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Though the Knicks started and ended hot, there was a whole lot of mediocre play in the middle that threatened to derail their season. Minus Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony due to injury, New York embarked on a West Coast road trip that could not have gone much worse—four straight losses, none of them particularly close. The team was battered, bruised and on the ropes, desperately looking for anything that could right the ship at least for a night.
That something was 40-year old Kurt Thomas, who just days earlier had suffered a fracture in his foot against the Clippers. The Knicks were thin in the frontcourt and Thomas knew it, so he gutted out what was perhaps the grittiest performance of his long career. Kurt contributed six points on 3-5 shooting, but the box score doesn't come close to telling the whole story—Thomas wound back the clock a decade, serving as a defensive force in the middle against Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. He was ferocious, blocking shots, denying post position and barking at the Utah crowd through it all as the Knicks came back for a 90-83 victory.
It was only a game, and Thomas was only a marginal contributor for the Knicks this year, but the guy literally sacrificed his career in order to stabilize New York's season. The win would spark a monster winning streak to close out the year and help the Knicks lock up the second seed in the East.