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Saturday, April 14, 2012
Steve Novak: 'Who's number 47?'

By Jared Zwerling

NEW YORK -- In one of the most surreal chants you'll ever hear in any arena started in the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden Friday night.

"For-ty seven, for-ty seven ..."

Even Steve Novak had no idea what it was all about. But then he looked up at the scoreboard and realized what it was referencing: how many points the Wizards had at that point -- and for a while.

"I was like, 'Who's number 47?'" Novak said. "That's honestly what I was thinking. Then I figured it out. I don't think I've heard that before."

From 7:03 in the third quarter to 6:43 in the fourth, the Wizards did not have a single field goal. More than 12 minutes.

The Knicks' defense has been dynamite since March 14, when Mike Woodson replaced Mike D'Antoni, as they've been holding opponents to 90.3 points per game -- the third-best mark in the league during that span. But tonight they were even better. They held the Wizards to only 13 first-quarter points, and only one period (the second) to 20 points or more.

After the game, Novak discussed some of the finer details that have been making the Knicks' D that much more lethal recently.

"I think when [Woodson] first took over, more than anything he really just set an intensity of defense that we played," he said. "And just like the team togetherness. If a guy gets beat, it's like somebody's right there. Everybody finds a way to get stops. Comfort and communication is a big part of it, too, because sometimes when you switch, it's like should we or should we not? As the season's gone on, I think we've gotten a feel for each other. I think that's evolved."

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