Henry James, who didn’t play until the fourth quarter, made seven 3-pointers as the Atlanta Hawks scored 48 points in the final period to gain a key victory in the playoff race, stunning New Jersey 109-101 Tuesday night.
The Hawks trailed 80-61 at the end of the third quarter and seemed to be finished. During the break, coach Lenny Wilkens barely said a word to his players, who sat on the bench with their heads bowed.
But James entered the game in the fourth period and brought the Hawks back with an amazing display of shooting. He tied the NBA record for 3-pointers in a quarter, set this season by teammate Steve Smith, and in a half, even though he played only 10 minutes.
Atlanta’s victory gave it a one-game lead on the New York Knicks for third place in the Eastern Conference, which would ensure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and put off a possible meeting with the Chicago Bulls until the conference finals. The two teams play tonight at New York.
James led Atlanta with 24 points, hitting seven 3-pointers and scoring his other points when he drew a three-shot foul.
Jazz 127, Suns 122
Karl Malone had 31 points and 11 rebounds, and Jeff Hornacek and John Stockton made key 3-pointers as Utah set a franchise record for victories.
Hornacek, who had 27 points, gave the Jazz breathing room for the first time since early in the final period when his long shot gave them a 117-113 lead with 1:25 to play.
With 57 seconds to go, Stockton made it 120-115 with a 3-pointer, then got an offensive rebound and hit two free throws 25 seconds later to make it 122-118.
Hornacek added three free throws in the final 15 seconds to ice the Jazz’s 21st win in 23 games.
The win was No. 61 for the Jazz, a franchise record that bettered the 60-22 mark of the 1994-95 team.
Chicago Bulls forward Toni Kukoc says his strained right foot won’t prevent him from being ready for the playoffs, even though he was placed on the injured list Sunday. He hasn’t played since April 3 and has missed 23 games this season due to the injury… . Forward Lorenzen Wright of the Los Angeles Clippers was suspended one game without pay by the NBA and was fined $5,000 for elbowing Shawn Bradley in Monday night’s game at Dallas… . The Sacramento Kings placed swingman Kevin Gamble on the injured list with a strained lower back and replaced him with Jeff Grayer.
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