The roster is essentially the same as it was in November, but the New York Knicks are far from the team that struggled through the first month of the season.
The surging Knicks look to extend their season-high winning streak to five games and avoid a fourth straight loss to the host Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday night.
After going 3-14 during the first month of the season, New York (8-15) is 5-1 in December and has won four in a row after beating New Orleans 113-96 on Friday. It's the longest winning streak for the Knicks since a six-game run Jan. 2-13, 2006.
"We were definitely in a deep hole, and now we've put ourselves back in the opportunity go get into the playoffs, which is our goal," said guard Chris Duhon, who had 22 points and nine assists against the Hornets. "We're definitely back in it. We just have to keep going."
In order to do so, the Knicks must snap a three-game losing streak against the Bobcats (9-13), including two straight defeats in Charlotte. The Bobcats beat New York 102-100 in double overtime at home Oct. 30.
Charlotte could face a stiffer test this time against a Knicks team averaging 109.3 points and shooting 49.4 percent this month, while holding opponents to an average of 100.2 points in its six December games.
"Our energy is better and we're helping better on defense," said forward David Lee, who had 17 points and 14 rebounds in Friday's win.
Al Harrington scored a team-high 28 points and Wilson Chandler added 20 as New York shot 55.1 percent against the Hornets. That effort gave the Knicks their second straight road win to improve to 4-7 away from Madison Square Garden.
"Everybody hit big shots, one after another," New York coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We were moving the ball really well. We're just playing really well right now."
Harrington is averaging 23.3 points in his last four games, but 15.0 on 38.1 percent shooting in his last seven versus the Bobcats, who are coming off their second consecutive loss, 98-97 in overtime at Dallas on Saturday.
Stephen Jackson scored 28 points, Gerald Wallace had 23 with 16 rebounds and Raymond Felton added 20 points, but Charlotte shot 42.0 percent and committed 20 turnovers for the second straight game.
"We gave ourselves a chance to win against a terrific team on the road," coach Larry Brown told the Bobcats' official Web site. "I guess that's all you can hope for."
Charlotte's 90.3 points per game rank near the bottom of the league, but the Bobcats are scoring 104.0 during their win streak in this series.
Wallace is averaging 20.6 points and 14.4 boards in his last five games overall, and 20.2 points with 10.8 rebounds in his last five against New York.
He had 18 points with 15 rebounds and Felton added 22 points against the Knicks in October, when both clubs shot less than 40 percent from the field overall, and combined to go 12 of 54 from 3-point range.