.500 Within Reach For Streaking Knicks
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CHARLOTTE (AP) – Raymond Felton felt good about beating his former team. Now he’s getting ready to do it again.
Felton will return to Charlotte on Wednesday night with the New York Knicks, who are looking for their first five-game win streak in five seasons along with a home-and-home sweep of the Bobcats.
The point guard signed a two-year deal in the offseason with New York (7-8) after spending his first five seasons with Charlotte (5-9). He’s adjusted well to playing for coach Mike D’Antoni, averaging career highs of 17.4 points and 7.6 assists.
Felton turned in a solid effort with 16 points and nine assists in New York’s 110-107 home victory over Charlotte on Tuesday. He made two free throws with 2.1 seconds left for the final margin.
“It’s a good feeling, no question about that, it’s a good feeling,” said Felton, a popular figure in North Carolina for helping the Tar Heels win the 2005 NCAA title.
Felton’s replacement with the Bobcats, D.J. Augustin, led all scorers with 24 points. Coach Larry Brown, though, had nothing but praise for Felton afterward.
“He’s great. I think what he brought to our team is something you can’t replace,” Brown said. “He plays hard every day, plays hurt, practices hard, he’s a great teammate and I’m thrilled for him. I think it’s worked out good for everybody. D.J.’s gotten an opportunity and he’s played well.”
The Knicks have not won five straight since a six-game run Jan. 2-13, 2006. This run comes on the heels of a six-game slide in which new power forward Amare Stoudemire criticized the team’s effort.
“It’s great, it lets you know we’re getting our confidence, especially down the stretch. So we’ve just got to continue to keep that confidence high,” Stoudemire said. “A night like tonight, guys stepped up big in the fourth, which was big for us because I got in a little foul trouble out there, and they stepped up. So we’ve got to go to Charlotte and try to do it again.”
Gerald Wallace scored 20 points and Stephen Jackson added 18. Jackson, who complained to the officials throughout the night, missed a desperation 3-pointer as time expired.
“A lot of stuff didn’t go the way I wanted tonight, but I’m not going to touch on that,” Jackson said. “It was a tough play, a long shot. I didn’t get my feet into it. It is what it is, the life of Stephen Jackson.”
The Knicks shot 52.1 percent, becoming the first Charlotte opponent to make half of its shots since Dallas connected on 54.7 percent in the Bobcats’ season opener. Charlotte trailed by 14 entering the fourth quarter.
“We just started playing harder,” Augustin said. “We’ve got to do that at the beginning of the game. If we played harder, it would have never gotten to that point. We should’ve fought harder.”
Knicks forward Danilo Gallinari has made 43 straight free throws, and can break the franchise record of 44 set by Chris Duhon in 2008.
The home team has won the last six meetings, with the Knicks losing their last three at Charlotte.
© 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.