Published November 20, 2014
J.R. Smith scored 22 points, Amare Stoudemire had 21 and the New York Knicks locked up the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 104-84 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday night.
The Bobcats, meanwhile, lost their franchise-record 23rd straight game to end the season with the worst winning percentage in NBA history.
They went 7-59 for a .106 winning percentage, taking the dubious mantle from the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who were 9-73 for a .110 winning percentage.
Just one more win would have kept them from setting the mark.
"We felt like we could have got at least one more," said Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson, who scored 21 points to lead the team. "That's the way it went and we did it together, so we all take responsibility."
The Knicks won five of their last six games to finish 36-30 and will face the Miami Heat in the first round. They were 0-3 against the Heat in the regular season.
"We understand who we're playing," said Stoudemire.
Josh Harrellson added a career-high 18 points for New York while Jerome Jordan scored 13 and Iman Shumpert had 12. The Knicks rested Carmelo Anthony and some others despite a scenario in which they could have dropped to No. 8 behind the Philadelphia 76ers.
New York had a 23-20 lead after the first quarter on the strength of 10 points from Stoudemire. Smith scored 15 in the half for the Knicks, leading them to a 46-44 edge at the break.
They shot a scorching 61.9 percent in the third quarter, pouring it on to take a 76-63 lead into the fourth after Stoudemire's layup in the final seconds.
The Bobcats, with a dubious record to avoid, never trimmed their deficit under double digits in the final 12 minutes and the Knicks went up by as many as 23 on Jordan's alley-oop dunk late.
The Bobcats beat the Knicks for their second win of the season on Jan. 4 but dropped the last three meetings between the teams. They also defeated the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic, New Orleans Hornets and the Toronto Raptors twice. Their final win came over Toronto on March 17.