Get Well Game
Thanks to a career high from Immanuel Quickley, the Knicks got back on track.
Good morning, and thank heaven for (in no particular order) Immanuel Quickley, the Houston Rockets, and three days off.
Game Recap: Knicks 137, Rockets 115
⌚️30 Seconds or Less: A tale of two halves.
Even with their starting point guard sitting out again, the Knicks looked incredibly impressive with the ball out of the gate, getting anything they wanted in the paint against a Rockets team with no semblance of rim protection. Only cold 3-point shooting (aside from Immanuel Quickley - much more on him in a bit) kept them from truly exploding in the first half. More concerning was how easily Houston got what they wanted on the other end, comfortably getting into the midrange, the foul line and in transition until halftime.
Things got a bit better in the third, but it still took a Julius Randle three at the buzzer to give New York a double digit lead heading into the fourth. That’s when the Knicks poured it on, taking advantage of the badly undisciplined Rockets with a 15-2 run to start the fourth that put the game away.
⚠️ Crisis Averted…for now: Was it pretty? Not really, no…not for most of a game that saw an 18-57 squad with the 27th ranked offense in the league get much of what they wanted on offense.
With only a five-point lead at halftime, the tension was palpable that something about the Knicks was broken. Mitchell Robinson wasn’t himself. Julius Randle was picking and choosing his spots to give full effort even more than normal. There was even miscommunication and a lack of precision amongst the team’s best defenders.
This was not the look of a team that had three days off to re-commit to their defensive ethos in a way we haven’t consistently seen in weeks.
At the same time, they knew who they were playing. For as frustrating as it was to watch, this was not a game the Knicks ever trailed after the first quarter, when they briefly fell behind by two. Overall, New York did what it set out to accomplish, and in the process, scored their seventh highest point total in a regulation game in the last three decades. The defense, when it needed to be, was there, abruptly closing the door on any prospective comeback early on in the fourth.
(Particularly encouraging, after a really poor start to this game defensively, Mitch came out in the third like a man possessed:
That is the version of Robinson New York needs to make some noise in the postseason.)
Is what we saw on Monday just the start of a defensive resurgence? Or will the concerns carry forward during the next two games, when the Knicks face far more apt opponents than the one they defeated last night?
We’ll know the answer by the weekend.
🏆 Elite Company: Immanuel Quickley entered this game in something of a shooting slump, hitting just 37.2 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from deep since his 38-point masterpiece in Boston.
After last night, the slump is no more.
By the time Quickley walked off the court, he had a new career high of 40 points on 14-for-18 shooting. He also added nine assists and just one turnover.
In NBA history, before last night, only three players had ever put up at least 40 & 9 in a game with one or fewer turnovers on at least 75 percent shooting:
3-time MVP Larry Bird
8-time All-Star and member of the 25,000 point club, Alex English
2-time All Star and second leading scorer on the 1991 NBA Finalist Portland Trail Blazers, Terry Porter
The best part, even better than this company: Quickley didn’t get to his 40 thanks to a bunch of garbage time buckets. All but three of his points came in the first three quarters, when this was very much a ball game and when non-IQ Knicks started the game shooting just 1-for-12 from behind the arc.
He was there when they needed him, without Brunson in uniform, in a big way.
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