New York Knicks: The catalyst behind beating the Pacers came at the perfect time

Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks
Dec 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley (5) passes the ball during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks earned their third win of the season against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday evening, an improbable win that continues to fuel an exciting start to the 2021 campaign. After the next fell to do Toronto Raptors, scoring just 83 points this past week, most start a competitive match up against Indiana would be too much for them to handle.

However, the return of rookie guard Immanuel Quickley fueled them to victory, scoring a total of 106 points and holding Indiana to 102. Quickley finished the day with 15 minutes, nine points, and shot 3-of-4 from the field. He also logged two assists and turned the ball over three times.

“A little rust, obviously, but overall, very pleased,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Good energy. You can see he’s clever in terms of drawing fouls, which is very important.”

Quickley struggled early on but found his sea legs as the game progressed. He played a healthy dose of minutes after returning from a hip pointer, walking away unscathed this time around. It seems as if the more live-action he gets, the better he will become, and he has shown solid vision and the ability to draw fouls, hitting two shots from the free-throw line.

“He’ll get his rhythm really quickly,” Thibodeau said. “He’s really talented and he’s smart and he’s a great worker. I love his attitude, I love his approach. He’s going to be a really good player in this league for a long time.”

The New York Knicks are excited about Quickley’s adaptation:

That is quite a review from new head coach Tom Thibodeau, who has committed to playing the best players possible to extract wins. Ultimately, winning games is more important than player development, as you can do both simultaneously. The feeling of confidence and development while winning can be even more contagious and beneficial than losing and getting your youngsters more minutes. Even so, second-year player RJ Barrett dominated against Indiana, putting up 25 points and shooting 8-of-15 from the field and 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Barrett has been inconsistent to open the season but has shown flashes of dominance over the past six games. Hopefully, with the injection of a solid guard like Quickley, who can shoot and drive to the basket, it will open up more shots for Barrett, who seems to do better when given the space and time to take open shots and drive to the lane when defenses collapse.