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How it happened: Derrick Williams' reverse dunk for Knicks

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Williams' backdoor cut leads to reverse jam (0:21)

Knicks G Langston Galloway throws a nice pass to F Derrick Williams, who backdoor cuts his way to the basket for a reverse slam dunk. (0:21)

NEW YORK -- Much of the discussion around the New York Knicks recently has centered on the triangle offense. More specifically, it's been all about what's wrong with the offense.

The Knicks entered Tuesday's game against Detroit ranked 24th in offensive rating, 20th in field goal percentage, 30th in points in the paint and 30th in fast-break points.

That's not good.

The awful numbers above have been attributed to the triangle. Its critics say the offensive, which relies more on passing, cutting and mid-range shots than screen and rolls and drives to the rim, is woefully antiquated.

But against the Pistons, the ball moved, the offense flowed and the triangle looked just fine. New York hit 54 percent of its shots, including 8-of-16 3s, in a 108-96 win.

The play of the night, though, had nothing to do with Phil Jackson's signature offense.

All about "instincts"

Carmelo Anthony didn't have a specific plan when he went to set a screen for Langston Galloway midway through the fourth quarter.

"That wasn't anything designed. Sometimes in basketball, you've got to use your instincts," he said

And that's exactly what Anthony did when setting one of the two soft screens on the play for Galloway. He knew Galloway could knock down an open shot or get to the rim on a drive if he could free him on a screen.

Anthony didn't firmly impede Galloway's defender -- Reggie Jackson -- on his screen. So Robin Lopez set a second screen, which forced Detroit's Andre Drummond to stay out of the lane and near Lopez.

Derrick Williams watched all of this play out, watched Drummond float outside of the paint then saw his defender, Anthony Tolliver, lose sight of him for a moment. So he cut to the rim -- and Galloway hit him in stride.

The only problem? Williams couldn't find the rim by the time he gathered the pass.

"I didn't see it. I surprised myself on that one," he said.

With the rim out of view, Williams said he looked for the key as a reference point to indicate that he was near the rim.

"At that point, I just tried to jump because I knew [Tolliver] was on my back and the worst-case scenario was I was going to get fouled and the best-case scenario was I was going to get the dunk," he said.

Lance Thomas, watching from the opposite corner, knew exactly how this would end. And he knew it wasn't going to end well for Tolliver.

"I saw him get his steps together and I already knew what time it was," Thomas said.

"God-given ability"

Williams displayed the same type of athleticism on the play (shown in the video above) that fueled his rise to the top of most NBA draft boards in 2011. It's also the kind of athleticism that led the Knicks to give him a two-year, $10 million contract with a player option for 2016-17 over the summer.

Williams hasn't had many opportunities to attack the rim this season. He has averaged 7.6 points in 14 minutes per game for New York.

But the Knicks see these kinds of plays from Williams in practice fairly frequently.

"That's god-given ability right there," Thomas said. "Somebody else would have laid it up -- but he went upstairs. He's capable of that every day."

Finishing strong

The dunk was just one of many strong sequences for Williams on Tuesday.

He finished with 18 points and four rebounds in 18 minutes and was part of a pivotal lineup that closed the game for New York.

Derek Fisher complimented the lineup -- which featured Williams, Lopez, Thomas, Anthony and Galloway -- for its selflessness and defense in the fourth quarter. The trio of Thomas, Anthony and Williams allowed New York to switch on pick-and-rolls and gave Lopez a chance to stay near the rim late in the game.

"I thought the trust level was a lot higher," Fisher said.

The results were promising. Detroit missed 11 of 19 shots in the final quarter and couldn't put together a run to get back in the game.

So the Knicks walked off the floor with a much-needed win, Williams had another highlight to add to his YouTube reel and, for one night, there was no need to dissect New York's triangle offense.