Courtney Lee doesn’t have the fluid and pure shooting stroke of a prototypical two-guard. Rather, he does something that’s a bit funky when he goes up for a jumper. Lee rolls the ball down into his right wrist and then appears to snap the wrist as he lets the ball go.
Quirky? Yes, but the Knicks don’t seem to mind, especially when it pays off the way it did Friday night in the Knicks’ 110-107 win over the Charlotte Hornets.
Lee scored nine straight points in the fourth quarter, including a go-ahead three-pointer with 1:39 left. He finished the game with 16 points and 7-for-12 shooting with four assists and three steals.
“Courtney was a big reason we won this game,” said Carmelo Anthony, who struggled in the fourth quarter until he hit the dagger, a jump shot that put the Knicks up by four with 13 seconds remaining. “Courtney gets most of the credit. His defense was outstanding. Offensively, getting it going and getting the crowd into the game, this is the Courtney we like.
“We want him to continue being aggressive on both sides of the court. And we look forward to that.”
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, one of the league’s all-time great shooting guards, doesn’t have any problem with Lee’s stroke as long as it produces these results.
“When he goes up, it may be a little strange the way he goes into it, but everything is directly lined up,” Hornacek said. “Once he gets to that point, it’s great form. If all of that is straight and you have a good follow-through, you are going to make them.”
Lee, 30, who had been with six teams in the NBA before signing a four-year deal with the Knicks during the offseason, says he doesn’t really know how he developed his style.
“It’s kind of crazy. If you go back and watch films from my early years, my shot is totally different,” he said. “If you ask me about it, I think it feels the same. But it has a little swing in it. I don’t know where that came from. I don’t feel myself doing it, but it works.”
The Knicks would like to see Lee put his shot to work on a regular basis. He is hitting 42.8 percent of his shots from three-point range, 11th best in the NBA, and there are plenty of nights when the Knicks can use some of that firepower.
“You have Kristaps Por zingis, Carmelo and Derrick Rose out there, and teams are paying attention to them,” Lee said. “Everybody else has to be ready to knock down their shots.”
Funky form or not.