With the second half of the season on its way, the New York Knicks had a chance to show their fans that their newfound depth was going to have to be reckoned with.
After the starters allowed the 13-19 Cleveland Cavaliers to score 61 points in the first half, it was looking like the Knicks were heading down another losing path as they were again playing poorly versus an average team.
Coach Mike D'Antoni then went to the second unit looking for a spark off the bench—and they exploded and lit a fire under the team and its fans.
Madison Square Garden erupted as point guard Baron Davis (eight assists, zero turnovers) help orchestrate the second unit's surge and turned a 12-point halftime deficit into a 15-point lead midway into the fourth quarter.
After the win, Coach D'Antoni added, "We hope that's the normal-case scenario, if that's possible...to be honest, the last couple of days in practice, that group has just kicked our first group's butt every day, so it wasn't different. They've been playing that way."
During the run, the team was led by the scalding shooting of Steve Novak, who seemed unconscious as he hit five three-pointers in the second half.
With so much Linsanity in MSG and throughout the nation, fans were once again given a taste of Steve's Novocaine, his uncanny ability to shoot the three and score in bunches.
In a postgame interview Novak said "I got the ball in some good spots and they found me and I knocked them down...To hear your name chanted at Madison Square Garden, there's nothing like it. It's unbelievable."
The chants he was referring to were the fans' chants of "We want Novak, We want Novak" that blared loudly throughout the stadium for a few moments as Cleveland made a small run late in the game and cut the big lead to seven points.
While I sat in the Garden, it made all the chants even more enjoyable and refreshing to hear.
Yes, starters Jeremy Lin (19 points, 13 dimes and one turnover), Carmelo Anthony (22 points and four assists) and Tyson Chandler (13 points and 15 rebounds) had very solid performances.
The comeback was still all about the second unit consisting of Baron Davis, J.R Smith, Iman Shumpert, Steve Novak and Jared Jeffries...who were getting it done on both ends of the floor and with plenty of flash as well.
Davis, who has been trying to play his way into shape, gave the Garden hopeful a glimpse of what they might see in the near future as he set up his teammates for easy baskets and capped it off with a one-handed, off-the-dribble alley-oop that resulted in an reverse dunk by Smith.
The Knicks showed the rest of league that their second-string units better be ready to play in the near future.
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