1. Archive

Knicks in this for long haul

The Knicks, who overcame the loss of injured center Patrick Ewing early in the season, said they aren't about to crumble because they lost the opener against Miami.

The Knicks were taken out of Friday's game early when the Heat went ahead by 21 in the second quarter, but they vowed to put up a better fight in today's Game 2.

"We're not going to let down," Knicks forward Charles Oakley said. "It's going to be a war every night. We're going to come with our hard hats and hard boots."

The Knicks need to find ways to free up guard Allan Houston, who was bottled up by Heat forward Dan Majerle. Majerle held him to 17 points on 5-of-18 shooting. "He likes to have his hands on you. I need to make him pay for playing up close," Houston said.

The Heat has to keep All-Star center Alonzo Mourning out of foul trouble. He played just 11 minutes of the first three quartersand finished with 11 points.

Also, the Heat can't get overconfident with its dominance in Game 1. Miami hasn't forgotten how it blew out Orlando in the first two games last season only to have the Magic force Game 5.

WARM AND FUZZY: Given all the bad blood between the Knicks and Heat, Game 1 was surprisingly civilized. No fights. No technicals for rough play. Just basketball.

"We want to win," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "We're not trying to prove anything to the Knicks."

DENVER'S FALL GUY: Bill Hanzlik wasn't the only one unhappy about his recent firing in Denver. Atlanta coach Lenny Wilkens, who once had him as an assistant coach, thought Hanzlik wasn't given a fair chance.

"The thing with Bill was a travesty," Wilkens said. "He goes there and they get rid of all those guys (Antonio McDyess, Ervin Johnson and Dale Ellis) and they expect him to win. That's totally unrealistic. To me, all they were looking for was a scapegoat."

Hanzlik was 11-71 at Denver.

YOU BE THE JUDGE: Matt Geiger's decision to sit out Game 1 of the Charlotte-Atlanta series because of a strained hamstring is raising some concerns.

Geiger said the injury hurt too much to play, but the rumor is he was reluctant to press the injury because he and his agent, David Falk, don't want to jeopardize his marketability when he becomes a free agent after the season.

Geiger isn't talking about it.

"I didn't say I was mad at him (for not playing). I said I was disappointed," Hornets coach Dave Cowens said. "Everybody's got to live with themselves and their own bodies and their own pain threshold. I'm not questioning him. I just wish he could play."

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: This one comes from Cleveland forward Shawn Kemp, explaining the difference between the regular season and the playoffs.

"The regular season is for kids. The post-season is for adults."

UTAH, WE HAVE A PROBLEM: If Houston didn't make you a believer after stunning Utah in Game 1, consider this: The Rockets are 17-0 in playoff series when they win the first game.

HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW?: Chicago is not the only team that could have some radical personnel changes on the horizon. Phoenix players Clifford Robinson, Rex Chapman, Kevin Johnson and McDyess could be headed elsewhere after this season.

The players would like team management to re-sign everyone instead of unloading people to try to sign Scottie Pippen.

"We like this team a lot and that will factor into our decisions," said Suns general manager Bryan Colangelo, whose team is tied 1-1 with San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs. "But we can't keep everyone at the expense of a key free agent that we're targeting."

Quipped Johnson: "I guarantee you one thing. If we lose to the Spurs, we'll all be out of here."

_ Information from other news organizations was used in this report.