In a rare weekday afternoon game -- and by "rare," we mean "the last one they'll play until Monday, their next game" -- the Knicks outlasted the Pistons 102-87 today in London. The game wasn't exactly the most glorious display of American basketball to show the Brits, but it was an efficient win, especially considering all the Knicks had to drive on the wrong side of the lane. Carmelo Anthony was the leading scorer with 26 points, but the real story of the day was the return of Iman Shumpert, high-top fade and all, playing nearly 15 minutes and almost instantly increasing the Knicks' defensive pressure. Interior defense when Tyson Chandler is out remains a problem -- Amar'e Stoudemire scored 17 points, on 11-of-12 free throw shooting, but boy howdy is he bad on D -- but the Knicks clearly have needed Shumpert, however gingerly he went today, to shore matters up. It was a nice breezy win, something the Knicks haven't had in a while and definitely welcomed. They'll fly back to New York tomorrow morning before the final Nets game of the season (until the playoffs?) on MLK Day, Monday afternoon. As for today, though: Jolly good!
Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty