After all the money the Knicks spent in the offseason and all the new faces they brought in, Derek Fisher relied on some of the few returning players from last year's team to pull out Saturday's impressive win over the Wizards.
Carmelo Anthony, of course, was out there in crunch time and scored a scintillating 37 points to spark the victory in Washington. But second-year guard Langston Galloway and forward Lance Thomas made big plays down the stretch too.
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"Me and him, we definitely go out there and battle," Galloway said. "We do all the little things you can't get on the stat sheet or anything like that. Down the stretch that's what we need."
They also did things that appeared in the stat sheet in the 117-110 win. Thomas scored 12, including four in the fourth. Galloway had 14 points, eight coming in the final 3:47 of the game.
"He can make big shots," Anthony said of Galloway. "Not big shots but he can make big plays. Most importantly he is not afraid to. When you have a guy who is not afraid to make big plays it trickles over to the rest of the team."
It was an inspiring effort all-around for the Knicks to beat the Wizards. Robin Lopez, who stood tall on a critical defensive stand late in the fourth, and Sasha Vujacic were the other two that Fisher played in crunch time.
Fisher said he won't use the same five to close every game. It depends on the situation, who's making plays and who has the hot hand.
The Knicks (2-1) will need a big performance Monday against the Spurs to have a chance to win their first game of the season at home. But it's obvious that Fisher trusts Thomas and Galloway.
They both proved themselves to Fisher during the second half of last season, particularly after the Knicks lost Anthony to knee surgery.
"I'm confident in myself knowing that I'm capable of doing whatever he needs me to go out there and do," Galloway said. "I'm just glad he called my number."
Galloway, an undrafted guard out of Saint Joseph's, was one of the Knicks' better players the last few months of last season, and was all-rookie second team after averaging 11.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Galloway is playing with more confidence this season.
He's averaging 12.7 points in 26 minutes off the bench -- both are third on the Knicks. He's also shooting 66.7 from three (8-for-12), 50 percent from the field overall, and has 10 assists to one turnover.
"That's what we saw in him last year as we kind of learned more and more about him every time we put him out there and had to play him 30 minutes," Fisher said. "We saw a lot of the confidence and the moxie and the mental toughness that oftentimes takes players years to develop. But he has it as a young player."