Knicks hold off Brown's Bobcats

November 5, 2008 7:17:22 PM PST
The New York Knicks held on to give Larry Brown another tough night at Madison Square Garden. Zach Randolph had 25 points and 13 rebounds, Nate Robinson scored all of his 24 points in the first half, and the Knicks ruined their old coach's first game back in New York with a 101-98 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.

Wilson Chandler added 18 points and Jamal Crawford had 14 of his 16 in the second half for the Knicks, who bounced back after poor offensive performances in consecutive losses.

Raymond Felton scored 18 points and Jason Richardson had 17 for the Bobcats, who showed more fight for Brown than the Knicks often did. Emeka Okafor finished with 16 points and 15 boards, but Charlotte dropped its second straight and fell to 1-3 under its new coach.

Brown was fired after going 23-59 in 2005-06, a bizarre season in which he publicly feuded with players, and was accused by management of violating MSG media policies and attempting to broker trades behind former team president Isiah Thomas' back.

"We didn't win a lot of games with me as the coach and that's something that I think about a lot because the people here deserve the best," Brown said before the game. "They have great fans, they have great tradition here. One of the reasons I came here is I wanted to be part of that and unfortunately it didn't work out."

The Knicks had an 11-point lead early in the fourth quarter that was trimmed to 91-88 on rookie D.J. Augustin's 3-pointer with about 7½ minutes remaining. Randolph responded with six straight points to push the lead back to nine, but Charlotte fought back again to get within 99-96 after Gerald Wallace's second straight 3-pointer.

Richardson's bucket cut it to one with 10 seconds left, and the Bobcats nearly came up with a steal, but Augustin couldn't come down inbounds. Crawford made two free throws, and Richardson missed a tough 3-point attempt in the closing seconds.

Back in his hometown arena, Brown was loudly booed during pregame introductions, then had a moment in the second quarter that showed he's still getting to know the personnel of his ninth NBA team.

"Jared! Jared!" Brown yelled down the bench, looking for forward Jared Dudley.

"He's in the game," one player called back.

Brown didn't have much use for Robinson's showboating as a rookie and benched him for eight straight games after the All-Star break. But the fourth-year guard has become a value reserve in Mike D'Antoni's system, and had 19 points during an electric second quarter.

His blistering stretch had the Knicks up 14 in the period, but the Bobcats tied it at 51 on Adam Morrison's jumper with 2.2 seconds left.

Notes: D'Antoni improved to 9-0 against Charlotte. ... Patrick Ewing Jr., the final player cut by the Knicks in the preseason, was at the game. The Knicks have said they'd be interested in bringing Ewing, whose father is their career scoring leader, back if a roster spot opened. ... Bobcats executive Michael Jordan was seated courtside across from the Charlotte bench and enjoyed a first-quarter standing ovation.