Knicks 113, Kings 106

The way the New York Knicks started the game, it sure appeared

as though they were headed for a seventh straight loss.

Then somehow they found their shooting stroke and came through

with a much-needed win.

Amare Stoudemire and Danilo Gallinari each scored 27 points to

help the Knicks overcome a slow start to snap a six-game losing

streak with a 113-106 victory over the Sacramento Kings on

Wednesday night.

”We felt a little tight obviously when we started – a little

lethargic and tight,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. ”We got way

behind but we fought back. We started making shots and we took

off.”

Raymond Felton added 16 points for the Knicks, who were the

stronger team down the stretch despite playing for the second

straight night. Stoudemire had 10 rebounds, Toney Douglas sparked

New York off the bench with 14 points and Gallinari made a

career-high 16 foul shots.

It was another rough game for the young Kings, who gave the

Knicks far too many open looks and easy points at the foul line in

losing their sixth straight overall and fifth in a row at home.

”We mixed in some excellent basketball with some sub-sixth

grade basketball,” coach Paul Westphal said. ”It was

indescribably bad. It’s really hard to find any middle ground for

us. We’re looking for some consistency and it didn’t happen

tonight.”

After trailing by 15 points early, the Knicks went on a torrid

shooting spree to take a 93-81 lead early in the fourth on a long

jumper by Douglas. That basket was New York’s 29th in 38 attempts

since late in the first quarter – a 76 percent shooting clip that

exposed Sacramento’s defensive woes this season.

Little-used Donte Greene then sparked a 9-0 run with a 3-pointer

in just his third game since starting the season opener as the

Kings closed to 93-90. A dunk by Carl Landry made it a two-point

game, but the Knicks responded with a 9-2 run capped by an emphatic

one-handed dunk by Stoudemire.

Beno Udrih then scored five quick points for the Kings. But

Felton hit a jumper and Tyreke Evans missed a shot and turned the

ball over. That ended Sacramento’s hopes at a comeback and gave the

Knicks the win a night after losing a close game in Denver.

”We have to get used to this feeling,” Stoudemire said.

”Tonight was a night where we showed progress from the Denver

game. We played well in that game. Tonight we carried it over. We

have to keep this swagger and this mentality and go on to the next

one.”

Evans scored 23 points to lead the Kings. Landry added 21 and

Udrih scored 18.

Both teams juggled their lineups in hopes of snapping their

skids with the Kings starting Luther Head and Jason Thompson in

place of Udrih and Omri Casspi, and the Knicks going with Ronny

Turiaf instead of Timofey Mozgov.

The moves appeared to pay off for the Kings early, or it could

have just been the effects of the Knicks playing a night after

losing in Denver.

New York opened the game shooting 3 for 21 and fell behind by 15

points in the final minute of the first quarter. But the Knicks

quickly found their stroke after that, hitting 13 of 17 shots in

the second quarter. They took the lead with a 17-2 run early in the

second, capped by a 3-pointer by Douglas.

”We knew we could play better,” Stoudemire said. ”We didn’t

start off well. We didn’t shoot the ball well to start off. We have

great confidence of what we can bring to the table. We just stuck

with it.”

The Knicks led 54-49 at the break – the 10th straight game this

season Sacramento has trailed at the half.

”We have to go back to the drawing board and play better

defense,” Landry said. ”Defense is what wins games in the NBA. We

weren’t playing like a team in the second quarter and lost our

focus on defense. The first quarter was fine but the second quarter

got away from us.”

Notes: Knicks F Anthony Randolph did not play despite being

healthy for the first time this season. ”We won. That’s all that

matters,” he said. … Thompson got the start two games after not

playing at all despite being healthy. … Felton and Stoudemire

each got called for technical fouls. … The Knicks were called for

travels on successive trips twice in the third quarter. … The

Kings already matched last season’s longest home losing streak just

six games into their home schedule.