WHAT IT MEANS: For three quarters, Jeremy Lin looked lost. But then in the fourth, Lin found his way.
Lin missed 10 of his first 11 shots, but hit three of six in the final quarter and knocked down all 10 of his free throws to help the Knicks get out of Philadelphia with a hard-fought victory. Lin finished with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists.
With the win, the Knicks (23-24) climbed to within three games of first-place Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division race. There are 19 games left in the regular season.
The Knicks have won five straight under interim head coach Mike Woodson, who took over last Wednesday after the Knicks and Mike D'Antoni "mutually agreed" to part ways.
THE GOOD: In addition to Lin's fourth quarter, Amare Stoudemire looked like the Amare Stoudemire of old. Stoudemire scored 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting and pulled down nine rebounds. In addition to some key fourth-quarter baskets, Stoudemire had an emphatic block of an Elton Brand dunk attempt with 4:15 to go in the fourth quarter.
FIRST-QUARTER D: The Sixers missed their first 11 field goals and shot 3-for-17 from the field (17.6 percent) in the first quarter for 11 points. Credit Woodson's defense. The last time the Knicks played the Sixers, on March 11 at home, Philly had 22 first-quarter points. On Wednesday, the Knicks forced six Sixers turnovers in the first quarter and turned them into seven points. Unfortunately for Woodson's crew, they could only muster 19 first-quarter points.
THE BAD: Aside from Lin's first three quarters (he went 1-for-11), Carmelo Anthony went just 5-for-15 and finished with 10 points but had a key assist to Stoudemire in the fourth. Baron Davis struggled in his first game back after missing two with a hamstring injury. Davis had five points on 2-for-7 shooting and three turnovers in 11 minutes.
INJURY WOES: Reserve forward Jared Jeffries went down awkwardly late in the third quarter and headed straight for the locker room. The Knicks say Jeffries has a sore right knee. He did not return. Jeffries missed four games earlier this month with a right knee ailment. The Knicks struggled defensively without Jeffries. They were also without Tyson Chandler for two games of Jeffries' four-game absence.
BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME: Anthony had a no-look pass to a wide-open Stoudemire on the block early in the fourth. Stoudemire finished with a thunderous dunk -- one of several from him on Wednesday -- to break a 63-63 tie with 8:06 to go in the fourth.
WHAT'S NEXT: After a day off, the Knicks take on the Toronto Raptors in Canada. The Knicks topped the Raptors at home on Tuesday, 106-87, thoroughly dominating on both ends of the floor. Can they do the same just three days later? Don't forget, last week they beat Indiana in a home-and-home back to back. New York will return home on Saturday to take on Detroit.