The Knicks avoided losing both ends of a home-and-home against the 76ers, beating their Atlantic Divison rival (and neighbor in the Eastern Conference standings) pretty handily at Madison Square Garden. While New York still struggled to stop Elton Brand (28 points after a 33-point outing on Friday), the addition of Timofey Mozgov into the starting lineup helped them defend and rebound much better than they did previously. After a fourth quarter collapse in Philadelphia, New York put much greater effort into getting over screens, contesting shots, and forcing turnovers.
On top of improved defense, New York's offense was firing on all cylinders. The team shot 60 percent from the field, including 11-of-27 from 3-point range. The downtown barrage was keyed by Landry Fields, who reached his career-high of 25 points by nailing five threes, including three in the fourth quarter. The Knicks' number one weapon, though, was Amar'e Stoudemire, who reached a season-high of 41 points with astounding efficiency. Stoudemire shot 17-of-21 from the field, finally out-performing Brand with a flurry of dribble drives, post moves, and mid-range jumpers.
New York's win helped cement their spot as the sixth seed in the East, at least for the time being. Philadelphia now sits three games behind them in the standings. The Clippers and Lakers are up next on the Knicks' schedule.
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