BRINGING THAT OG KNICKS TEAM HEART BACK TO KO
The last time the New York Knicks won six straight road games, first-year New Orleans coach Monty Williams was a rookie playing for New York.
The Knicks will try to accomplish that feat Friday night when they try to hand Williams' Hornets a rare home loss.
New York (10-9) is over .500 this late in the season for the first time since it was 16-15 on Jan. 4, 2005. The Knicks have won seven of eight overall after beating New Jersey 111-100 on Tuesday.
"We are playing better and we can see we can get a lot better than this," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We're all excited now, but reality is we'll go to New Orleans on Friday. That's going to be hard to win."
The Knicks haven't won six straight on the road since a seven-game run Dec. 27, 1994-Jan. 22, 1995. Williams, a first-round pick by New York in 1994, played sparingly as a reserve that season.
He's now coaching a New Orleans (13-5) team that's been a surprise after winning 37 games last season. The Hornets are tied for the best home record in the NBA with an 8-1 mark after beating Charlotte 89-73 on Wednesday.
"The hometown crowd is great," center Emeka Okafor said. "It gave us that boost that we needed."
Under Williams, the Hornets are a vastly improved defensive team. They are near the top of the league in limiting opponents to 43.1 percent shooting after last season's 48.3 percent mark -- the NBA's third-worst.
Defense was the key Wednesday, as the Hornets limited the Bobcats to 40.8 percent from the field. New Orleans outscored Charlotte 24-11 in the fourth quarter.
"It's not going to be pretty all the time," Williams said. "As a coach you'd like to have everything look nice and execute offense and guys come off screens and hit jump shots, but in the NBA you are going to have games like that and we are just glad we came out on the winning side."
David West scored 22 points and Chris Paul handed out 14 assists.
Paul will renew a rivalry with Knicks point guard Raymond Felton that began in college when the former was at Wake Forest and the latter at North Carolina. The two were drafted fourth and fifth, respectively, in 2005, and Paul has blossomed into a three-time All-Star.
Felton, though, is enjoying the best season of his career in his first one with New York. He's averaging 18.2 points and 8.1 assists as he gets accustomed to playing with Amare Stoudemire, who's averaging 36.0 points the last two games.
"I think he's getting more comfortable with what we're doing," said D'Antoni about Felton. "We're getting better spacing. There's a timing between the two that they have to develop. You never know if they will and they have."
Stoudemire averaged 26.3 points on 62.7 percent shooting last season against the Hornets while with Phoenix, although he should be challenged by their improved defense.
The Knicks have won four straight over New Orleans, overcoming Paul's averages of 22.5 points and 10.8 assists in those games.
Starting Line Up NYK
And everyone else on the Hornets
Good Luck Charms
NOW LETS GET THIS MOTHA ****IN WIN