Rapid Reaction: Knicks 112, Thunder 98
December, 22, 2010
By Chris Sheridan | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
WHAT IT MEANS: The bleeding has stopped. The Knicks ended a three-game losing streak and did it in impressive fashion against one of the better teams from the Western Conference, showing how much better they can look coming off three days of rest than they did against the Cavs on Saturday night when they were playing the second night of a back-to-back -- which is what the Thunder were doing Wednesday. It was the Knicks' second-largest margin of victory at home this season, trailing only a 21-point victory over Washington in the fifth game of the season. The Knicks improved to .500 at home (7-7) in a game so lopsided that Timofey Mozgov got to play the final four minutes of garbage time.
TURNING POINT: The Thunder opened the second quarter with an 11-4 run to go ahead by eight, but the Knicks then went on a 20-8 run with Amare Stoudemire (23 points) playing alongside Ronny Turiaf (11 points). New York's lead jumped to 12 on a 3-pointer by Danilo Gallinari with 46 seconds left in the first half, and the tired legs of the Oklahoma City players could never mount a serious comeback in the second half.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Take your pick: Wilson Chandler was 9-for-15 from the field for 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists, Landry Fields had a team-high 10 rebounds -- one of which came on the offensive end and gave the Knicks a 101-84 lead early in the fourth that all but sealed it, and Raymond Felton added 12 points and 10 assists, becoming the first Knicks player since Stephon Marbury in January of 2004 to record 10 or more assists in five straight games.
BACK IN THE HOUSE: Knicks president Donnie Walsh was in attendance (but not in his usual seat, which was occupied by assistant GM Allan Houston) for the first time since undergoing hip replacement surgery, having been absent from Madison Square Garden since the Knicks lost to the Houston Rockets way back on Nov. 14 in the 10th game of the season. Walsh said it was the longest he could ever remember being away from the action, having missed a handful of games because of scouting trips during his 23 years with the Indiana Pacers.
WHAT'S NEXT: A noon matinee on Christmas Day against the Chicago Bulls. Dare we call it a first-round playoff preview between the teams most likely to finish 4th and 5th in the Eastern Conference? Right now, that's a stretch because the Bulls (19-9) are 3rd in the East, trailing only Boston (22-4) and Miami (21-9).