In the first of a favorable five-game home stand, the New York Knicks faced their playoff rival Miami Heat. Following a tough loss to Minnesota, the Knicks’ legitimacy compared to other top teams in the East has been of major discourse.
Led by Jalen Brunson, the Knicks did the improbable, making a comeback from down 21 at the end of the third quarter to narrowly beat the Miami Heat with a final score of 100–98.
Studs: Immanuel Quickley sparks the fourth-quarter comeback
The poise and professionalism with which Immanuel Quickley has conducted himself this season have been paramount. Quickley was due an extension before the start of the season, but terms were not reached.
Despite this, Quickley is performing even better than ever this season, constantly growing and developing his game. Quickley is averaging 18 points per game over the last five contests and 15.7 on the season. Saving his best for the biggest moments, Quickley played the entire fourth quarter and scored eight points during the Knicks’ incredible 21-point comeback over the Miami Heat.
Studs: No moment is too big for Jalen Brunson
New York’s own Jalen Brunson has been magnificent to start the season. There isn’t a moment too big for JB, scoring 8 of his 24 points in the final three minutes. The Knicks are now 4-2 in their last six games, as Brunson is averaging 27 points per game. This ignition game after game from Brunson is exactly the direction the Knicks should lean as far as a primary scorer.
Studs: RJ Barrett getting it done on both ends
On the rare off night from Brunson, the “Duke of York” should be stealing the show. Following a three-game absence for migraines, Barrett has averaged 15 points since his return. The slow progression from Barrett is acceptable. Barrett has been stellar defensively, holding Jimmy Butler to just two free throws the entire 4th quarter and 0/5 from the field.
[su_posts template=”templates/list-loop.php” posts_per_page=”3″ tax_term=”1622552″ offset=”1″ order=”desc”]
Studs: The Knicks’ depth takes some pressure off Julius Randle
This consistency from JB allows less pressure on Julius Randle, as coasting through this season should be his top priority. New York’s depth is tremendous, with consistently high IQ players throughout the rotation. Forcing looks as well as the questionable shot selection has been a hindrance with Randle, but he put full faith in the team’s core as they got the job done.
Totaling 13 points and only playing three minutes in the fourth quarter, it seems a new leaf has been turned. With shots not falling, Randle didn’t attempt to be even more assertive, which is a tremendous development in his own right.
Duds: Poor defense and sloppy turnovers put the Knicks in a deep hole
The Knicks made a remarkable comeback in the fourth but had to do a lot wrong to go down 21 points. In arguably one of the worst third quarters of this tenure, the Heat scored 17 straight unanswered points to start the second half. Poor defense, along with 18 turnovers by the Knicks, allowed 25 points off turnovers to the Miami Heat.
The Knicks have been winning games regularly when they’ve had 20 or more assists, but against the Heat, who had 11 steals, the Knicks’ prowess with passing the rock was quickly altered in favor of Barrett, Quickley, and Brunson takeovers down the stretch.
Takeaways from the Knicks’ thrilling win over the Heat
The option of not having to rely so much on one attack offensively is the variety that has been so coveted. A legitimate variation is what separates the good from the great in the NBA. The Knicks have counters upon counters and can run an offense through four different players.
While the Knicks were down 21, Jalen Brunson stated, “Honestly a fan looked at me in my eye over here and said ‘This is embarrassing.’” The Knicks faithful can thank that fan and hope that New York will play better from start to close as they host Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.