Stand clear of the closing doors and the Knicks’ point guard.
Kemba Walker had his first signature moment as a member of his hometown team on Tuesday night in a victory over a Philadelphia 76ers franchise that has plagued the Knicks for years.
The Bronx native dropped 19 points in front of the Madison Square Garden crowd, including four consecutive jumpers in the second quarter to accentuate what resulted to be the Knicks’ deathblow to the Sixers — a 39-16 run that firmly put the hosts in the driver’s seat.
“I was waiting for that moment,” Walker said after his fourth game with the Knicks after signing over the summer. “It’s the kind of moment that I dreamed about when I was a young kid, wanting to be in the NBA, watching the Knicks play, going to a Knicks game, and seeing how the crowd goes crazy.
“That was a great moment.”
The 112-99 win over Philadelphia snapped a 15-game losing streak dating back to 2017 against the 76ers — a team that is projected to compete for a top-three spot in the Eastern Conference this season after being its top seed last year.
Quite a statement after a letdown of a loss to the Orlando Magic on Sunday night that featured Walker sitting for the final 18 minutes of the night.
“We didn’t bring it last game. So, we wanted to come in, trying to redeem ourselves,” Walker said. “That’s how this league works. There’s going to be nights where things aren’t going your way. The best thing about this league is a day later, you have a game. It’s all about how you come back.”
Along with those 19 points in just 28 minutes, Walker added five assists and three rebounds. His game score of 16.6 was more than double his next-best night of this young season, which just so happened to come against Orlando on Sunday (10 points, three assists).
“I thought he [Kemba] played a great game,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I thought the team played a great game and that is what I love about our team; we have great depth. So, tonight I thought the way Kemba played helped set the tone.”
The Knicks’ measuring-stick week continues on Thursday night when they head to Chicago to meet the undefeated Bulls — who sit a game ahead of New York for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.