New York Knicks: A closer look at what the bench did against the Boston Celtics
Jan 18, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; New York Knicks center Willy Hernangomez (14), guard Courtney Lee (5) and guard Justin Holiday (8) defend against Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) in the second half at TD Garden. The Knicks defeated the Celtics 117-106. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The performance from the New York Knicks‘ bench was the difference in Wednesday’s win against the Boston Celtics.

The New York Knicks (19-24) have a good bench. They’re ranked in the top 10 in assists, rebounds, and blocks. One glaring problem was that they couldn’t score. The Knicks were ranked 19th in points.

A lineup shift was necessary.

Head coach Jeff Hornacek made a shocking change to the starting lineup before Monday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks by replacing veteran sharpshooter Courtney Lee with undrafted free agent Ron “Burgundy” Baker. Lee’s salary for 2016-17 is over $11 million, while Baker is earning just over $500,000.

The Knicks missed Kristaps Porzingis on Monday and were still getting the kinks out of a new rotation and suffered a tough one-point loss. Despite the defeat, Hornacek stuck to his guns and went with Baker again on Wednesday. With Porzingis out for the fourth straight game and Joakim Noah sitting too, Kyle O’Quinn slid into the center spot.

Facing the Boston Celtics would be a great test for the debut of the starting five of Derrick Rose, Baker, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Carmelo Anthony, and O’Quinn. It turned out that the bench was the key factor in a road upset win against a borderline championship contender.

We took a closer look at how the reserves performed Wednesday night. They’re the unsung heroes after all. It’s about time we showed them some love.

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