By Sean Hartnett
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Down by 12 points with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Knicks floor general Raymond Felton kicked his game into an extra gear.
Felton started hot, but caught fire in the fourth quarter as he orchestrated the Knicks’ improbable comeback. Big-man Tiago Splitter scored each of San Antonio’s opening 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Spurs appeared to be cruising to victory.
It was going to take an extraordinary momentum swing for the Knicks to get back into a game they trailed by double-digits, in a building where road wins are hard to come by.
Felton took charge and willed the Knicks to a 104-100 victory. He drove into the paint and attacked Tony Parker. Felton dished and dazzled finding open shooters in the right spots as the Knicks went on a 27-11 run to finish the game.
“Raymond was huge tonight in terms of his play offensively,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said during his postgame press conference.
His confidence rubbed off on his teammates as they sunk clutch shots as the game turned on its head. Jason Kidd and J.R. Smith hit crucial three pointers late in the fourth quarter as the Knicks shocked a Spurs team that was 28-5 at the AT&T Center last year.
“Everybody contributed, everybody was doing a great job, everybody had a part,” Felton told reporters following the victory. “J-Kidd hit a lot of big shots for us at the end. Everybody was contributed tonight without a doubt.”
Felton finished the game with 25 points and seven assists. He was an efficient 10-for-20 from the field and 2-for-4 from three point range. There’s something about the Knicks uniform that brings the best out of Felton.
It’s been a wonderful resurgence for Felton, who was reviled in Portland for his poor performances for the Trail Blazers after showing up overweight following the lockout.
Now, Felton is back where he wants to be representing the Knicks. He’s aggressively driving into the paint and finding teammates in high-percentage areas.
“It shows me that this team is for real,” Woodson stated. “We beat a great team tonight — a well-coached team. It’s the first time I’ve ever won in San Antonio, so I feel pretty good about that. It’s tough to win here.”
Felton is turning doubters in believers. He has the Knicks clicking and charging toward maintaining a perfect record as they head into Memphis on Friday night.
How important has Felton been in the Knicks’ 6-0 start? Sound off below and send your tweets to @HartnettWFAN.