Knicks News: Bench Shines as New York Runs Over Bucks in Season Opener


89. 122. 27. Final. 97

Opening night of the 2015-2016 season for the New York Knicks, the schedule makers made sure that Phil Jackson and company faced the top free agent that spurned them.

Luckily for New York, Greg Monroe and the Milwaukee Bucks were missing some key players. Jabari Parker is still recovering from surgery in January to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. The “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo served a one game suspension for ramming over Mike Dunleavy in the Playoffs last season in the mist of getting eliminated from the first round.

The Knicks though had their own injuries to deal with as New York were without Arron Afflalo (mild strained hamstring), Kevin Seraphin (sore right knee), and Lou Amundson (sore lower back) for the season opener.

Monroe got to work early on New York, collecting four offensive rebounds in the first five minutes of play. Monroe finished the opening quarter with 6 points and 7 rebounds. Monroe finished the game with a double-double, 22 points and 14 rebounds.

Michael Carter-Williams also had his way with the Knicks early on with the 34-year-old Jose Calderon guarding him… Carter-Williams got into the paint at will… getting to the rim for a layup and a dunk on consecutive possessions, giving the Bucks an early 11-4 lead.

Calderon just could not keep up the 24-year-old point guard and got into early foul trouble, which honestly was a godsend, sending Calderon to the bench. With the much quicker Langston Galloway coming into the game, New York was able to make Carter-Williams life a lot more difficult, forcing him into 3/10 shooting to end the first quarter after the terrific start.

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The second unit came up huge for New York Wednesday night, completely erasing the early deficit to lead 27-23 after one quarter of play. The bench was led by Derrick Williams, who was feasting on the fastbreak after every Knicks’ stop. After struggling early to contain the Bucks, the Knicks went on to hold Milwaukee to 31% shooting  in the first quarter. It seemed like Williams outletted up the court after every Milwaukee miss, using his athleticism to get into the paint, scoring 11 points in the opening quarter. With Williams leading the way, New York had 21 first quarter bench points.

New York went on a 15-0 run bridging from the end of the first quarter to the start of the second quarter, taking a 34-23 lead. Kristaps Porzingis really struggled shooting in his regular season debut, finally scoring his first basket in the middle of the second quarter. Porzingis shot just 1/6 in the first half but was able to work his way to the free-throw line eight times. Porzingis scored 9 of his total 16 points in the first half.

Superstar Carmelo Anthony struggled in the first half, scoring only five points, going 2/9 from the field. Although, for one night New York did not miss all the scoring, the second unit lead the way with 38 first half bench points. This tied for most first half  bench points since February 2, 2013 against the Sacramento Kings. New York entered halftime with a 63-51 lead.

New York came roaring out of the gates to start the second half, going on a 14-4 run gaining a 22 point lead,  77-55. The Bucks cut into New York’s lead with a mini 8-3 run, with Monroe scoring six of the points to narrow the margins 80-65 with 4:35 remaining in the third quarter.

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Monroe would continue to score, trying his best to muscle Milwaukee back into the game but Langston Galloway got hot from downtown, knocking down three three-pointers late in the third quarter. Galloway propelled the Knicks up to a 90-73 lead after three quarters of play. WOW! 90 points in three quarters, head coach Derek Fisher was not kidding when he said he wanted to push the pace this season.

The Knicks continued pouring it in on the Bucks in the fourth quarter, as the final period essentially became garbage time. It was actually weird that Anthony played any minutes in the final period… Fisher probably should have just rested him, especially with another game the following night against the Atlanta Hawks. New York would go on to win 122-97, marking the most point scored in a season opener since 1990.

This was a really incredible blowout win, especially considering Anthony only scored 11 points on 4/16 shooting. It did not seem to matter as Williams came off the bench for 24 points, tying the most points scored off the bench in a season opener.

Galloway’s hot shooting in the second half was just the icing on the cake, completely slamming the door shut on the Bucks on any potential comeback. Galloway finished the game with 16 points, going 4/5 from beyond the arc. Galloway has really worked on his long-rang shooting and is probably the Knicks’ most efficient three-point shooter this season. Galloway shot 50% from downtown in the preseason and tied for the most three-pointers made on the team.

New York will see a familiar face tomorrow, facing Tim Hardaway Jr. and the Hawks for the Knicks’ home opener. Hardaway Jr. was traded for Jerian Grant on draft night, it will be interesting to see how he will be received by the Madison Square Garden crowd. Grant had himself a solid game in his regular season debut, scoring 10 points, dishing out 5 assists and stealing the ball 3 times. Would love to see Grant outplay Hardaway Jr. Thursday night.

Next: Bucks' Greg Monroe Explains Why He Didn't Choose The Knicks