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Knicks bench sparks record from downtown

The New York Knicks victory over the Chicago Bulls was noteworthy for a number of reasons. The Knicks bench continued its remarkable production in the early going, while for the Bulls Derrick Rose continued his transformation into a legitimate superstar.

The win for the Knicks was their first at the United Center since New Year’s Day of 2008. Entering Thursday’s contest, the Knicks had a 6-27 record at the United Center, including a 6-24 regular-season mark and three losses without a win in the postseason. The 27 combined regular and postseason losses are the most by any visiting team at the United Center. But on Thursday, they won largely because of Toney Douglas’ spark off the bench.

Highest PPG off bench
by team this season

Douglas posted a career-high 30 points off the bench, which is not typical for him personally but very typical for the Knicks bench as a whole this season. It was the third 30-point game off the bench in the NBA this season, joining Ben Gordon of the Detroit Pistons and Louis Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers. Douglas made his living beyond the arc, hitting five of nine shots. The team as a whole hit 66.7 percent of their three-point field goal attempts in Thursday’s game, the highest percentage in franchise history with a minimum of 20 attempts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

While Douglas was the hero tonight, Wilson Chandler has been the primary asset off the bench. In the NBA as a whole, Chandler ranks first in field goal attempts (17.8), 2nd in points per game (18.3) and 3rd in rebounds per game (8.8) off the bench this season. The Knicks are the only current team with two different players to have a 20-point game off bench and their three total 20-point games off bench is the most in league.

Derrick Rose

RoseThe Bulls might have taken a home loss, but they received another spectacular performance from Derrick Rose. Rose continued his evolution into a superstar, contributing 24 points and a career-high 14 assists. He is just the third Bulls player to reach those numbers in the last 20 seasons, joining two recognizable names, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Through four games this season, Rose is averaging 26.8 PPG and 10.0 APG, compared to 20.8 PPG and 6.0 APG in 2009-10.