Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — The Knicks are now 3-0 when Josh “Big Jorts” Harrellson scores in double-figures.
The rookie out of Kentucky scored seven of his 13 points in the first period, when the Knicks outscored the Philadelphia 76ers, 28-15, en route to an 85-79 victory at Madison Square Garden.
New York’s fourth straight win snapped Philly’s six-game winning streak and the 6-foot-10 Harrellson was a key contributor.
“Josh was a big key tonight,” said Carmelo Anthony, who scored a game-high 27 points, including two clutch foul shots with 16.1 seconds left.
“The way they was trapping the pick-and-roll and not trying to let me break free. They was double-teaming the post ups. And for me to just find Josh over there, finding the open man, just to have confidence in them guys to make shots it was big for us.”
Harrellson came up one point shy of his career-high of 14, which he notched in his first NBA start in a win at Sacramento Dec. 31. He also reached double-figures when he scored 11 in a Jan. 7 win at Detroit.
Against the Sixers, he shot 3-for-5 from beyond the arc and accounted for half of the Knicks’ six 3-pointers.
“My teammates just kept telling me, ‘Shoot it if you’re open, shoot it if you’re open,'” Harrellson said. “So I’m always open with Carmelo and Amar’e [Stoudemire] getting double-teamed and Tyson [Chandler] getting a lot of attention when he rools, so I’m always open in the corner.
“And they just found me tonight and I was knocking it down.”
Harrellson, taken with the 45th pick in the second round of the NBA Draft, has been inconsistent so far. He entered averaging 3.7 points and 4.7 rebounds.
But Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni is high on his potential.
“Josh has played well a lot,” he said. “If he can consistently make that outside shot, he’s going to open that floor up.”
Harrellson managed just one point in Monday’s win over Charlotte, but he gained confidence in this game with Anthony telling him to shoot it.
“It gives me a lot of confidence coming from Carmelo,” he said. “For him to give me the confidence to go out there and knock down shots just makes me a better player in the long run.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.