“Dougie McBuckets,” Kyle O’Quinn bellowed.
“That’s what he do,” Tim Hardaway Jr. added. “He gets buckets since he was born.”
Doug McDermott wasn’t just a fan favorite Tuesday night. He was also the toast of the Knicks’ locker room after he produced his best performance in blue and orange, scoring 20 points on just eight field-goal attempts and keying a come-from-behind 118-113 victory over the Hornets at the Garden on Tuesday night.
McDermott, who came to the Knicks along with Enes Kanter in the Carmelo Anthony trade, was perfect from 3-point range (3-for-3), and perfect from the free-throw line (3-for-3), shooting the lights out and scoring 10 fourth-quarter points. He hit a number of big shots, a four-point play and a left-corner 3-pointer with 3:08 left that got the Knicks within two.
“Doug’s a beast,” Lance Thomas said. “He was doing this in practice. We know what he’s capable of doing, and he’s doing it.”
“Just find him,” O’Quinn added, “he’ll make you look good.”
After a slow start, the 6-foot-8 McDermott has come on of late, reaching double-figures in three of his last five games. His shot attempts have been rising, and the confidence his teammates have in him has, too.
“I think a lot of it is guys that haven’t played together for a while getting used to each other,” McDermott said. “Frank [Ntilikina] was hurt a little bit there, so I was playing with different point guards. Now there’s a little continuity, and that has helped me out a lot.”
His effort was part of a big night from the Knicks bench, which did most of the heavy lifting in the final quarter. Ntilikina had a career-high eight assists in playing the entire final period, O’Quinn added 12 points, five rebounds and four assists, and Thomas had 10 points and five rebounds. Most importantly, they defended well, handcuffing the Hornets who had their way on the offensive end over the first three quarters.
“The bench guys, it’s our job to either sustain [how our starters play] or take it to another level,” Thomas said.
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