Entering Saturday, the forward was averaging 6.5 points in about 12 minutes per game, and tonight in the Knicks' big win, he scored 12 points in only seven fourth-quarter minutes. He showed off his inside-out scoring versatility once again, and now that Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire are banged up, Mike Woodson knows that he's got to play the 28-year-old rookie more.
"Cope can score the basketball," the coach said. "On our bench, I need guys that can score. I'm not going to hesitate to throw Cope in because I know he can do that. He does it very well. I've just got to get him committed on the other end. I wouldn't be doing my job if I just let him go one way. Tonight, I thought he proved a little bit that he deserves to be on the floor."
Before tonight, Copeland hadn't played in the past eight Knicks games, mostly for defensive reasons. But he said he's been committed to making stops by absorbing a lot of knowledge from the veterans on the team.
"The biggest thing I've been doing is asking questions, from guys like Kurt, Amar'e, Kenyon -- just learning as much as I can about being in the right spots," he said. "I think those are my biggest issues."
Reflecting on his time on the bench in previous weeks, Copeland was not disappointed at all. He said that he is simply "thankful for the opportunity" to be wearing the blue and orange.
"It's a long time coming," he said. "I'm happy to be here. That's the most important thing for me. I want to play, everybody wants to play, but this team is extremely talented. It's a very deep roster and you can't play everybody. That's just the truth."
SMITH SOARS: With Stoudemire out, the role of secondary scorer on the Knicks falls squarely on the shoulders of J.R. Smith.
If Saturday night was any indication, Smith should be able to fill in just fine.
Smith had 24 points on an efficient 10-for-18 shooting. He hit four of eight from beyond the arc and had 11 points in the fourth quarter.
He punctuated the Knicks' win with an emphatic double-clutch dunk midway through the fourth quarter.
The issue with Smith is his consistency. Can he score on a nightly basis in STAT's absence?
"I need him to be J.R. and score the ball like he's been scoring it," Woodson said.
GETTING IT DONE ON 'D': The Knicks put up 113 points on Saturday, but they all pointed to their defense as a key to the blowout win over Utah.
"Defensively we were just scraping and scratching," Woodson said. "Our assignments were pretty much right on the money. That's something where we had slippage in the past."
The Knicks held the Jazz to 38.5 percent shooting. Utah missed 18 of 26 3-pointers. It should be noted, though, that the Jazz were playing their fourth game of a four-game road trip. Utah went 0-4 on the trip.