Knicks should embrace being just good enough for time being

In a perfect world, walk-ons would be on the floor, wasting time. In a perfect world, by the time the Knicks could use a laugh in their schedule, they’ve lost 40 of their first 48 games and their starters would already be throwing in the towel against a team that specializes in laughs. It would be. The page has already been turned to Tuesday and the Pelicans.

But the Knicks’ surroundings haven’t been so perfect lately.

And this was shaping up to be the Knicks’ most incomplete night, keeping the Pistons in the game for 47 minutes and coming close to handing them their worst loss of the season in 48 minutes. His old friend Quentin Grimes scored the go-ahead goal – because he did, of course – and the Pistons suddenly led 111-110 with 37.3 seconds left in the game.

The garden was silent, but full of hope. Jalen Brunson dribbles upcourt. For the last two years of his life, few things have been more consoling to any New York fan than the ball in Brunson’s hands, and the game was in the balance. But Brunson hit a three. I wasn’t even close. Grimes saved the ball and pushed it towards teammate Simone Fontecchio.

Josh Hart stole the ball. He flicked it to Isaiah Hartenstein.

12 seconds left.

As Detroit Pistons center Jaylen Duren (0) tried to defend late in the fourth quarter, Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) hit the winning shot. Robert Szabo of the New York Post

“Keep fighting,” Brunson said later. “Whatever happens”

Hartenstein handed the ball to Donte DiVincenzo, and this is where the night really got surreal. Here DiVincenzo was looking for Brunson, but instead threw the ball to Detroit’s Orser Thompson. It was here, eight seconds later, that the Garden let out one of the groans only the Garden could muster, just as the home team was grumbling and trying to send everyone home.

“That was a scramble play,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Second, third try. Find a way. No matter what.”

Thompson didn’t have full control of the ball. He rolled toward half court. DiVincenzo became desperate and collided with Thompson at the “D” position of the “Madison Square Garden” stamp on the floor opposite the Pistons bench. I haven’t seen many open field tackles executed this well on Sunday football around here. For some reason, there was no phone call.

Pistons coach Monty Williams took six steps to the floor, as if trying to get a better listen to the whistle that never sounded.

There were 4 seconds left.

The ball went to Brunson. Somehow I saw Hart cut towards the basket. Hart made a layup. he got fouled. He missed the free throw. Hartenstein tapped the rebound to Hart. He was fouled again. One hit, one missed, and somehow Hart got the rebound. The buzzer sounded. And where there would normally be a roar, there was a sense of relief.

Knicks 113, Pistons 111.

“This sums up our team, it sums up our city,” Hart said when the game was finally over. “We grind, we fight, we scratch, we claw, we find our way.”

they found a way. Just two weeks ago, the Knicks lost a game because the referee blew his whistle when he wasn’t supposed to. This time they probably won the game because the referee blew his whistle and held his breath. Perhaps his 37.3 seconds in the end helps explain his 8-49 record with the Pistons. Perhaps they help explain why the Knicks developed characters like they did.

Monty Williams responded to the call during the fourth quarter. Robert Szabo of the New York Post

One thing all good teams learn at some point is to steal games they don’t deserve to win. One of the most legendary games in Knicks history is the Knicks’ 106-105 victory over the Cincinnati Royals on November 28, 1969, when they somehow scored five points in the final 27 seconds of the game. They erased the lead and defeated the Royals. At the neutral site of Cleveland Arena, they won 18 consecutive games, setting an NBA record at the time.

These Royals weren’t as bad as the Pistons, but they weren’t on the same level as the Knicks. Then it was Clyde Frazier who screamed. “Call me Houdini. It was a great escape!”

DiVincenzo said, this time in a more chaste manner. “Respect the game. Respect your opponent. And just play basketball.”

Donte DiVincenzo (0) and Jalen Brunson (11) rushed for the loose ball in the final seconds along with Detroit Pistons forward Author Thompson (9). Robert Szabo of the New York Post

It wasn’t a perfect match by any definition, just a perfect result. The Knicks need to keep winning, especially now that they’re struggling without their entire starting frontcourt. Perfection will be difficult. It has to be good enough.

“We had one more play than they did,” Brunson said.

That would also be necessary.