The New York Knicks found themselves in a massive hole come the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday evening. Down 50-70 at the half, the Knicks battled their way back into the contest, losing by just three points in the end.
Overall, it was a disappointing performance for a majority of the team, as RJ Barrett scored just eight points. However, there were also stand-out performances, notably Julius Randle who finished with 25, and rookie shooting guard Immanuel Quickley, who finished with 31, a career-high. Quickley continues to impress as he dominates in transition and utilizes his shifty speed and agility to create shots. He connected on 9-of-18 from the field, shooting 50% and hit 5-of-8 3-pointers. He also didnâ€™t miss a free-throw over eight attempts. Another positive stat, he recorded four assists, the second-highest on the team behind Randle.
Quickley is becoming a focal point for the Knicks on offense, playing 24 minutes, equal to starting PG Elfrid Payton.
The New York Knicks battled to until the very last moment:
However, when youâ€™re down 20 points at the half, it is extremely difficult to come back from. Even had coach Tom Thibodeau was impressed with the team’s fight and resiliency.
â€œItâ€™s impressive. Again,â€™â€™ Thibodeau said. â€œI think that shotmaking is a huge asset for our team. Thatâ€™s something that we need. He gets better with each outing, puts pressure on peopleâ€
While the offense sputtered in the first half, they picked it up significantly in the second, scoring 63 points while Portland finished with just 46.
The Knicks showed off their defensive prowess, as the number one ranked defense in the NBA.
Now, thanks to a strange COVID-19 schedule, they will have a week off to rest up and get some of their injured players healthy.
â€œMoreso this year with COVID, the schedule is against you and sometimes itâ€™s for you,â€™â€™ Thibodeau said. â€œIt usually balances out over the course of the year. We want to have the mental toughness to get through whatever weâ€™re facing. This was the situation which they had been off a long time. You deal with whatâ€™s in front of you. We know we have to bring more to a game to win.â€™â€™