It wasn't quite the Jets storming back against the Steelers in the second half on Sunday night, but the Knicks did a pretty fair impersonation at the Garden on Monday night.
The Wizards rallied back from a 13 points down by scoring 36 points in the second quarter and following the well-worn script of throwing balls off the backboard to set up easy offensive rebounds since the Knicks enjoy hitting the glass less than Charlie Sheen enjoys not hitting hookers. The breakdown was made even worse because the main drivers of the comeback were a pair of fellows named Mustafa Shakur and Trevor Booker, a.k.a. the Stockton and Malone of someone's demented fever dream.
It was a sign of how awful the Knicks have been recently that going to halftime with the score tied at 62 felt like a major accomplishment. The Wizards haven't won a single game on the road all season, mind you, but it looked like they'd be able to pull one off with a great deal of ease.
Thankully for the psyches of hardy Knicks fans, it didn't turn out that way. Amar'e Stoudemire played the Mark Sanchez role, stepping up to pick up his team when little else was going right. He scored 15 points in the third quarter, potted 30 for the game and even added five assists and four steals to make sure his team wouldn't enter Thursday's game with the Heat with a chance of falling below .500.
Encouraging as that was after a couple of mediocre outings by the big man, the Knicks also got a lift from Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton. Chandler spent the early part of the game looking like he was shooting at a basket covered by an invisible force field before he finally got one three to fall and opened the floodgates. He scored 25 points and, shockingly for the placid Chandler, showed some happiness that his slump came to an end. Sending a DVD of the performance to Denver probably made Donnie Walsh feel happy as well.
Felton stopped forcing shots, concentrated on distributing and saw his scoring touch return as a result. He hit Stoudemire with a few nifty no-look dishes, passes that force defenses to adjust and open up other avenues for scoring. His new approach also brought Danilo Gallinari into the mix for some key scores. Gallo nailed a couple of key jumpers during the fourth quarter run that finally lifted the Knicks to victory, but he made his mark by launching a late Oscar campaign on his drives to the hoop.
His performance in "Italian Forward Grabbing Foul Shots By Flopping Wildly" is sure to get noticed by the Academy. One only hopes that doing his own stunts doesn't lead to one of the stiff peaks on his head getting driven directly into his brain.
The Knicks were outshot from the field and the foul line and they were again outrebounded by a healthy margin, but they were still able to find a way to get a win. The fact that they were playing the Wizards helped, but sometimes you just need a win to get the momentum and confidence rolling your way again.
We'll find out if that's what happened on Thursday, although they could play better in all phases and still take a licking from the Heat.