Ten years after his legendary Big East Tournament run, New York Knicks point guard Kemba Walker lit up Madison Square Garden once again as he dropped 44 points in a 124-117 loss to the Washington Wizards on Thursday.
Walker's best work occurred in the second quarter when he dropped 23 points. That effort included four three-pointers, including this one with Raul Neto guarding him:
Walker also carved up the Washington defense inside the arc, and he somehow hit this off-balance shot to put New York up 64-57 with fans chanting his name:
That capped a 15-point stretch over the final 3:19 of the first half, which included this three-pointer on the previous possession:
It was more of the same in the third quarter, as Walker scored 13 more points to give himself 41 before the fourth.
The former UConn star converted a four-point play after drilling this three:
Walker took advantage of whatever space he could take, and he used this sliver to give himself 37 on the night:
The 11-year veteran didn't score as much in the fourth quarter, but he kept finding his teammates for buckets, including Mitchell Robinson:
Walker also hit a clutch three in the fourth, losing his balance before regaining his composure well enough to cut Washington's lead to 104-100:
Walker's night harkened back memories of when he led the ninth-seeded UConn Huskies to the Big East title at the Garden. He was named tournament MVP after leading UConn to five wins in five days, averaging 26.0 points along the way.
Walker was removed from the Knicks' rotation after a 118-97 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Nov. 26. He missed the Knicks' next 10 games before returning Dec. 18 against the Boston Celtics.
Walker dropped 29 against the C's and 21 more against the Detroit Pistons before his 44-point outburst against Washington, so he's averaged 31.3 points per game since coming back into the rotation.
Walker was sensational, but the rest of the Knicks largely were not, especially on the defensive end.
Despite missing three-time All-Star leading scorer Bradley Beal, Washington shot 56.0 percent from the field and 16-of-37 from the three-point line.
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 21 points to lead seven Wizards in double figures. Kyle Kuzma hit a pair of huge three-pointers in the final minutes as well.
The Knicks did enough on offense to win, but they also shot just 6-of-28 from three-point range minus Walker's efforts.
With the loss, the Knicks fell to 14-18. Walker will look to lead New York to victory when the Knicks host the Atlanta Hawks at noon on Christmas Day.