Knicks 92, 76ers 88
NEW YORK (AP)
As players keep dropping from the New York Knicks' frontcourt, Toney Douglas has picked a perfect time to solidify the backcourt.
Douglas scored 14 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, rallying the short-handed Knicks to a 92-88 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
A rookie guard who was recently elevated to the starting lineup, Douglas scored 13 straight Knicks points down the stretch, helping New York win despite missing starters David Lee and Wilson Chandler.
``It feels good we got the win,'' Douglas said. ``I was kind of in and out after foul trouble issues earlier. I just wanted to be aggressive when I got back on the court in the fourth quarter. I wanted to win this game so bad.''
Danilo Gallinari scored 25 points, and Bill Walker added 15 for the Knicks, who returned from a five-game trip to beat the 76ers for the second time in five days. They won 94-84 in Philadelphia on Monday night after dominating the second half.
Elton Brand scored 19 points, and Andre Iguodala had 17 for the 76ers, who have lost six of seven.
``Basically we had control of this game two or three times and to lose like that is just disheartening,'' Brand said.
Lee was scratched minutes before the game with right knee tendinitis, and with Eddy Curry still not ready to return from a sore right calf, the Knicks gave Jonathan Bender his first start since March 21, 2003, at center. However, Bender broke his left ring finger in the first half and will miss the rest of the season.
That left the Knicks with little size and forced them to play some zone defense in the fourth quarter, yet they outrebounded the bigger Sixers 50-37.
Making matters worse, New York was also without starting forward Chandler (sore left groin). And Tracy McGrady, who will face his old Houston teammates Sunday, had nothing offensively, going 0 for 7 in 29 minutes.
Still, New York battled back to seize a 79-78 lead midway through the fourth quarter after Douglas capped a 12-2 spurt with a 3-pointer. Douglas nailed another 3 to tie it at 85 with 2:05 to play, made two free throws to give the Knicks the lead, then came up with a steal and layup for an 89-86 edge with 55 seconds remaining.
He forced a turnover that Walker turned into two free throws for a five-point lead. After Lou Williams' basket, Philadelphia had a chance to tie, but Iguodala was short on a 3-pointer. Douglas clinched it with one free throw.
Douglas scored 20 points in Monday's win at Philadelphia and helped the Knicks win the season series for the first time since 2004-05, when they also went 3-1. He is averaging 18.5 points in four games since joining the starting lineup.
``He was terrific. Mostly defense is heart and brains, and he has both. A good combo and he's quick,'' Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. ``The biggest thing is he wants to do it. When you put you mind to it like he does and he's always ready, good things happen.''
Philadelphia coach Eddie Jordan told the 76ers he was to blame for not getting them in the right spots to attack the zone, but the players said it was their responsibility to handle it.
``We've been through a lot of ups and downs, we've seen just about everything this year, so we should be ready for that as well,'' Iguodala said.
The Knicks missed eight of their first nine shots and couldn't stop Brand on the other end. He scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first quarter, helping the 76ers open a 26-15 lead. Brand had 17 points and shot 7 of 11 in the first half, but Philadelphia sort of forgot about him after halftime, when the power forward managed only two points and four shots.
He felt he could have kept scoring, or found open men when he was double-teamed.
``I'm not out there just fully a black hole, I pass the ball,'' Brand said. So I definitely would like some more touches in that situation because they know I'm hot, so they're going to pay attention to me.''
Philadelphia extended it to 41-29 midway through the second on Jason Kapono's 3-pointer before the Knicks got their offense rolling. New York shot 55 percent in the period and rallied to tie it at 48 before Jrue Holiday banked in a jumper with 1.3 seconds left to give the Sixers a two-point halftime lead.
NOTES: U.S. Olympic gold medalist skier Lindsey Vonn was at the game. ... The road team won every game before Friday's game. ... Philadelphia's Marreese Speights briefly played after missing the last six games with a right knee sprain. Thaddeus Young (broken right thumb) is still out.