Special. Some players just are, and Tracy McGrady proved it last night.
In his Knicks debut, McGrady showed the basketball world he is still a force to be noticed, scoring 26 points and five assists in just 32 minutes of action.
While his fatigue was a definite factor in his limited playing time, McGrady still poured out his highest scoring outing since January 9, 2009, when he also scored 26 against Oklahoma City.
"He kind of ran out of gas towards the end," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni told ESPN. "Not having played all year, a couple of years almost, 26 points, kind of not bad."
Perhaps the more impressive stat of the night was how efficient he was from the field, shooting 10-17, and hardly tried to force the issue.
"I didn't expect to play the way I did," McGrady said.
Neither did anyone else.
Critics from all over, including some of the guys at B/R, thought McGrady was done, that he wouldn't, or couldn't produce; they may want to reconsider their opinion.
Not only did McGrady play outstanding basketball in a tough defeat, but the Garden was electric for the first time in a while. Fans were excited, chanted T-Mac, and for for a brief moment it seemed he had made all the losing seasons a distant memory, and had Knicks fans reacting as if this were a game seven.
Perhaps this article is premature, and that jumping to conclusions is all this is about. Maybe even in some circles they'll laugh at the false hope McGrady showed us last night.
But what if they're wrong?
What if McGrady is able to play at an all-star caliber level and deliver the Knicks a playoff seed?
Either way one thing is certain: for at least one night, McGrady gave Knicks fans hope of a better and brighter future.