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NBA PLAYOFFS | NOTES

The Knicks Keep Their Confidence

May 18, 1997|From Associated Press

Alonzo Mourning had the last word in Game 6. When his improbable three-point basket sank the New York Knicks, he punched the air and shouted a profanity at the hostile Madison Square Garden crowd.

Now, New Yorkers are cursing their team's failure to deliver a knockout blow in the fight-scarred playoff series against the Miami Heat. Instead of playing Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final in Chicago today, the Knicks face Miami in a climactic Game 7.

Patrick Ewing, Allan Houston and Charlie Ward--suspended for their roles in a Game 5 brawl--will be back. Teammates Larry Johnson and John Starks, the NBA's top sixth man, must serve their suspensions today, while Miami's P.J. Brown completes a two-game penalty.

The Knicks' last road victory in a Game 7 came at Boston in 1973, a year before rookie forward John Wallace was born. But New York has won three of five games at Miami Arena this season, including the opener of the playoff series.

"Somebody's year is going to be over," New York guard Chris Childs said. "It's not going to be ours."

*

Just call the NBA Draft Lottery the Tim Duncan sweepstakes this year.

While a combination of four Ping-Pong balls picked today will determine which of 10 teams gets the top pick in June, there seems little doubt that the Wake Forest center will be the selection.

Thirteen teams are involved in the lottery, but only 10 have a shot at the No. 1 pick in a draft.

As part of their expansion agreement, Vancouver and Toronto are not eligible to draft first until 1999. If either gets the top pick on June 25, it would automatically pick second and the No. 2 team would choose first. If the Canadian teams finish 1-2 in the lottery, the third team would get No. 1 and the Canadians would pick second and third.

Rick Pitino's Boston Celtics have the best shot at Duncan. Finishing with the league's second-worst record earned the Celtics 200 of the 1,000 lottery chances. Boston also got another 64 chances, owning Dallas' first-round pick because of a trade that sent Eric Montross to the Mavericks.

Other teams in the lottery and their chances in 1,000 of getting the No. 1 pick are: San Antonio (157), Denver (120), Philadelphia (89), New Jersey (44), Golden State (24), Milwaukee (11), Sacramento (7), Indiana (6) and Cleveland (5).

Vancouver has 250 chances in the lottery and Toronto 23.

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