The New York Knicks will lose many, many basketball games over the next couple months, before the 2014-15 mercifully draws to a close. Friday night was not one of those games. Instead, the Knicks did the opposite of losing...which is winning. I repeat: the Knicks did not lose this basketball game. It took two overtimes, but they walked out of the Palace with a 121-115 victory.
Sure, it was ugly. That's the way this team needs to play; the only way they are capable of playing. To have any hope of victory, this group must drag their opponent down into the mud with them. Langston Galloway and Shane Larkin needed to force Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope into God-awful shooting lines -- which they did (5-24 for Jackson, 7-18 for KCP). The frontline needed to at least frustrate man-beast Andre Drummond -- which they did (21 points and 15 rebounds, but fouled out in the first OT).
And to top it all off, they needed a buckwild pull-up three from Galloway to send the game into overtime -- which...
This is as close to a textbook Knicks win as we're likely to get, especially on the road. If they want to win another game away from MSG this season, they might have to find the Ark of the Covenant.
So watch this game again, if you haven't already. It may be an acquired taste, but damn it goes down smooth.
- Langston Galloway is not a good shooter. I hope he becomes one some day, and he very well might. But Friday's 3-9 shooting performance is essentially par for the course...
...and it doesn't matter one damn bit. This kid is the balls. He did everything you could expect of a point guard: 12 points, six rebounds, five assists, two turnovers, two steals and a block. And when the Knicks needed a bucket, he delivered with gusto.
Galloway went at the Pistons' bigs hard down the stretch, earning five free throws and eventually fouling out on a close charge call when he drove on Anthony Tolliver.
If this game did anything, it showed the Knicks front office that they have no business whatsoever going after Reggie Jackson in free agency. The guy got outplayed tonight by an un-drafted rookie.
- Following his go-ahead tip-in in the waning seconds of the first overtime, the Pistons announcer called Lou Amundson "more than serviceable." That might be the highest compliment he's ever been paid in his professional career. And he earned it.
Sweet Lou was all over the place on Friday, with 17 points, 14 rebounds (nine on offense), two assists and three blocks. He and his frontcourt partner (more on him later) played Drummond and Greg Monroe as tough as you can.
- Andrea Bargnani.
Twenty-five points, 12 rebounds, four assists. Zero turnovers. That dunk in Monroe's grill probably cost the Pistons big man any chance of signing with the Knicks...ever.
Good for you, Bargs. I enjoyed that thoroughly.
- What can we say about Tim Hardaway's jumper that hasn't already been said about Afghanistan? It looks bombed out and depleted. While his final line looks promising -- 18 points on 7-14 shooting, four assists -- there was all kinds of grossness in this game, particularly on defense. But at least his passing looks improved.
- Alexey Shved showed off the entire Shved package tonight. I kept myself occupied through the first half by keeping track of whether or not his shots hit the rim:
Halftime #DidShvedHitTheRim update: Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes— Joseph Flynn (@ChinaJoeFlynn) February 28, 2015
To the man's credit, Shved started hitting the rim more in the second half. He also defended, moved the ball (four assists) and rebounded (five boards). Then he topped it all off with this:
Shved's gonna Shved.
- Shane Larkin played 35 minutes in his return from a nagging case of strep throat. He did Larkin things -- forcing moving screen violations by fighting over picks and being super little -- and added some scoring punch as well. His and-one layup in double-OT pretty much sealed the game for New York.
- The Knicks actually out-rebounded Detroit, 58-54. Betcha didn't see that coming. It was a team effort as well, with seven Knicks grabbing at least four boards.
New York plays a rough SEGABABA Saturday in Toronto. They'll probably lose. They'll probably lose their next 10 games in a row. But they didn't lose tonight, by Jove!