Larry Johnson scored a season-high 35 points and the New York Knicks won the latest installment of their intense rivalry with Miami, beating the Heat 89-83 Sunday.
Johnson, ejected from New York's previous game, scored nine straight points early in the fourth quarter as the Knicks stopped a three-game losing streak.
The Knicks-Heat rivalry has become one of the fiercest in the NBA, and Sunday's game was no exception, with ferocious defense and a scuffle.
Allan Houston added 20 points for New York, which made 23 of 26 free throws, including 10 in a row during the closing minutes. Even Chris Dudley, one of the worst free-throw shooters by percentage in NBA history, made both his attempts, banking in his second attempt with 51 seconds left.
Alonzo Mourning and Jamal Mashburn had 22 points apiece to lead the Heat. Tim Hardaway added 17 points on 4-for-14 shooting before fouling out in the final minute.
With the score tied 68-68, Johnson converted a three-point play, then drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing -- only his ninth 3 of the season -- giving the Knicks a 74-69 lead.
Following a steal by Charles Oakley, Johnson scored while being grabbed by Hardaway on the break and made the free throw, putting New York up by eight.
Hardaway scored six straight points before Mourning's layup tied it 77-77 with 3:42 left.
Chris Childs' basket with 3:25 remaining gave New York the lead for good, and the Knicks put the game away at the line.
When the teams met last week for the first time since last year's heated playoff series, Childs sustained a concussion after accidentally getting kneed in the head.
There were no other physical confrontations in that game, but tempers flared in the second quarter Sunday when Mourning hit Johnson on a drive to the basket.
Johnson responded with a two-hand shove to Mourning's chest as players from both teams grabbed jerseys and trash-talked in front of New York's bench. But unlike Game 5 of the second-round series last year when several Knicks were suspended for rushing onto the floor to aid Charlie Ward, who had been body slammed by Miami's P.J. Brown, no New York players moved from the bench.
However, Brown, who was waiting at the scorer's table to check in, walked onto the floor.
Mourning, Johnson, Oakley and Miami's Isaac Austin were each assessed technicals and the half ended without any other incidents.
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