The Knicks entered Sunday’s matinee against the Hornets on a rare three-game skid, and in need of some offensive infusion. They got it from an unlikely source — 28-year-old rookie Chris Copeland.
The Orange, N.J. native made just his fourth career start and took advantage of his minutes in helping the Knicks hold off a feisty Hornets team, 100-87. Copeland, who was the last man to make the Knicks’ roster following a competitive training camp, tallied 22 points.
“It’s huge [the win], but we were very confident coming into this game that we were going to get this win,” said Copeland. “We were locked in early.”
New York (24-12) ended their longest losing streak under Mike Woodson by turning to Copeland almost out of necessity. Both Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace are battling foot injuries and are out indefinitely, the scoring load is being placed almost entirely on Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire is still working his way back.
“My teammates, they were out there looking out for me on the floor and
telling me to be aggressive,” Copeland said. “And it all paid off. It
was a great win.”
Woodson was certainly impressed with his rookie, which is a big
accomplishment considering the coach rarely trusts younger players.
“I thought Cope was great,” said Woodson. “You give him an opportunity
to start again and he stepped up and made plays offensively. He was just
» Amar’e Stoudemire added 12 points on 3-of-6 shooting in 23 minutes of action, just days after Woodson was told by the trainers to reduce the power forward’s minutes.
»The Knicks only had three players in double digit scoring, again showcasing how limited their offense can be if Anthony isn’t scoring. Anthony’s usual sidekick, J.R. Smith, registered only eight points on just 3-of-11 shooting.
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.