• 66°

Porzingis breaks tie with big shot, Knicks beat Hornets

Charlotte falls on the road to Knicks

New York Knicks’ Frank Ntilikina (11) is defended by Charlotte Hornets’ Cody Zeller, right, and Malik Monk during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

By Brian Mahoney

AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — No Knicks player has ever started a season like Kristaps Porzingis.

He won’t celebrate now, since he only cares about the finish.

Porzingis scored 28 points, including a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:48 remaining, and New York beat the Charlotte Hornets 118-113 on Tuesday night for its 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.

That gave him 300 points through 10 games, two more than Bernard King had to open 1984-85.

“The sweetest thing for us, the best thing for us, would be to make the playoffs. This means nothing,” Porzingis said. “If we can keep winning and I’ll keep doing what I have to do, then the real reward will come.”

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.

Asked what has keyed the Knicks’ turnaround, McDermott said: “Just unselfish play and having a guy like KP who is playing the best basketball in the NBA, borderline.”

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.

“Too many mistakes down the stretch,” Walker said. “We made some really bad mental mistakes at the end and they capitalized. This is stuff we’ve got to learn from. We’ve got to be better with our execution.”

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.

TIP-INS

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: The Knicks (6-4) are over .500 after 10 games for the first time since the 2012-13 season, when they won the Atlantic Division title. … Enes Kanter scored 14 points.

COMEBACK KIDS

The Knicks have come from at least 15 points down in back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 18 and 20 against Utah and Charlotte.

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.”

UP NEXT

Hornets: Visit Boston on Friday.

Knicks: Visit Orlando on Wednesday.

Comments

Crime

Blotter: Man faces sexual exploitation charge for images on Instagram

News

Defendant convicted in attempted murder case on the run after fleeing from trial

Business

Downtown Gateway Building to be renamed for late Paul Fisher

Coronavirus

Rowan County COVID-19 data for April 15

Local

Rep. Warren’s bill would prohibit parking in electric vehicle charging stations

Local

Historic Preservation Commission approves Integro Technologies expansion, Paint the Pavement project

Education

Faith Academy, RSS will negotiate over what goes, stays in elementary school

Crime

Teacher killed in Alamance County shootout with Mexican drug cartel

Coronavirus

Bill would give more tax breaks on COVID-19 loans

Nation/World

No response as divers knock on capsized ship’s hull

Local

Quotes of the week

Crime

Blotter: Man found on church property with litany of drugs

Crime

Man charged in connection to 2019 overdose death

Business

‘It’s our big time’: Salisbury Farmers Market reopens Saturday

Education

Schools capital funding still frozen as RSS sends local budget to county

Business

Shields, Cheerwine Festival receive N.C. Main Street Awards

Kannapolis

Duke University launches kidney disease study in Kannapolis for people of African descent

Education

Horizons Unlimited will hold in-person summer camps

Education

Education briefs: Catawba planning for more in-person activities, free summer school tuition

Coronavirus

County’s full COVID-19 vaccinations top 22,600

High School

High school golf: With Merrell, Mustangs back on top

Local

Spencer investigating rat problem on South Iredell Street

News

Livingstone, Mission House Church to host national ‘Black Voters Matter’ listening session

Education

Shoutouts