His night didn't begin as if it would be anything special.
Iman Shumpert missed three jump shots in the first three minutes of the Knicks' 108-86 win over the Magic. On any other night, that would have been enough to make him think twice. But with so many of the Knicks' offensive weapons hurt, hobbled or being double-teamed, Shumpert knew he had to keep shooting.
And that's how the rookie who is primarily known for his defense ended up with a career-high 25 points Wednesday night. With point guard Jeremy Lin and forward Amar'e Stoudemire out with injuries, backup point guard Baron Davis playing with a sore hamstring and Carmelo Anthony being double-teamed while playing with a strained groin, Shumpert knew he couldn't be shy about shooting the ball.
"They were leaving me open, doubling Melo, so it was easy to get my shot off today," Shumpert said.
"I haven't been shooting the ball much and if I did shoot it, I haven't been hitting it too well all season. I know that with Jeremy and Amar'e out, I'm going to have a lot more open shots and I have to step into them with confidence.
Shumpert, who started his second straight game, shot 10-for-19, including 4-for-10 from three-point range.
"He was phenomenal on both ends of the floor," coach Mike Woodson said. "He changes the game from the defensive standpoint. It didn't hurt him today that he had his jump shot working and scoring the ball inside and out."
Shumpert said Anthony came to him before the game and told him not to bypass shots just because he has missed one or two.
Said Shumpert: "Melo's been all over me just to step up and knock them down."
Wednesday night, that's exactly what he did.