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Knicks regroup to get the best of Pacers

12/9/2001

NEW YORK (AP) -- If Jeff Van Gundy kept his word and watched the
game on television, there's no doubt he was on the edge of his easy
chair at the end.

On the day they learned that Van Gundy had unexpectedly resigned
as head coach, the New York Knicks survived a fourth-quarter flurry led by Reggie Miller and defeated the Indiana Pacers 101-99 Saturday night.

"It was a draining day," Mark Jackson said. "It says a lot about then guys on this team and the coaching staff that we found a way to come away with a victory."

The Knicks learned first thing in the morning that Van Gundy had resigned, saying he had lost his focus and had been thinking of quitting since the summer. Van Gundy said he was going to go home, take a nap and then watch the game on TV.

Don Chaney coached in his place, and New York came away with its
sixth victory in seven games.

Marcus Camby had 18 points and 22 rebounds before making a
boneheaded play with 11.3 seconds left that gave Indiana one last
chance to go for a tie or the win. Latrell Sprewell led New York
with 25 points, Allan Houston added 18 and Kurt Thomas had 13
points and 12 rebounds.

"I'm still a little stunned. It caught everybody off guard. No
one really expected it," Sprewell said. "I just don't understand
why. I haven't talked to him yet and I just wonder why."

Jermaine O'Neal led Indiana with 22 points but missed a tying
shot just before the final buzzer.

Miller missed nine of his first 10 shots but then hit four
jumpers in a row -- two of them 3-pointers -- to pull the Pacers to
91-89 with 5:05 left before Jamaal Tinsley tied it with a short turnaround from the lane.

Miller hit his next shot, too, another 3-pointer that gave the
Pacers a 96-94 lead, but Jackson hit a 3-pointer from the corner
with 46 seconds left to put the Knicks ahead 99-98.

The Pacers pushed the ball upcourt and Al Harrington missed a
rushed shot, and Camby slammed home a miss by Houston to make it
101-98. Tinsley missed one of two free throws with 11.3 seconds
left, and Camby threw a baseball pass all the way downcourt and out
of bounds on the ensuing inbounds play.

The Pacers regained possession under their own basket and got
the ball to Miller for a 3-pointer that missed with 7 seconds left.

"It was a case of missing it," Miller said. "A wide-open shot, you miss it."

The ball went out of bounds off New York with 5.2 seconds left
to give the Pacers one last chance. href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=2636">Jalen Rose got the ball to
O'Neal for a driving layup, but the shot missed as time expired.

"They didn't have anything to lose," Rose said. "I don't know
how strongly they feel about whether Chaney keeps the job or any
other ulterior motive, but they came out and got the job done."

The Knicks still looked stunned by the day's events as they took
the floor before the opening tipoff, and the Pacers caught the
Knicks on their heels by beating them downcourt for three early
fast-break layups.

The Knicks also missed three consecutive wide-open layups early in the second quarter, but they closed the period with as 14-6 run to take a 45-37 halftime lead.

New York's lead reached 17 when Sprewell hit a 3-pointer with 6:23 left in the third, but Indiana scored the next 10 points and closed to 73-66 entering the fourth.

Game notes
Pacers guard Travis Best returned after missing three games
with a lower back strain. He had two points and no assists in 17
minutes. Among the celebrities sitting courtside were radio
personality Howard Stern and comedian Chris Rock. Filmmaker Spike
Lee was noticeably absent. ... Sprewell missed the morning
shootaround for personal reasons and, as usual, was late arriving
at the arena. ... Tinsley, formerly of Brooklyn, played his first
game of any kind at Madison Square Garden. He had 14 points and
nine assists. ... Miller has made a 3-pointer in 33 consecutive
games. ... Charlie Ward, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1993, cast
his first-place vote for Oklahoma defensive back Roy Williams.