Tim Hardaway's next-to-last shot hit nothing but air. His final shot clanged hard off the rim.
Hardaway tried to win a game all by himself Tuesday night, but he missed his final two shots--both from three-point range--to allow the New York Knicks to escape with a 76-74 victory over the Miami Heat at New York in another close contest between the archrivals.
"If it's the same situation tomorrow night, we want him to have the ball," Miami's Bruce Bowen said. "His nickname is 'Bigs' because he hits big shots."
This time, though, Hardaway missed.
In a matchup highlighted mainly by defense, the Knicks outscored the Heat, 16-12, in the fourth quarter. New York had only two field goals over the final six minutes, while Miami had only three over the same span.
"I thought our defense was better tonight," Knick Coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "The biggest thing is we started to show our collective heart again. That's probably the one thing it takes for us to win in this league."
Latrell Sprewell led the Knicks with 17 points, while Larry Johnson had 14, Marcus Camby 13 and Allan Houston 12.
Anthony Mason had 17 points for the Heat.
The victory moved the Knicks back into second place in the Atlantic Division, only a few percentage points ahead of the Heat.
After Eddie Jones stole the ball from Sprewell with 15 seconds to play, Hardaway rushed a three-point shot that missed badly. It was his second airball of the night from three-point range.
"It was designed to go to somebody, and I was going to surprise the guy and shoot a three--but I shot an airball," Hardaway said.
Charlie Ward was fouled with 3.3 seconds to play and made one of two free throws, giving the Heat another chance.
Hardaway attempted another three-point shot just before the buzzer, and the shot bounced hard off the rim as time expired.
Milwaukee 101, Chicago 92--Ray Allen scored 17 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Bucks at Chicago in a game that was marred by an ugly third-quarter scuffle between Glenn Robinson of the Bucks and Ron Artest of the Bulls.
With about 5:35 to play in the third quarter, Artest and Robinson were jockeying for position near the Bucks' basket when Robinson threw an elbow that hit Artest in the stomach. Artest wrapped his arms around Robinson's shoulders and pulled him to the floor from behind.
The two scuffled, trading punches and kicks before being separated after several minutes. Calm was restored after about five minutes.
Both players were given technical fouls and were ejected. Artest also received a flagrant foul.
"We were just being aggressive all game, we were being competitive all game and I might have blown it out of proportion," Artest said. "I was just trying to play hard. I think I overreacted."
Toronto 113, Golden State 102--Vince Carter scored 33 points and Raptor teammate Mark Jackson moved passed Isiah Thomas into fourth place on the NBA's all-time assist list at Chicago.
Jackson had 12 assists, raising his career total to 9,065. After passing Thomas with his ninth assist, Jackson hugged his teammates and received a standing ovation. Jackson, a 14-year veteran, played for the Knicks, Clippers, Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets before signing with the Raptors as a free agent last August.
Portland 104, Denver 94--Rasheed Wallace scored a career-high 42 points to lead the Trial Blazers at Portland, Ore.
Wallace surpassed his previous high of 38 points, set against the Sacramento Kings on Dec. 31, 1996, with a three-point basket that gave the Trail Blazers a 14-point lead with 2:44 to play.
Wallace picked up his league-leading 30th technical foul of the season with 2:05 to play for arguing with referee Marc Davis.
Antonio McDyess scored 30 for the Nuggets, who had cut Portland's 14-point third-quarter lead to four points in the fourth.
Nick Van Exel added 13 points and seven assists for the Nuggets but was ejected with 38 seconds remaining for cursing at Davis, much to the delight of Wallace, who laughed and sat on the scorer's bench as Steve Smith made the free throws. Nugget Coach Dan Issel was also ejected for arguing the call.
Sacramento 94, Atlanta 80--Jason Williams had 22 points and seven assists at Sacramento as the Kings ended a 10-game losing streak against the Hawks.
The Kings, who played their fourth consecutive game without all-star forward Chris Webber, who is sidelined because of a sprained ankle, last defeated the Hawks on Nov. 12, 1994.
Peja Stojakovic scored 19 points for Sacramento, which won for the third time in eight games. Vlade Divac had 13 points and 19 rebounds and Scot Pollard added 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Vancouver 116, Washington 104--Michael Dickerson scored nine of his 23 points during a decisive third-quarter run at Washington as the Grizzles extended their franchise-record winning streak to five games.
Houston 101, Boston 84--Maurice Taylor scored 23 points and Steve Francis had 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to power the Rockets at Houston.
Cuttino Mobley added 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the Rockets.
Phoenix 110, Orlando 104--Shawn Marion scored 28 points and made a key late basket at Orlando, Fla., to help the Suns end the Magic's nine-game winning streak.
Jason Kidd added 15 points and 15 assists for the Suns, who have beaten the Magic six consecutive times. Tony Delk scored 22 points.