Despite the loss of RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, and Kevin Knox due to COVID-19 health protocols, the New York Knicks still powered past the Houston Rockets on Thursday night to snap a four-game losing streak.
Despite a thin bench, the Knicks’ second-team stepped up big in the win, with a pair of young guards showcasing fantastic defense and even better offensive production. Rookie Miles McBride played 36 minutes compared to 12 from Derrick Rose, posting 15 points, nine assists, three rebounds, and shot 6 of 11 from the field.
It is clear that McBride is becoming a bright young player for New York and is well-deserving of more minutes after a stellar first performance against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. McBride has now strung together two productive outings, meaning head coach Tom Thibodeau will likely keep him in the rotation even when their injured players make a return from the Covid list.
However, McBride wasnâ€™t alone in his quest for success, as second-year guard Immanuel Quickley matched his efficiency and then some. Quickley posted 24 points, four assists, and shot 70% from three-point range, hitting 7 of 10 shots. The duo combined for 13 assists and 39 points, leading the way for New York, who had two starters post zero points.
Aside from the young guards, Julius Randle added 21, and Evan Fournier contributed 23; however, both posted a negative +/-.
The Knicks needed their youngsters to step up and play well, and the emergence of McBride is yet another sign of optimism for a team that continues to rely on their youth to pick up the slack. Luckily, they were up against a weak Houston squad who had dropped three of their last four games heading into Thursday night.
As a team, the Knicks hit 47.2% from deep and 47% on the field, contributing 40 rebounds and 25 assists. They held the Rockets to 34.4%, shooting from three-point range, 24 rebounds, and 29 assists. They out-rebounded Houston by 11, including 10 added offensive rebounds.
This was the high-energy performance Thibodeau needed from his team to get back in the win column, and they can look ahead to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night with a hopeful return of some of their impact players.