During their Nov. 12 loss against the Charlotte Hornets, the New York Knicks proved that their bench was stronger than their starters.
The New York team has a winning record and ranked seventh in the Eastern Conference before their Friday night game, but what happened at Spectrum Center in Charlotte has Knicks fans remembering the worst of what seems to be a franchise cursed by poor choices.
Things looked good exiting the half, as the Knicks boasted a nine-point lead. But that quickly unraveled as the Hornets plotted a third-quarter comeback.
After Kemba Walker got an incredible 20 points in the first half, there were signs of trouble in the second quarter.
The Hornets answered back with 34 points in the third quarter, besting the Knicks by four points.
Knicks bench unit swooped in and gave New York a fighting chance
But the Knicks mounted their own mid-game comeback by utilizing their bench players. Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson united in a fourth-quarter comeback that had Knicks fans celebrating. After all, this is the seventh-best bench unit in the NBA, which might have to change after Friday’s electrifying game.
Unfairly, not being a starter may lead some to believe these players are less talented, but Knicks fans noted that New York’s bench mob should remain as the starting lineup. Their chemistry and passion made them surpass a starting lineup that blew the lead.
The talent of rose, the accuracy of Quickley, and the explosiveness of Tippen belongs on a starting lineup. According to Sports Ilustrated’s Chris Herring, this unit is the most efficient 5-man lineup in the NBA with at least 50 minutes played.
By comparison, the Knicks starters are the worst 5-man lineup in the league.
Ultimately, the Knicks lost 104-96, but the showing by their bench unit indicated that New York has the talent to win games.
Whether or not the Knicks will get their secondary unit more minutes remains to be seen, but if the bench mob can keep up the efficiency, they should earn the promotion that comes with it.