Derrick Rose and Reggie Bullock refused to let the New York Knicks‘ feel-good win streak to end.
Not just yet.
The two veterans teamed up in the clutch to save the Knicks from the jaws of defeat as New York overcame a seven-point deficit late to stun the New Orleans Pelicans, 122-112, in overtime.
The 1,981 crowd at The Garden roared to life on Sunday afternoon when Bullock drained a corner three off a Rose assists with 2.3 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.
â€œI thought about shooting it at first, but I saw Reggie in the corner,â€ Rose told Knicks courtside reporter Rebecca Haarlow in his postgame interview. â€œI delivered it on the spot, and Reg is a great shooter.â€
Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy was miffed of his team’s inability to close out the game.
Lonzo Ball, who made the defensive blunder on that Bullock game-tying triple, was benched in the overtime.
Rose and Bullock continued their stellar play in the extra time while Julius Randle hit the dagger three to beat the shot clock and extended the Knicks’ lead to eight with 54.3 seconds remaining.
Rose scored a season-high 23 points and had five assists in 35 minutes while Bullock added 15 and three triples—the last two came at the perfect time when the Knicks needed it.
The veteran duo picked up the slack for RJ Barrett, who fouled out with still four minutes left in regulation. The sophomore wing had 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting before he left the floor.
Randle matched Pelicans’ bull-strong Zion Williamson basket for basket. But unlike Williamson, Randle had plenty of help.
Randle overcame a scoreless first quarter and still wound up with 33 points, becoming the first Knicks player since Carmelo Anthony in 2014 to log in four straight 30-point game. He added five rebounds and a game-high 10 assists, and five steals.
Williamson came away with 34 points, nine boards, and five dimes, but it wasn’t enough.
The Knicks blew a 13-point first half lead, with Eric Bledsoe dropping 13 of his 22 points in the third quarter.
In the fourth frame, the Pelicans went on a 7-0 run to break from a 92 deadlock. A Ball reverse layup capped off that run to make it 99-92 for the Pelicans with 3:44 left.
Then Rose took over, firing six of the next Knicks’ eight points that kept the Knicks within three, 101-98, and setting up Bullock’s heroics.
In a typical Knicks fashion this season, their collective effort proved to be they key to pulling out another gut-wrenching win.
Nerlens Noel and the 35-year old veteran Taj Gibson continued to hold the fort for the injured Mitchell Robinson.
Noel contributed 12 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks in starting role while Gibson hauled down 14 rebounds that went with six points, two assists, and two swats in 24 minutes off the bench.
Rookie Immanuel Quickley also came up with heady plays and was a game-high plus-24. He put up eight points and three assists off the bench.
The six-game winning streak, the franchise’s longest since 2014, has kept the Knicks (31-27) firmly at sixth place in the East.
They will have their next five games at home, where they are 18-10 this season.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo