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Cavs continue in doldrums



Published: Sat, March 8, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Cleveland's road losing streak on the road was extended to 11 games.

NEW YORK (AP) -- If the New York Knicks somehow manage to make the playoffs, Antonio McDyess will not be joining them.

Allan Houston scored 25 points and Latrell Sprewell hit a key 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter, to lead the Knicks past the Cleveland Cavaliers 89-80 Tuesday on a night when McDyess all but ruled out returning before next season.

McDyess said he is targeting July for his return to the basketball court after fracturing his kneecap in the Knicks' third exhibition game. The team had already ruled him out for the season, but there had been speculation -- including from McDyess himself -- that he might return earlier.

"No, it's not a surprise," Sprewell said. "We pretty much felt they would hold him out, and if he feels like he's not ready, then obviously we don't want to force him."

The Knicks improved to 26-34, 10th in the East, with the victory over the team with the league's worst record.

Celtics next

New York, four games behind eighth-place Milwaukee for the final playoff spot in the conference, now takes a six-game road losing streak into tonight's game at Boston. The Celtics have defeated the Knicks seven consecutive times.

"I think we understand the position we're in. We're not throwing the season away, we're trying to make the playoffs, and these games are important," Sprewell said.

Houston scored eight of his points in the fourth quarter when the Knicks had some trouble. After the referees missed an 8-second back-court violation on Houston, Sprewell hit a 3-pointer with 1:32 remaining for an 84-78 lead.

Shandon Anderson then stole the ball from Darius Miles, leading to two free throws that ended Cleveland's threat.

The Cavs lost for the ninth time in 10 games and dropped to 0-11 on the road against Atlantic Division teams.

Ricky Davis, held out of the starting lineup by coach Keith Smart, led Cleveland with 24 points.




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