So here’s a new formula for a Knicks win: contributions on both ends of the course from Ronny Turiaf and a somewhat slower offense, combined with a solid defensive effort, particularly in the second half. For one night, at least, Turiaf quieted the talk about the Knicks needing a big man with a season-high nineteen points — to quote Marcus Camby: “I know we didn’t expect Turiaf to do what he did tonight” — to go along with ten rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks.”
Portland hung around for a while in this one, even taking a 57–56 lead at one point in the third quarter. But the Knicks would eventually pull away for a 100-86 victory in which they held the Blazers to just 34.9 percent from the field on the night. Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t have his best night, but still did lead the team in scoring with 23 points, albeit on 9–23 shooting. Then there’s Raymond Felton, making his case for a spot on the All-Star team with seventeen points, fourteen assists, and no turnovers. Perhaps offense from Turiaf isn’t something the Knicks can count on, but stronger defense, and contributions from everyone in the starting five? That’s actually not that much to ask.
Oh, and Amar’e, if you’re reading this: Maybe cool it with the technicals. We’re getting too close, too early to automatic-suspension territory.