Weatherspoon scored 10 of his season-high 18 points in the fourth quarter and Ward made two key free throws as the New York Knicks handed the Hawks their 10th loss in 12 games, 95-92.
“I was able to get some open shots on the baseline,” Weatherspoon said. “If your number is called, you have to go for the shot. I played with great energy today and helped the team get a win.”
After Allan Houston missed a jumper with 24 seconds left, the Atlanta grabbed the rebound and called timeout. But Shareef Abdur-Rahim airballed a jumper from just outside the right side of the paint with five seconds left.
“On the play with Reef, I wanted to get the ball to him,” Hawks coach Terry Stotts said. “I thought he had some good looks in the paint that kind of rolled in and out. Being down one, I thought we had a chance to either score or get fouled. He was surrounded by three shooters. We had Dan (Dickau), JT and Glenn on the perimeter.”
Ward grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He calmly sank both free throws to give the Knicks a 95-92 edge with 4.3 seconds left and, after a Hawks’ timeout, Terry rimmed out a 3-pointer. Dickau grabbed the rebound and found Robinson open from the arc, but he could not get off a shot before the buzzer.
“I thought it was going to be good,” Terry said. “I shoot them all the time. Coach drew up a good play. Alan Henderson got me the ball the way we drew it up. It looked good, it just didn’t go.”
“We had a shot for the win,” Robinson said. “If we do that every night, we’ll win our share of games.”
“It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to get it in the end,” Houston said. “Everybody made their contribution, especially Spoon and Othella. They made big contributions down the stretch to get us the win.”
“It’s good to see guys who don’t get the ball a whole lot get involved in the scoring,” Knicks coach Don Chaney added. “I think it’s great. Clarence stepped up. I thought Othella stepped up big-time. Charlie made some great plays. They all contributed.”
Robinson led all scorers with 27 points and Terry added 17 and 11 assists for the Hawks, who lost to New York for just the second time in the last eight home games.
The Hawks outshot the Knicks, 45 percent to 41 percent, and held a 48-41 rebounding advantage. But New York made seven 3-pointers to Atlanta’s three and committed just 10 turnovers to the Hawks’ 15.
Atlanta led, 26-23, after one quarter before New York took a 49-45 edge into the break. The Knicks led by as many as 10 points midway through the third quarter and 70-61 after a dunk by Latrell Sprewell with 2:59 left in the period.
“I thought we played a good game,” Stotts said. “It was a good effort. After the sluggish start to the third quarter, we responded well. The bench came in and gave us a spark in the second half.”
But the Hawks scored the final 11 points in the third quarter and the first four of the fourth, taking their biggest lead, 76-70, on a layup by Nazr Mohammed with 10 minutes to play.
The Knicks tied it, 77-77, on a 3-pointer by Ward with 8:42 left before Darvin Ham scored on a dunk and made a free throw to give the Hawks an 84-81 edge with 6:04 to go.
New York countered with a 10-2 run, taking a 91-86 lead on a layup by Harrington with 3:20 left. Harrington and Weatherspoon each scored four points during the burst.
“It’s disappointing,” Terry said. “We definitely blew an opportunity to take advantage and get a win.”