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Houston Gets Hot, Knicks Beat Cavs

Allan Houston had his best game since he joined the New York Knicks.

Houston scored a season-high 34 points, including 22 in the third quarter, as the Knicks defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-91 Sunday night.

"That probably was as good as I've ever felt playing the game," Houston said. "I was more aggressive, the basket was very big and I felt good. It felt like everything was clocking for me."

Houston came within two points of the Knicks' team record for points in a single quarter - 24 by Willis Reed in 1967 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

It was the ninth straight game in which Houston scored at least 20 points. He had his highest scoring game as a member of the Knicks but finished four short of his career-high set in 1996 when he was with Detroit.

Houston shot 8 for 9 in the third quarter and 11 for 18 overall. He also had a season-high eight rebounds and broke his Knicks' career high of 32 set last season.

"Everyone will write about the 34 points, but I was most pleased with him holding Wesley Person scoreless in 16 minutes and grabbing eight rebounds," coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "He was on a roll there and our guys did a good job of searching out the hot hand."

Larry Johnson added 23 points and Chris Mills had 16 for the Knicks, who won their third straight.

Shawn Kemp had 30 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Cavs, and Cedric Henderson had 23 points. Cleveland got almost no production from its backcourt as starters Brevin Knight (1 for 2) and Person (0 for 4) and top reserve Bob Sura (3 for 9) combined for only 11 points.

Cleveland also was outrebounded 45-38 despite the absence of New York's Charles Oakley, who served a one-game suspension for accumulating six flagrant foul points.

"We didn't take advantage early on of Oakley being out," Kemp said.

Houston got going early into the third period, hitting a 15-footer, a 25-footer, a 17-footer, a 12-foot runner and a three-point play off a driving layup to turn a 49-41 halftime lead into a 61-46 advantage.

He added a driving layup with 7:27 left and another 3-pointer with seven minutes left, making him 7 for 7 in the quarter, giving him 17 points in a span of 4:01 and putting New York ahead 68-48.

"We let Houston get out of control," Cleveland coach Mike Fratello said. "He got six or seven quick points - and that'll get anybody going."

The lead stayed in double digits until Cleveland made a run early in the fourth, pulling within 81-75 on a three-point play by Carl Thomas with just under seven minutes remaining.

But that was as close as the Cavs got. John Starks hit a 3-pointer and Chris Childs made two free throws to restore the double-digit lead, and New York steadily pulled ahead the rest of the way.

Houston made two foul shots with 2:57 left to improve the lead to 99-84, giving him a new career high as a Knick.

Notes: Patrick Ewing had the cast removed from his riht wrist. he will wear a splint for the remainder of the season while he undergoes rehabilitation. ... Buck Williams, troubled by a swollen knee, will decide Monday whether to undergo arthroscopic surgery. ... New York now departs on a three-game Western road trip, visiting Denver, Utah and Portland. ... Cleveland was playing the first stop in a five-game road trip. The Cavs dropped to 14-11 on the road but remained the only team in the league with a better road record than home record (14-12).

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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