WHAT IT MEANS: Some fans came to the Garden thinking they'd see the Knicks' point guard of the future in Chris Paul. But Toney Douglas thoroughly outplayed the Hornets star in a 107-88 Knicks win.
Starting in place of Chauncey Billups (bruised left quadriceps), Douglas finished with 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting with five rebounds and four assists. The Knicks outscored the Hornets by 13 in Douglas' 32 minutes. Paul finished with just four points on 2-of-7 shooting and handed out 10 assists; the Hornets were outscored by 19 with Paul on the court.
The Knicks are 3-2 in the Carmelo Anthony Era and may need Douglas to start in place of Billups on Friday night against Cleveland. Billups is questionable for the game.
TURNING POINTS: A two-point Knicks lead quickly grew to 12 late in the second-quarter thanks to six quick points from Anthony and two each from Douglas and starting center Ronny Turiaf. The Hornets helped the Knicks' cause with two turnovers in the 13-3 run. The Knicks coasted after the half, leading by double figures for all but 18 seconds of the final two quarters. It got so bad midway through the fourth that the fans started chanting for a Roger Mason appearance. Mike D'Antoni obliged, and the crowd exploded when Mason hit a three with a little over a minute to play.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: In addition to Douglas, Amare Stoudemire finished with 24 points on 10-of-9 shooting and Anthony had 22, hitting 8 of his 18 shots. Sharpshooter Shawne Williams had 16 points and made four of his six 3-point attempts.
WHAT'S NEXT: If you're curious to see how quickly this team is building chemistry, look no further than Friday night's game home game against the Cavaliers. Last Friday, the Knicks traveled to Cleveland fell to the 11-win Cavs in embarrassing fashion. They were outrebounded by 20 and looked out of synch on offense (41 percent shooting) in a 115-109 loss, their second to the Cavaliers this season. It doesn’t seem like they will have Billups (thigh) available for Friday's home game but they should be able to bounce back against the Cavs, who are 3-27 on the road. The Knicks hit the road to take on the Hawks on Sunday night and return home to play the Jazz on Monday night.