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Sunday, December 16, 2012
Notebook: Knicks reflect on last play

By Jared Zwerling

Steve Novak was all smiles after the Cavaliers game, looking back on Anderson Varejao's second free throw attempt.

"No one was happier that he missed than I was," he said in the postgame locker room.

That miss propelled the Knicks to the 103-102 victory. After the game, Tyson Chandler shared the defensive strategy on the Cavaliers' last possession, which forced Kyrie Irving to pass to Varejao, who then got fouled on a drive. Chandler said he planned to double team Irving, who had a career-high 41 points at that point.

"We wanted to see somebody else make a play because knowing Kyrie, he was going to go for the win and pull up the 3," the center said. "Even if Varejao makes two free throws, I'd rather him make two free throws and go to overtime than Kyrie win the game. He had already made three 3s."

UNBEATEN AT MSG: The Knicks' 10-0 home record is the NBA's only undefeated mark. In fact, it's their best start at the Garden since 1991-92, when they went 11-0. Raymond Felton chimed in on what's been working.

"You've got to protect your house," he said. "The fans have been great, supporting us and giving us that extra energy when we're down or when we don't have the energy. The fans uplift us a whole lot, so I've got to give big ups to the fans."

COPE'S BIG NIGHT: Chris Copeland made his first NBA start on Saturday night, and he didn't disappoint, putting up a Melo-like first quarter with eight points.

"He did an excellent job coming in," Chandler said. "He didn't know he was going to start, let alone he didn't know if he was going to play until about an hour before the game. So to be thrusted into the lineup like that and be ready shows his professionalism."

NOVAKAINE! Novak's 3-point prowess can quickly change the pace of a game, and help the Knicks go on a run and take a lead. Case in point: His first two 3-pointers -- one at the end of the first quarter and the other at the start of the second -- gave the Knicks a key 30-28 lead. He also helped them establish their 48-45 halftime lead.

"He played unbelievable tonight," Chandler said. "He hit big shot after big shot, really keeping us rolling. He's been doing an excellent job throughout the season. Even his rotations were a lot better tonight defensively as well."

KNICKS PRAISE KYRIE: After his career night, Chandler said this about Irving: "The sky's the limit for that kid."

Both Chandler and Mike Woodson said the Cavaliers point guard could've played on this summer's Team USA in London.

"He's phenomenal," the coach said, stealing a favorite word from Amar'e Stoudemire's vocabulary. "I had an opportunity to watch him this summer at the Olympic tryouts. Him competing against LeBron (James) and Melo, I thought he was the bright spot. He could easily have played on that team."

KNICKS HONOR JOHN ANDARIESE: During the game, the Knicks paid tribute to the team's legendary TV and radio announcer, known as "Johnny Hoops," who retired before the start of the season after 40 years on the job.

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