Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Knicks [Print without images]

Friday, January 3, 2014
Opening Tip: Is Shump ready to break out?

By Ian Begley

Iman Shumpert
Iman Shumpert exploded for 27 points in the Knicks' 105-101 victory over the Spurs on Thursday.
Thanks to Iman Shumpert, the Knicks didn't have any effort issues on Thursday night.

Shumpert broke out of a season-long slump with 27 points on 10-for-13 shooting in a big win over San Antonio.

He set a career-high in points and came through for the Knicks when they needed it most.

Shumpert knocked down a 3 with 39 seconds to go in the fourth quarter to give New York a three-point lead.

San Antonio's Marco Belinelli tied it with a 3 of his own on the Spurs' next possession.

But Shumpert answered once again, tipping in Anthony's miss to give New York a two-point lead it would hold on to.

One interesting wrinkle to Shumpert's night is this: He seemed to give maximum effort on the defensive end and fed off of that on the other side of the court.

So often this season, it seems that Shumpert's poor shooting had impacted his play on defense.

But on Thursday, the third-year guard had three steals and helped the Knicks outscored the Spurs by 10 in his 31 minutes on the floor.

It was a masterful night, and one that the Knicks could use more often from their starting shooting guard.

Shumpert, as you may have heard, entered the game in the midst of a horrific shooting slump.

He was shooting 36 percent from the floor and 30 percent from beyond the arc.

Shumpert's shooting struggles are one of the many reasons the Knicks have struggled so mightily this season.

Will a New Year bring a new Shumpert? The Knicks can only hope so.

If Shumpert can play like the kind of two-way force that the organization hoped he'd be coming into the year, it may help the Knicks save this nightmare of a season just yet.

Up now: Carmelo Anthony returned from a three-game absence to score 27 points and help set up his teammates in a win over the Spurs.

Shumpert exploded for 27 and made all the big plays down the stretch for New York (10-21).

What's next: The Knicks will play the Houston Rockets on Friday.

Question: Do you think Thursday's performance was a sign that Iman Shumpert is ready to break out of his slump?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.