Was it the shoes?
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, Toney Douglas was sporting a pair of neon green kicks bright enough to show up on Google Earth. If superstition means anything to the Knicks guard, we'll keep seeing them even on days that aren't celebrated with parades and packed bars.
Douglas tied a Knicks record by hitting nine threes and the Knicks hit a team-record 20 of the long balls on their way to a much-needed 120-99 victory over the Grizzlies.
The effort continued the trend of playing to their competition that the Knicks have exhibited since Carmelo Anthony came to New York. Good teams like Memphis get their best effort while the bad teams get a somnolent Knicks team content to shuffle their way to defeat.
That's more than a little problematic but Thursday's win will quiet the mounting distress for the moment. The team played with a cohesiveness on offense that's been totally missing since their last game against the Grizzlies with all of those threes coming after crisp ball movement led to wide open looks at the basket.
It might be hard to replicate such a gaudy shooting percentage, especially for Douglas who simply could not miss, but the offensive effort is something that can happen with regularity.
Chauncey Billups will help that. He looked much better than he did in either one of the Pacers losses even though he still seemed to move gingerly up and down the court. He still ran the offense with a deft efficiency that resulted in eight assists, one turnover and a +13 mark for his time on the court. Douglas deserves the banner headlines, but Billups's performance was terribly encouraging as well.
We shouldn't let all the giddiness about the threes and the end to the losing streak stop us from worrying about the larger problems with the Knicks, however. The defense showed up in spurts, forcing a few 24-second violations and some bad shots, but those spurts came in between their typically apathetic approach to opposing shooters.
We accept that the Knicks will have to dazzle on offense to win games this season, but that doesn't mean we're giving up on the dream of seeing them actually show up on both ends of the floor.
All that said, it was a very good night for the Knicks. No surer way to know that than to realize we've recapped an entire 21-point win and never mentioned Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.
That's the power of the shoes, people. Respect it, enjoy it and maybe even fear it a little bit.