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Knicks Top Lakers at MSG, Break 9-Game Losing Streak

Feb. 18, 1964 - If the Knicks were sick, they sure got well tonight at the Garden against the half-dead Lakers. After nine straight defeats, the Knicks battled back from a 12-pound third-period deficit to win, 118-117, against a Los Angeles team that appears to be in tough shape. This was the Lakers’ 12th defeat in the last 14 games since Jerry West first broke his thumb and their fifth in six games since his return. West, who still wears a protective encasement on his right thumb, looked recovered, as he scored 41. But Elgin Baylor made his 26 on a gimpy knee and still can’t go at full speed. Jump-shooting Dick Barnett helped out with 22, but that was just about the extent of the offense of this team that is headed for the Western division playoff.

The Knicks aren’t going anywhere, but they sure played a beautiful final 16 minutes to beat the Lakers for the second time in eight meetings before a crowd of 6,162. Johnny Egan (pictured) — back in action after missing three games with an ankle injury — Johnny Green, and Art Heyman picked the Knicks up in the third quarter; Bob Boozer and Billy McGill carried the club through the early stages of the final quarter, and Heyman and Green were the big men at the finish.

Over a 2½-minute stretch late in the game, after Los Angeles had pulled to within two, Heyman ran off seven straight Knick points. With 18 seconds remaining in the game and the Knicks’ margin down to one point, West drove down court to set up one of his patented jump shots off the dribble. As he left his feet with 11 seconds remaining, he appeared to be hit, and the ball popped weakly into the air straight above him. Referee Tom Birch called him for an “air dribble,” a violation similar to walking with the ball, and for the final seconds of the contest, Laker coach Fred Schaus screamed his anguish from the sideline. Green, in addition to being high scorer with 26 points, also led the Knicks with 16 rebounds.

The Lakers play the Detroit Pistons tomorrow night in Toledo, starting at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. The game will broadcast in Los Angeles over KHJ-TV.


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