NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 10:45 PM
Langston Galloway scores 16 points – including 4 of 5 from 3-point range – off the Knicks bench in the team’s season opener, a big win over the Bucks in Milwaukee.
MILWAUKEE – Even without much help from Carmelo Anthony, Phil Jackson’s revamped roster and prized rookie polished off their first opponent.
The Knicks, when it was all said and done, couldn’t have asked for a better opener. Especially from their bench.
Following that 65-defeat disaster last season, public proclamations and expectations were avoided on all levels of the organization. But they went into Milwaukee on Wednesday and breezed past a playoff hopeful in the Bucks, 122-97, with Kristaps Porzingis scoring 16 points and Derrick Williams dropping a game-high 24 off the bench.
The Knicks retook the lead late in the first quarter and never again trailed, thriving on the foul line (29-for-35) while holding the Bucks to 35 percent shooting. It was also a successful demonstration of Derek Fisher’s tweaked offense, with a directive to play at a quicker pace.
Anthony, playing in his first real game in eight months following knee surgery, struggled over 29 ineffective minutes. He finished with 11 points while missing 12 of his 16 shots, a few hours after preaching patience at Wednesday morning’s shootaround.
“I’m tired of using the word patient,” Anthony said. “But at this point, just be patient with us. It’s something we just put together. We got together in September. It’s not even November yet. We’ve been together a little over a month. It’s going to take some time. But we’re going to enjoy this process. We’re going to have fun with this process.”
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But the reserves played like they were ahead of the curve. Williams also showed that maybe the great preseason wasn’t a fluke. The wild-styled forward, a former No. 2 overall pick in 2011, took 17 shots in 21 frenetic minutes, grabbing seven boards (seven offensive) in the process. He injected life into the Knicks, leading a bench that outscored Milwaukee’s, 73-32.
Williams scored 15 points in the first half on 5-of-12 shooting, playing outside the lines of the triangle or any halfcourt offense, for that matter. When the starters got in on the explosion, the Knicks’ lead ballooned to 22 points in the third quarter.
It was a rough start for Porzingis, and the starters in general, who missed 10 of their first 12 shots and fell in a seven-point hole. But Porzingis settled down, crashed the paint and completed an impressive 24-minute debut. Clearly not intimidated or afraid of the physical NBA game, he also went to the foul line 12 times, missing thrice.
Carmelo Anthony is swarmed by the Bucks. He scores just 11 points on 4 for 16 shooting.
Milwaukee was shorthanded without suspended Giannis Antetokounmpo and injured Jabari Parker and OJ Mayo. But it was still an encouraging performance from the visitors, who started Sasha Vujacic (11 points, 4-for-6 shooting) at shooting guard to replace hamstrung Arron Afflalo.
“(Vujacic) can shoot the ball, he can guard multiple players and he’s annoying to other teams,” Derek Fisher said. “So why not put him out there?”
It worked. Milwaukee starting guards Michael Carter-Williams and Jerryd Bayless combined to shoot 6-for-23.
The Bucks were led by Greg Monroe, the summer free agent who spurned the Knicks and scored 21 points with 14 rebounds on Wednesday. Langston Galloway added 16 points off the bench for New York. Fisher played 10 guys at least 18 minutes.