The New York Knicks’ 100-92 victory over New Orleans Friday night was a big step toward convincing the skeptics — and themselves — that they really are a good basketball team.
The Knicks (11-9) had not defeated a winning team since toppling the Chicago Bulls on Nov. 4 and since then had slogged through a six-game losing streak and a gradual recovery. So yes, this victory — their third in a row and eighth in nine games — meant a little more than the rest.
“We knew this was going to be a game where we could measure ourselves to see how good we can be,” said Amar’e Stoudemire, who again led the way with 34 points and 10 rebounds. “And we could have played better. It’s a big win for us, definitely a great step in the right direction. And we’re really showing how good we can be.”
The Hornets entered the game 13-5. Even though they were playing without leading scorer David West (stomach virus) they were at home, and this is the best team the Knicks have defeated in a month.
Here is a little more reaction from ESPN.
Entering the game, the Hornets were 8-1 when Chris Paul dished out 10 assists or more. Well, tonight he had 10 (and 17 points), and the Knicks still won, 100-92, beating one of the league’s top teams at 13-5, thanks to arguably their best defensive half of the year. After being down 55-53 at the end of two, the Knicks held the Hornets to 20 points in the third quarter and 19 in the fourth quarter by clogging the middle, actively rotating and jumping out on shooters quickly.
The Knicks weren’t just dominant on defense. Amare Stoudemire had his third straight 30-point game with 34 and Raymond Felton continued to make his claim as an All-Star candidate, tallying 17 points and 13 assists. “I think the guys are starting to get a swagger and they think they can win anywhere,” Mike D’Antoni said.
Wow! A Mike D’Antoni team getting credit for playing defense. Amazing.