots in the first 24 minutes.
Hornets: Howard was listed as probable before the game with a sprained right foot, though coach Steve Clifford didn’t seem concerned that Howard would have to sit. … Walker snapped out a shooting slump by going 8 for 16 from the field. He was 8 for 27 during the Hornets’ losses to San Antonio and Minnesota.
Knicks: Porzingis has 300 points, passing Bernard King for most by a Knicks player in the first 10 games. King scored 298 in 1984-85. … Enes Kanter scored 14 points.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
The Hornets have not only had a tough schedule to open the season, but they had to play it short-handed. Nicolas Batum has missed all 11 games with a sprained left elbow, while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has missed five. Charlotte has played Houston, Minnesota, San Antonio and Memphis, some of the strongest teams in the Western Conference.
“With the schedule that we’ve played, if you would have told me no Nic, really no MKG, missing Cody (Zeller) for a number of games, that we’d be 5-5 with this sked, I’d be fine with it,” Clifford said before the game. “We have a good team. This is by far the most talented team we’ve had since I’ve been there, and you can’t play without two starters. Not at the wing position or anywhere else.”
Hornets: Visit Boston on Friday.
Knicks: Visit Orlando on Wednesday.
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