Keith Van Horn scored 30 points and Stephon Marbury handed out 17 assists as the Knicks blew past the Seattle SuperSonics 108-88 on Friday, making a winner of the 66-year-old Wilkens in his first game on the New York bench.
Allan Houston added 19 points for New York, which has won consecutive games since the firing of Don Chaney—the first coming under interim coach Herb Williams.
“He was real, real cool. All he did, basically, was call timeout,” Marbury said of Wilkens.
Repeatedly looking to shoot the first open shot, the Knicks had the kind of offensive freedom not seen from the home team at Madison Square Garden in quite some time.
Wilkens credited the team’s defense for creating so many easy opportunities, but Marbury’s skills in the half-court offense were equally important.
“I don’t want them to take five steps backward,” Wilkens said, “So what I’ll do is just watch and tweak some of the things that they are doing offensively, encourage certain things.”
Marbury finished three assists shy of his career high and four short of the franchise record of 21 by Richie Guerin on Dec. 12, 1958 against St. Louis.
“We bobbled a couple. He should have had 20 or 23,” Wilkens said.
The Knicks are 7-1 when scoring 100 or more points this season. They’ve done it in each of their last three games.
Chicago is coming off a 108-93 loss at Memphis on Thursday night, the Bulls’ fourth loss in the last five games. Jamal Crawford and Jerome Williams led the Bulls with 13 points apiece, but Crawford shot just 3-for-13.
The 13 points for Crawford and Williams tied a Bulls team-low for high scorer in a game this season.