The Landlord collects rent on Monday night

March, 29, 2011
3/29/11
8:30
AM ET
In New York, nobody likes the Landlord. With one exception.

Reserve forward Shelden Williams – nicknamed “The Landlord” for his strong interior play as a college player at Duke – endeared himself to Knicks fans on Monday night with a tenacious effort against Orlando’s Dwight Howard.

With Williams’ help, the Knicks limited Howard to just four points in the first half. Howard scored his first field goal with 10:32 to go in the third quarter. He finished strong, with 29 points and 18 rebounds. But Williams hindered the Orlando All-Star all night in the Knicks’ 113-106 overtime win.

“He was just banging and pounding him just as well as you can go against Dwight,” Mike D’Antoni said after Williams' effort on Howard helped New York snap a six-game losing streak.

Williams finished with three rebounds and two steals in 15:51, fouling out with 1:05 to play in the fourth quarter. The stat line isn’t pretty. But Williams gave the Knicks an intangible toughness that had been mostly missing over the past two weeks.

“He played some pretty good defense at times,” Howard said of Williams. “He moved his feet and he didn’t foul.”

Howard came in averaging 25.8 points (on 67.1 percent shooting) and 14.0 rebounds during Orlando's six-game win streak over New York. He matched those numbers on Monday but picked up a costly technical foul with 1:17 to play in overtime after arguing over his sixth foul.

Was Howard frustrated in part by Williams' defense? He wasn't saying.

Either way, Chauncey Billups knocked down the subsequent free-throw to put the Knicks up, 109-106.

Williams, who was obtained in the three-team, 13-player deal that landed Anthony in New York, has played in nine of 17 games with the Knicks, averaging 11.3 minutes per game. D’Antoni has used Williams to provide an inside presence when Stoudemire sits at the four-minute mark of the first quarter.

Williams was a DNP-CD in his first three games in New York. At one point, he expressed frustration over his inactivity. But, it seems like Williams has found a niche. At least, as long asRonny Turiaf is hampered by a sore left ankle.

"I like this," D'Antoni said. "Hopefully we can stick with this a little bit."

Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
24.1 3.1 0.9 35.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.0
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.6
StealsS. Larkin 1.3
BlocksL. Amundson 1.9