Rookies Lead Bobcats To Sweep of Knicks
Charlotte 98, New York 91
NEW YORK, April 17 (Ticker) -- The Charlotte Bobcats and the New York Knicks will finish as the worst teams in the Eastern Conference. That's where the similarities end.
Raymond Felton collected 16 points, a season-high 14 assists and four steals and fellow rookie Alan Anderson scored 18 points as the Bobcats completed a season sweep of the Knicks with a 98-91 victory.
"We're not going to be ready for it (the season) to end, which would be preposterous to people from outside," Bobcats center Jake Voskuhl said.
The Knicks will finish with the East's worst mark despite having a Hall of Fame coach in Larry Brown and the league's highest payroll.
"After this season, there should be a lot of regret," said New York assistant coach Herb Williams, who has guided the Knicks while Brown recovers from a stomach ailment. "We started off the year with high hopes of making it to the playoffs. When that doesn't happen, you have to be disappointed. If you're not disappointed, then you're in the wrong game and you should be doing something else."
Charlotte is finishing strong, having won five of its last seven games. New York has dropped five in a row and the difference between the teams was noticeable to Voskuhl.
"You can kind of see there is a lot turmoil going on (in New York)," Voskuhl said. "I think maybe upstairs in the organization, with the coaching staff and with the players. It kind of seems like everyone's a little frustrated with one another. I think that's kind of what you're seeing on the court. It's hard to win games when everything's divided and I think that's kind of what you're seeing right now."
Voskuhl finished with 17 points and nine rebounds. Primoz Brezec and Melvin Ely added 12 apiece for the Bobcats, who tied a team record with their third straight win and swept an opponent for the first time.
But Felton, who has been named the Eastern Conference rookie of the month in February and March, made the three key plays to secure the victory.
"I want the ball in my hand and I want to take big shots," Felton said. "That's just me. I want to be a leader."
A basket by Jamal Crawford drew New York within 91-88 with 2:15 remaining. Felton countered with a fallaway jumper 22 seconds later, a 19-footer with 1:18 left and then stripped New York rookie Nate Robinson with 70 seconds to play.
"He needed to make those plays in the end to make up for some of those things he didn't get done early," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said.
"You could see in practice and in training camp that he's a very good player," Voskuhl added. "In practice, the things you would see weren't really carrying over. Once we hit that All-Star break, he came out and kind of got on a tear. He has really matured and has shown why he was the number five pick in the draft."
Crawford had 24 points and six assists. Eddy Curry added 16 points and Qyntel Woods chipped in 14 for New York, which finished 15-26 at home and tied the franchise record for most losses in an 82-game season.