Chants of "We want Nate!" filled Madison Square Garden at the start of the second half after a lackluster effort in the first 24 minutes from the hometown Knicks. But second-year coach Mark D'Antoni opted to keep point guard Nate Robinson on the bench as the Knicks managed a 106-97 come-from-behind victory over New Jersey on Sunday afternoon.
New Jersey's smaller lineup had given New York fits with man-to-man defense in the first half as they took a 61-53 lead to the locker room at halftime. Rather than give into the Garden faithful and play the popular, yet controversial Robinson, D'Antoni instead employed a zone defense. The team responded by outscoring the Nets 33-18 in the third quarter.
Robinson has played just 11 minutes this month as New York has won three of four. He had previously been benched for the first six games of November. The Knicks went 1-5 during that stretch.
Al Harrington, brushing off rumors that Knicks General Manager Donnie Walsh has him on the trading block, scored 26 points, pulled down 14 rebounds, and dished out five assists.
Forward Larry Hughes hit some key free throws down the stretch, finishing with 25 points and a 14-17 performance at the charity stripe.
New York (6-15) has won three of their last four games to pass Philadelphia (5-15) for third place in the Atlantic Division. New Jersey's loss is their 19th in 20 games to start the season. They sit in the cellar of the Atlantic, four games behind the 76ers.
New York's short homestand concludes Monday night when they host the Greg Oden-less Portland Trail Blazers. Why are they Greg Oden-less? Click here and see for yourself .