Chauncey Billups missed the game yesterday against the New Orleans Hornets after being injured Tuesday night, and ironically missed playing against the man rumored to replace him for the New York Knicks, Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets. Toney Douglas stepped into the starting lineup, and had his second impressive outing with the new-look Knicks, scoring a team-high 24 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds, while also holding Paul to 4 points on 2-7 shooting in a 107-88 game that was essentially over in the third quarter in front of a sellout crowd of 19,763 that included former New York Giants star and current FOX NFL analyst Michael Strahan, Nicole Murphy, New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, and actress Vanessa Hudgens.
Douglas was told to stay aggressive by Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni and many players as well. “He kind of set the tone for us. His first points got us off and obviously we got shots tonight” Coach D’Antoni said after the game. Amar’e Stoudemire also talked about the aggressiveness of the second-year guard. “He was being aggressive which is great for us. He is a good scorer at the point guard position. I talked to him before the game and told him that he is blessed with such great veteran players like Chauncey, Carmelo, and myself. I think he took those words into consideration and played great.” Carmelo Anthony spoke highly of Douglas and his performance as well. “Tonight he stepped up big for Chauncey. Going up against a great point guard like Chris Paul, he took that challenge. He took some big shots, played D. He had a great game for us.”
The Knicks took an early six-point first quarter lead on a Douglas jumper with 7:29 left, but the Hornets battled back to tie the game near the end of the first quarter on a David West jump shot with 1:30 left. It was toward the end of the second quarter that the Knicks stretched the lead to double digits, talking a 52-42 lead into the half. The Hornets would get no closer than 8 in the second half, and the Knicks would lead by as many as 23, on their way to an easy victory that saw Carmelo Anthony and Ronny Turiaf sit out the fourth quarter.
Stoudemire also scored 24 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists. Anthony scored 22 points, with 4 rebounds and 4 assists, and Landry Fields scored 10 points and handed out 4 assists. Shawne Williams came off the bench to score 16 points and grab 4 rebounds.
Jarrett Jack came off the bench to lead the Hornets with 21 points and 5 rebounds, while David West scored 16 points and grabbed 5 rebounds, but shot 6-16 from the field. Quincy Pondexter scored 14 points off the bench. Paul finished with 4 points and 10 assists.
The Knicks have won six straight against the Hornets, tying the active streak against one team, with the Washington Wizards being the other.
The Knicks host the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday, March 4, 2011, at 7:30pm at Madison Square Garden.