As ugly as commuting was outside, it was even uglier inside the Garden. If you like airballs, sloppy passing and impotent shooting percentages, then last night was your type of game because the first quarter alone featured three airballs, a combined 32 percent shooting and New York missing seven of its first eight shots.
Nevertheless, the Knicks still managed to eke out the tenuous 98-94 win behind 26 points from Wilson Chandler. It should’ve been easier with Gerald Wallace out and Stephen Jackson coming out of the game with back ailments early in the third quarter, but it was the Knicks’ modus operandi to make the simple seem difficult. Naturally, they’ll take the win, as they gained a game on Charlotte in the standings. David Lee was also solid, recording 15 points and 15 rebounds, while Danilo Gallinari added 21 points and a huge blocked shot in the waning seconds.
Three Things We Saw Last Night:
1. The Knicks couldn’t capitalize early, despite the Bobcats playing without high-flying forward Gerald Wallace [headaches]. Wallace, a small forward, is averaging 12.3 rebounds per game – good for second in the NBA. What should’ve been a huge gain for New York turned into early struggles, as they missed seven of their first eight shots. Their shot was astray, as they started off shooting 33 percent from the field, including two airballs. If not for Charlotte’s own ineptness [31 percent], New York would’ve been in for a long night.
2. Jonathan Bender has proved to be a nice boost for the Knicks’ bench during his brief tenure so far. Bender’s first seven minutes of action featured two 3’s and active defense. He finished with 11 points, including three long balls. It’s ironic that Bender was signed off the street last week – not yet in NBA shape – but he’s finding more playing time than Nate Robinson.
3. Unlike last week’s streak-busting defeat in Charlotte, the Knicks found a way to hold off the surging Bobcats. The last time out, New York blew a 12-point fourth-quarter lead but in this fourth quarter, New York showed its mettle. Danilo Gallinari was key, as he knocked down two huge 3’s with four minutes remaining and stretched out to make a massive block as the seconds ticked down.