If you're a Knicks fan who also appreciates the game of basketball, it's hard to imagine a finer game to watch than Wednesday night's 109-105 victory over the Warriors.
You got the Knicks win and you got a performance of singular brilliance by Stephen Curry in defeat that left you wondering if he shouldn't be forced to play with a 28-foot three-point line just to give defenses a chance against him. Curry had 54 points on 18-of-28 shooting while playing every minute of the game and even threw in seven assists to further imprint himself on the contest.
We've seen games like this from Kobe, LeBron and Michael Jordan, who, as you surely know, recently turned 50 on a day celebrated by ESPN and others as if Jordan were the first human being ever to reach that age. Those games ended in sadness and anger, but this one ended with joy.
Ironically enough, it was because Carmelo Anthony recognized that the power of the team can overcome the power of the individual. As Anthony zipped passes for dunks by Amar'e Stoudemire and kicked the ball around the perimeter to get open threes for J.R. Smith, we couldn't help but wonder about the reaction had the shoe wound up on the other foot.
Would Anthony be celebrated for his majestic abilities if he scored 54 points in a loss or would people complain about him being a ball stopper? A question that hopefully remains unanswered as the Knicks showed again on Wednesday that their offense can be awfully lethal when the ball moves crisply.
Anthony wound up with eight assists to go with 35 points that were once again fueled by trip after trip to the free throw line earned by consistently taking the ball to the hoop instead of settling for the first jump shot that came into sight. Stoudemire and Smith combined for 40 points and Tyson Chandler added 16 while setting his own career-high with 28 rebounds.
Those rebounds were part of what tilted the game to the Knicks. They added possessions and kept the ball out of Curry's hands, as did 12 steals (six by Iman Shumpert in his most impactful defensive game since returning) and just 10 turnovers.
The Warriors, on the other hand, shot 18-of-44 on non-Curry attempts and the other members of the team did little to help Curry's effort to steal a win at the Garden. David Lee was missing, which didn't help, but it's a pretty stiff rebuke of the powers of a one-man show that Curry could put up that game and still wind up on the losing end of things.
You can thank a balanced and deep opponent for that, a difference exemplified by Raymond Felton's block of Curry in the final minute with the game on the line. Felton had been abused all night long by Curry, but his teammates had dominated Curry's teammates to give him a chance to save the day with one blocked shot.
That's just what Felton did and Curry was left with a Pyrrhic personal victory because he needed to be totally perfect for 48 minutes to get the real kind of win. The Knicks were far from perfect, but, unlike Curry, their individual failings were mitigated by the fact that they had teammates pulling on the same rope.
The power of one was great on Wednesday night. The power of many was worth more, though.