Patrick Ewing scored 32 points and made New York's only two baskets over the final six minutes and the Knicks passed perhaps their biggest test of the season Sunday by holding off the Chicago Bulls, 97-93, at New York.
It was the Bulls' first trip of the season to Madison Square Garden, and it gave the rebuilt Knicks--now with the second-best record in the league--a chance to measure themselves against the team that has been their nemesis for nearly a decade.
The Knicks played well and led for most of the game, but allowed Chicago to come back from a 14-point deficit in the final six minutes.
Michael Jordan, who led all scorers with 36 points, made a bank shot with 1:05 left and a corner jump shot with 29 seconds remaining to pull to Bulls to within two points at 95-93.
The Knicks then dribbled the clock down and passed the ball to Ewing, who threw up a corner jump shot over Robert Parish. The 16-footer kissed off the top left corner of the backboard and went in and gave New York a four-point lead.
The Bulls then missed two three-point shots before time expired.
Knicks' Coach Jeff Van Gundy, who recently described himself as "obsessed" with the Bulls, pumped his fist just a little as he walked off the court.
Phoenix 121, Orlando 85--Don't count the Phoenix Suns out of the playoff race just yet.
Wesley Person scored 31 points, making a career-high seven three-point shots, and Kevin Johnson had 13 of his 19 points in a lopsided second quarter at Phoenix.
The Suns won for the fourth time in five games and moved within two games of the idle Clippers for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
Penny Hardaway, who suffered a two-stitch cut on his scalp on the first half's final play, led Orlando with 19 points.
Portland 103, Seattle 93--Isaiah Rider scored 25 points and Gary Trent came off the bench to score 23, making 10 of 11 shots, as the Trail Blazers beat the short-handed SuperSonics at Portland for their sixth consecutive win.
The Sonics, already without Detlef Schrempf because of an injured left foot, played without Sam Perkins because he had a cut over his left eye.
Utah 115, Minnesota 106--Karl Malone scored 36 points and, with a one-handed slam dunk off a fast break, he became the fifth player to surpass 25,000 points and 10,000 rebounds, at Minneapolis.
Malone, a 12-year veteran, joins Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone and Elvin Hayes to reach the two milestones.
Malone had 11 rebounds and eight assists, and John Stockton had 26 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Philadelphia 99, Washington 93--At Landover, Md., Derrick Coleman had 20 points and 18 rebounds, and Jerry Stackhouse carried Philadelphia down the stretch.
Stackhouse, who played all 48 minutes, scored 11 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. Clarence Weatherspoon scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half, and Allen Iverson had 19 points as the Sixers ended a three-game losing streak and beat the Bullets for the first time in six tries.
Charlotte 82, Miami 76--Glen Rice had 21 points, and the Hornets built a 28-point second-quarter lead before holding off poor-shooting Miami at Charlotte.
Miami had a 20-6 run over the first 10:02 of the final quarter, closing to 76-70 on a Tim Hardaway free throw with 1:58 left. But a layup by Anthony Mason and a Rice free throw with 1:02 left gave Charlotte a nine-point lead.
Vlade Divac had 20 points and Mason 17 for Charlotte. Hardaway had 31 points for the Heat, which made 30 of 90 field goal attempts.
Houston 88, Dallas 83--The Rockets are surviving without two of their injured stars--Charles Barkley and Clyde Drexler.
Kevin Willis had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the Rockets continued an unbeaten trip at Dallas. The Mavericks, who suffered their seventh loss in a row, were led by Michael Finley with 24 points.
Atlanta 114, Boston 90--At Boston, the Hawks opened with a 25-2 run and coasted to their fourth win in a row.
The Hawks scored the game's first 19 points and held the Celtics scoreless for nearly seven minutes.
Steve Smith had 17 points for Atlanta and Dikembe Mutombo had 14 rebounds. Todd Day led Boston with 33 points.
Toronto 81, Vancouver 77--At Toronto, Walt Williams scored 16 points and the Raptors tied a franchise high with their 21st win of the season and ended a five-game losing streak.
Anthony Peeler scored 25 points, and Bryant Reeves had 24 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Grizzlies, who lost their ninth game in a row.
Golden State 102, Sacramento 98--Latrell Sprewell scored 20 points and the Warriors overcame a 16-point first quarter deficit to win at Oakland.