As the remaining seconds melted away, after a night when he’d loaded the Knicks on his shoulders and merely saved the season, Derrick Rose paused from dribbling out the clock, let the basketball do its personal work at his toes, and applauded. It was precisely proper. This was a kind of nights at the Garden when the Knicks may need outscored the Hawks, however New York City received.
Rose wished the 16,254 laryngitis candidates now standing and roaring and stamping their toes to know what everybody inside right here knew: They had been in this collectively. And whereas it is perhaps the Knicks who will fly to Atlanta Thursday tied at 1-1 in this collection after stuffing this 101-92 victory over the Hawks in their carry-on luggage, it was a collective effort.
“Everyone stepped up,” Rose stated. “Everyone made big plays.”
The Knicks, it needs to be famous right here, had been in deep bother. They had been down 13 at the half and it felt worse than that. Julius Randle was scoreless, lacking all six of his pictures; statistically it was the single worst half of his complete profession. The Knicks couldn’t make open pictures. They couldn’t keep in entrance of the Hawks.
Trae Young was feasting on everybody: Knicks defenders and ticket-holders who greeted him from the layup line on with a longshoreman’s salutation.
The Knicks had two issues going for them.
They had Rose, previous man winter in a No. 4 jersey, who by himself was in a position to maintain the Hawks inside vary of their telescopes. And the incessant perception tumbling from the darkened stands, full of devotees and disciples who merely didn’t wish to settle for that this could possibly be the final sport performed right here for 5 months.
Together, they got here again.
Rose began the second half, which was as symbolic as something, Tom Thibodeau lastly conceding to actuality and benching his struggling, scuffling starter, Elfrid Payton. That alone appeared to energise the constructing. Then, 14 seconds in, Randle lastly hopped off the schneid and drilled a 3-pointer. It reduce the Knicks’ deficit to 10.
More essential, it appeared to function a clarion name for the remainder of the evening.
“Julius,” Thibodeau stated, “is not going to go away. He’s a fighter.”
So, we had been reminded, is that this crew, which has by no means been extra harmful throughout the entirety of this season than when its backs had been shoved to the brink of the abyss. The remaining document — 41-31 — makes it straightforward to neglect there have been a number of occasions this yr when the Knicks’ flirtation with respectability very practically disappeared into acquainted sinkholes, however they by no means did succumb to the killer dropping streaks which have massacred previous seasons.
Always, it appeared, they’d solutions, even when they appeared inconceivable.
This evening they might have one other. Even if it appeared inconceivable.
“We couldn’t lose two on our own court,” Randle stated. “Our intensity went to another level.”
They held the Hawks, an explosive offensive crew, to 35 second-half factors. They erased each little bit of that 13-point halftime gap and really took a one-point lead into the fourth — then expanded it to 10. Suddenly the vulgar chants aimed toward Young had been changed by a far completely different rallying cry:
“Knicks in 5! Knicks in 5! Knicks in 5!
And simply as immediately, that 88-78 lead with 8 ½ minutes to go had turn into a 91-91 tie when Young discovered Clinto Capela for an alley-oop 3 ½ minutes later.
But even then, there was none of the other-shoe-dropping murmur that used to function a soundtrack for previous Knicks playoff disappointments all the means again in the day. Even with that 13-3 spurt the Knicks didn’t appear panicked. Rose made a 7-foot hook shot (perhaps the largest of his 26 factors). Reggie Bullock made a 3 — a part of a bounce-back, 15-point evening for him — that just about peeled the paint off the partitions. And Randle (15 factors, 12 rebounds) discovered Taj Gibson (a exceptional plus-23 score) for a dunk.
It was 98-91. It was over. Soon the individuals had been on their toes, and Rose was applauding the individuals, and what had felt for a superb two hours like an undesirable funeral dirge had a decidedly completely different tone. The collection is 1-1. The Knicks have life heading to Atlanta. They will get at the least yet another sport at the Garden. And nonetheless have a puncher’s probability at protecting this splendidly absurd trip alive a short time longer.
“I love this team,” Thibodeau stated, echoing the emotions of the trustworthy as they stood and stomped and helped drag the crew from the dregs. “There’s such a great will and determination to them.”
There’s some life in there too, and hope, and perception as a lot as something, even when it seems like the wheels are spinning off. They didn’t. Not this time. Not this evening. Not fairly but.