NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Phil Jackson is off to quite a start in New York.
His introduction Tuesday was met with rave reviews, he’s already mending the Knicks’ oft-chilly relationship with the media and he was on hand Wednesday to watch his team get the best of the 50-win Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden.
And the fans are responding.
They stood for Jackson in the first quarter and were on their feet again in the final minute to watch the Knicks beat the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year.
“There’s energy in the city. Bringing Phil back is huge for this franchise I think,” coach Mike Woodson said after the 92-86 win. “But I’ve got to give a lot of credit to those guys in the locker room too, because again, we’re battling. We’ve dug a hole and we’re trying to dig our way out of the hole.”
Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and New York opened the Jackson era with its season-high seventh straight victory. Amar’e Stoudemire added 21 points and Tyson Chandler grabbed 14 rebounds for the Knicks, just 16-20 at home and four games behind Atlanta for the final East playoff spot.
With Jackson, their new team president, watching from a midcourt seat, the Knicks dominated the first half, then pulled away after the Eastern Conference leaders finally got untracked in the second.
“With a guy like that around it creates a winning mentality, it creates an atmosphere that’s pretty golden and we’ve got to capitalize on that,” Stoudemire said.
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