The New York Knicks are coming off what most would coin an embarrassing defeat to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, losing by 24 points and failing to crack 80 points as a whole.
Boston returned with a vengeful performance after Evan Fournier posted 41 points at MSG to overcome his former club. Jaylon Brown recorded his 1st triple-double of the season, posting 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
For the Knicks, they simply couldn’t get going offensively, despite shooting a modest 35.5% from three-point range. Their 40% success rate from the free-throw line tells a story of inefficiency and the lack of fundamentals.
However, the Knicks enjoyed a solid outing from second-year guard Immanuel Quickley, who replaced Fournier, featuring in 37 minutes, posting 18 points and four assists. He was able to organize the offense sufficiently in the first half, but he lost control in the second half, as Boston ran wild, scoring 32 points in the third quarter compared to 18 from New York.
After the Knicks’ defeat to the Celtics, head coach Tom Thibodeau stated that he wanted more from Immanuel Quickley as an organizer of the offense:
“I thought he played really well,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said, per Phillip Martinez of SNY. “The first half he had us organized, had real good looks so it was a good start for him. I want him to take more control in the second half and I think he will. He’s done a good job for us.”
“I’m still learning. I’ll be the first one to tell you,” Quickley said. “I’m not perfect and I want to be, you know, as perfect as I can be. Just trying to take command of the team and put guys where they need to be.
“Whether it’s on offense or defense, I feel like my basketball IQ is one of my strengths and just being able to put people in the right spots, get us organized when other teams are on the run and settling us down a little bit….Just going through [games] like this helps out a lot. I’ll be better, we’ll be better next game.”
The Knicks need their young guard to step up in a time of need:
Quickley has shown signs of facilitation and elite vision this season, recording three or more assists in three of his last four games. On the season, he’s only averaging 2.6 assists and 10.7 points, but that’s mainly because he’s coming off the bench.
With Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose both nursing injuries, Thibodeau is demanding more out of Quickley as a point guard, a position he’s been slowly working on over the past two years. He’s shown glimpses of quality play, but he needs to be more consistent in finding open looks and organizing his teammates. Unfortunately, he needs more experience, which will sometimes cost the Knicks possessions.