New York Knicks rookie Miles McBride made the most out of the opportunity and showed out in a spectacular G League debut.
After playing only four garbage minutes in two games to start his rookie season, McBride proved he belonged to the NBA by stamping his class in the developmental league.
McBride came one assist shy of a double-double providing the jolt for the Westchester Knicks to pick up their first win of the season — a 104-98 victory over Long Island Nets on Wednesday night.
The Knicks rookie guard out of West Virginia scattered 29 points and a game-high nine assists. He added five rebounds and two steals asÂ Westchester won its home opener in its temporary home, snapping a four-game losing skid.
The Knicks affiliate club played at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, as the Westchester County Center is currently being used as a COVID-19 vaccination site.
Knicksâ€™ two-way player Luca Samanic was also impressive in his return from a heel injury. The Croatian forward scored 32 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as he and McBride teamed up as Westchesterâ€™s 1-2 punch combo.
McBride picked up the pace from the start pouring in nine points and four assists in the opening quarter. His seven-point outburst transformed a one-point deficit into a 25-22 lead, which the Knicks never relinquished.
â€œI love him, I love him,â€™â€™ Thibodeau said of McBride before his Knicks lost to Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden later in the night. â€œI think itâ€™s important for him to be with us. But every opportunity we get where we can have him play some, we want to try to take advantage of that as well. But heâ€™s got a great future, a great kid, hard worker. And when you come into this league, itâ€™s all about â€” youâ€™ve got to learn first. And thatâ€™s what heâ€™s doing.â€
Westchester led by as many as 17 before a spirited Long Island comeback trimmed the deficit to two points at the start of the third quarter.
A Samanic three-pointer off a McBride assist triggered a 10-2 salvo that restored order for the Knicks. McBride punctuated the run with a thunderous dunk as the Knicks grabbed a 72-62 lead with 8:55 left in the third quarter.
â€œItâ€™s just day-to-day,â€™â€™ Thibodeau said. â€œWhen we have an opportunity to send him, weâ€™ll send him. I love the proximity of it where itâ€™s right there, and itâ€™s in our building. So I think itâ€™s important for him to be with us in practice and games. But anytime we have a situation where he can do both. Ideally, thatâ€™s what we would like to have.
â€œThere will be some [days] where he goes back and forth. I love who he is. Heâ€™s a big part of practice every day for us.â€
McBride played 41 minutes and only committed three turnovers. He shot 10 of 24 from the field.
Samanic, a waiver pickup after San Antonio Spurs dumped him, played 32 minutes in his return. He added two assists and made 12 of 23 shots.
Aamir Simms backstopped Westchesterâ€™s 1-2 punch combo with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Westchesterâ€™s next game will be on Nov. 23, a rematch against the Nets at home. It is unclear if McBride will see action again as the Knicks will also host the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden on the same night.
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