WHAT IT MEANS: The Knicks haven't had a five-game winning streak since Larry Brown was their coach back in Jan. 2006, but they are on the verge of accomplishing that feat again. And they'll get a chance to go for it against Brown on Wednesday night in Charlotte, when these teams play the second game of a back-to-back against each other. New York survived two fourth-quarter rallies by Charlotte, shooting just 6-for-18 in the period, but the Knicks made 24 of 25 free throws and got the job done on the defensive end with 10 steals and nine blocks. They've now won four games in a row after a six-game losing streak to improve to 7-8 on the year, one win away from getting back to .500.
TURNING POINT: The Bobcats opened the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run and pulled within two after trailing by as many as 16. And it was 94-91 when the Knicks missed, the Bobcats rebounded the ball and then Landry Fields swiped a lazy outlet pass and turned it into a layup. Danilo Gallinari then came up with a steal, and Fields dunked a miss by Felton to make it a seven-point lead. Felton's two free throws with 2.1 seconds left gave him 16 points (with nine assists) and forced Charlotte to try for a 3-pointer at the end, but the Bobcats couldn't get the shot off in time.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Fields scored seven points in the fourth quarter, Toney Douglas came off the bench to score 22 with three steals, and Ronny Turiaf made all six of his shots from the field in scoring 12 points with two steals and two blocks. Those contributions were key on a night when Amare Stoudemire was in foul trouble and was more or less a non-factor in the decisive fourth quarter.
HELP ON THE WAY: Kelenna Azubuike was evasive when asked for a target date for his return from left-knee surgery, but he said it was not unreasonable to believe that he could be on the court in two weeks. Azubuike, who has been scrimmaging with the team in practice, is a career 41 percent shooter from 3-point range. He would immediately compete for the minutes currently going to Bill Walker, who began the night shooting just 8-for-25 from 3-point range while appearing in 13 of New York's 15 games so far.
WHAT'S NEXT: These teams won't have to wait long to see each other, as they play Wednesday night in Charlotte. It'll be a homecoming for Felton, who said he was procuring 500 tickets for friends and family -- including his grandmother Jessie, 77, who will make the drive up from Sellers, S.C., to see her grandson play in person for the first time since he was in high school.