Return of "Discount Double-Check" for Steve Novak
Steve Novak had been visibly absent lately despite playing in every game. But his touch and the "Discount Double-Check" returned Sunday.
Novak scored in double-digits for the first time since opening night in the Knicks' 121-100 rout of the Pistons. He had a season-high 18 points, 12 in a 5:39 stretch in the second half in which he shot 3-for-4 from three-point range.
After one of those from deep, the Wisconsin native simulated putting on the championship belt the way Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers does.
"It's good to see the belt back out," Carmelo Anthony said. "I'm glad to see the belt back out."
Novak, the NBA's top three-point shooter last season, had been mired in a slump. In the previous nine games, he was 15-for-46 (32.6 percent) from three-point range and averaged 5.2 points. He also was exploited defensively, especially in Houston on Friday. Then again, all of the Knicks were that night.
But Novak made the Pistons pay for leaving him open. After missing his first three shots, he went 5-for-8 and was 5-for-7 from outside the arc.
"In a couple other games, I think I was pulling my follow-through back," Novak said. "I was kind of shooting and snapping the ball. I don't know why. I wasn't in a hurry, I was just kind of snapping at the end, and when I leave my follow-through up there, it just, it finds its way in.
"I said that to myself after I missed those first two -- just take your time and leave your follow-through up -- and it started to go in."
Novak's other three points came on free throws after he was fouled while attempting a three-pointer. He also had two blocks and a steal.
If Novak can start knocking down his shots consistently, it will open up things for all of his teammates.
"We're going to need him to make shots as we go through this journey," coach Mike Woodson said. "Teams know he can make shots and they lock in. He was able to shake loose based on some of the things that we ran."
Novak got hot late in the third after the Pistons cut a 20-point deficit to eight. He helped the Knicks put the game away and brought the belt out in the process.
"I don't want to force it," Novak said. "But after you make a few, I was feeling good, and I know the fans love it and I wanted to bring it back out."