Obi Toppin, Jericho Sims electrify in Knicks’ first Summer League loss

Alder Almo
New York Knicks, Obi Toppin

New York Knicks couldn’t find their mark from the outside, but Obi Toppin and Jericho Sims provided the highlights in an 89-79 loss to the Toronto Raptors Sunday at the start of their NBA Summer League campaign in Las Vegas.

The Knicks shot an atrocious 7 for 40 from deep, with Immanuel Quickley and Toppin combining for 4-of-21 three-point shooting. Both incoming sophomore players were 1 for 5 from the floor in the opening quarter as the Knicks played catchup the rest of the way.

“I was very curious. So far, it’s been a great experience,” Toppin said after the game. “It would have been better if we got the W. We just didn’t lose but we learned today. We’ll learn from this and get better.”

Toppin’s confidence grew as the game went on as he got comfortable in a go-to guy role in their summer roster after languishing behind Julius Randle last season. He led the Knicks with 24 points, including a breakaway slam in the opening half. He added eight rebounds, a steal, and a block and finished the game on 10-of-21 shooting.

Jericho Sims jumped out of nowhere to steal the show among the Knicks rookies. His energy and athleticism led him to produce 12 points on a perfect 6 for 6 shooting on the floor. He was electric and a human highlight reel with his above-the-rim shots. The Knicks announced during the early moments of the game that Sims had been signed to a two-way contract. He can be with the Knicks next season up to a maximum of 50 games. The 58th overall pick added eight rebounds and one shot block for good measure.

Quickley pushed the pace after his slow start and had the Knicks within single digits, 83-74, on his three-pointer with 2:26 left. But the Raptors answered with back-to-back threes to put the game away.

Quickley played a game-high 37 minutes and collected 15 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and two steals as the primary point guard.

The Knicks’ first-round pick Quentin Grimes opened the game with a three-pointer and finished with nine points, all coming from beyond the arc. He was 3-for-11 overall and 3-of-8 from the three-point line. Miles McBride missed all his four attempts from 3 but scattered nine points, five rebounds, two assists, and one steal while showing some toughness on both sides of the floor.

Luca Vildoza’s shooting slump from the Tokyo Olympics continued, but he drew a charge on his first defensive play and handed out three assists.

Lithuanian Rokas Jokubaitis did not see action, and Knicks Summer League coach Dice Yashimoto described him as situational. Barcelona only cleared him to play three games in Las Vegas. From the looks of it, he’s more likely a pick-and-stash with the Knicks prioritizing Vildoza before him.

The Knicks will return to action on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers at 10 pm ET on ESPN2.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo