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Knicks 110, Nets 96: Scenes from a big bench night

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

For a while, it seemed like this post was just going to be the Knicks forcing bad passes and neglecting to run Justin Hamilton off the three-point line. But then they had a great second half, so I’m going to pretend none of that happened!

On a night when I think we all needed a silly, unchallenging Knicks win, the gents finally collected themselves in the third quarter, although not in the way one might expect. The starters weren’t exactly blowing the game open, so Jeff Hornacek decided to dig even deeper into his bench than he did in the first half, sending 3-4 of his former EuroLeaguers out to join Carmelo Anthony. Melo enjoyed their company, dancing on the weak side of some Triangles to score 12 straight points:

Melo BOILED some soup, then Hornacek toggled him out for Kristaps Porzingis, sticking with the rest of that funky bench lineup. Brandon Jennings started working in more high pick-and-rolls, including a lot of these double drag screens Hornacek likes, and the Nets defended those very poorly. Kristaps enjoyed that:

And hey, Willy Hernangomez, Sasha Vujacic, and Mindaugas Kuzminskas weren’t just bystanders. Sasha made up for some dumb turnovers with a three and some pesky defense. The Big Daug spaced the floor nicely, and Willy carried forth with his remarkable talent for collecting and depositing the ball near the rim:

Dude’s defense around the rim looked good (has looked good??), too. Generally, the defense picked up in those lineups, though the three-point contests never fulllllly sharpened, and a lot of Brooklyn’s missing around the rim only happened because they suck.

It’s nice to win. It’s nice to win on an otherwise gloomy day. It’s nice to win after a poor start. It’s nice to win without exhausting the starters. It’s nice to get some spark from the reserves. Nice finish.