Mike Woodson's patience expired just 61 seconds into the second half. That's how long it took for Woodson to replace Iman Shumpert with J.R. Smith, after Shumpert was beaten on a backdoor layup 11 seconds in.
"I turned, I saw (Smith) and he pointed at me," Shumpert said. "I knew what it was."
Sometimes, the most powerful messages a head coach can send are those of the non-verbal variety. Early in the third quarter of the Knicks' 96-86 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks Friday night at the Garden, Woodson pointed at Smith on the bench, who in turn pointed to Shumpert, whose very public benching resonated with the rest of the team.
"We buckled down (defensively)," Carmelo Anthony said. "We gave more effort, had more energy and got some momentum going."
Rather than simply try to outscore Milwaukee, the Knicks returned to playing the type of defense that had marked the first 20 games of their season. After falling behind by 12 points early in the second half, the Knicks outscored the Bucks 49-27 over the final 22 minutes to extend their winning streak to three and improve to 29-15 overall.
Milwaukee, featuring the dynamic backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, scored just 13 fourth-quarter points and made just 10 of its final 38 shots.
"I thought we did an excellent job," said Tyson Chandler (20 rebounds). "We've got to give credit to the guards. The guard play picked up, kept the guys out of the paint and forced them into tough shots."
Iman Shumpert benching motivates NY Knicks to improve on defense in win over Milwaukee Bucks
New York Daily News | Feb 2