Tony Campbell

Houston can't hide from Harper

NEW YORK -- It didn't matter that Derek Harper was playing for the worst team in basketball. To Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, the trade that sent Harper from the Dallas Mavericks to the New York Knicks simply meant fewer regular-season encounters.

"Harper's been a real thorn in our side for years," Tomjanovich said. "When he came back East, we were very happy."

So it's not lost on the Rockets that the man they were glad to see leave the state of Texas could deny Houston its first NBA championship.

Harper has been the most consistent New York player through the four playoff games, and one of the main reasons the series is tied, 2-2, going...