In a glorious overtime victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, the New York Knicks stretched their win streak to five. Thanks to another stellar performance from Julius Randle and point guard Derrick Rose, the rise of the Knicks continues, winning by 10 points thanks to a timely bucket from one of the most underappreciated players on the roster.
With about seven seconds left on the clock, New York received a final opportunity to tie the game, as Rose looked to drive to the rim but instead kicked it out to Reggie Bullock, who drained a three-point shot to give the Knicks another chance at life. They didn’t squander their opportunity, seemingly blowing out the Pelicans in overtime. They are now four games above .500, and Bullock deserves more recognition than he’s being given on a daily basis.
Bullock earned 15 points against the Pelicans, playing in 37 minutes and hitting 3-of-5 shots from downtown. On the season, he’s averaging 9.9 points, his highest average in two years. He’s also averaging a career-high 3.3 rebounds and shooting nearly .400 on 5.6 3-point attempts per game.
After the game, Rose was interviewed after scoring 23 points and dishing the most important assist of the game to Reggie. Humbly, he gave the credit to Bullock, who has proven to be a reliable option when given an opportunity with a clean look at the basket.
“I thought about shooting it at first, but I saw Reggie in the corner,” Rose said in his postgame on-court interview. “I delivered it on the spot and Reg is a great shooter.”
NOLA head coach Stan Van Gundy indicated how his team failed to lock down the play, but it is more of a testament to how well the Knicks are performing as of late and finding open shots.
“There was no lack of clarity,” Van Gundy said after Reggie’s game-tying shot with seconds left on the clock. “We made two mistakes on the play. We screwed up the play. When we do that, we deserve to lose…I don’t care if you’re a senior in high school, you should execute what to do with 7.8 seconds left.”
Bullock is currently on a two-year, $8.2 million deal with the Knicks and is earning $4.2 million this season, entirely guaranteed. He’s in the final year of his contract. At 29 years old, he’s proving to be an integral part of the starting unit at small forward, and I believe he has a future in New York, even as a bench piece if the Knicks find a better option.
Nonetheless, the Knicks are winning with their current group of players, and that includes Bullock as an everyday starter, which suggests that he is not only an adequate defender but is clearly capable of hitting clutch shots.