Quickley leads young Knicks in wins against the Cavs
And just like that, Tom Thibodeau debuted as the headcoach of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden with back-to-back wins against the Cleveland Cavaliers. On Wednesday evening 93-100 in a thriller fourth quarter overtime and last night, a crushing 83-119 blowout.
And in both games, the spotlight was on the late first runder, Immanuel Quickley, the guard from Kentucky. Quickley, who was picked at 25 after several moves by the front office is making a strong case for the point guard position, a key position that the Knicks have been struggling to fill for decades but never really managed to put all the pieces together.
The young rook, who played more as a shooting guard in College has surprised most people with his playmaker abilities, shooting the ball well from the three, rebounding, playing defense, running the floor on both ends but mostly for creating spaces and opportunities for his team mates.
Kevin Knox, who struggled in his first two years with the Knicks is now looking as a completely different player. Not having to create positions for himself, Knox has been served flawlessly by Quickley and shot 5-8 from the field (including 3-5 from behind the arc) on Wednesday and 7-10 (including 6-7 from long distance) last night.
The Knicks struggled in the first home game and trailed by as many as 18 points in the third quarter and 17 early in the fourth. But they managed to turn things in their favor and with a lineup where Obi Toppin, the Knicks’ first rounder of 2020, was the oldest player, they made a memorable comeback with Knox going 4-4 from the field, RJ Barrett and Toppin 2-2 each and Mitchell Robison making his only shot.
Last night, New York went straight at them and crushed them from the start. They built a 41-18 lead at the end of the first quarter and at the halftime the score was already 72-35. Quickley led the Knicks with 22 points, 5 assists and 5 steals, Knox followed with 20 buckets and Barret scored 15, collected 5 boards and intercepted the ball 3 times.
Worth to note that both teams were missing important players: The Cavs played without Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, Mattew Dellavedova or Kevin Porter Jr while the Knicks had DNPs for Nerlens Noel, Austin Rivers, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Frank Ntilikina or Dennis Smith Jr among others.
With a record of 3-1 in preseason, the Knicks are now ready for a new season that will start on December 23 as they will travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers.