McBride drops 16 dimes in Westchester Knicks’ second win

Knicks photo of Miles McBride dunk

The Westchester Knicks climbed out of the cellar as Miles McBride continued his stellar G League run.

McBride presided over the Knicks’ 126-99 rout of the undermanned Maine Celtics Wednesday night at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT.

The Knicks made 44 field goals off a season-high 31 assists. McBride accounted for more than half with a career-high 16 assists. It was the second-most assists in Westchester Knicks’ history. Lamar Peters holds the record with 19 in 2020.

McBride had a chance to break Peter’s record. But with the Knicks up by 31, McBride left the game for good with still 6:54 left. The career milestone atoned for his shooting struggles. McBride overcame a 1 of 11 shooting nightmare in the first half by going 4 of 9 the rest of the way. He added 16 points, four rebounds, and one steal against three turnovers in 36 minutes.

McBride and the Knicks overwhelmed the Celtics, who were missing their head coach, Jarell Christian (health and safety protocols), and two-way players Sam Hauser and Brodric Thomas.

With McBride’s court vision on full display, the Knicks’ offense flowed with a balanced attack. Three more starters finished in double figures.

Knicks’ two-way player and McBride’s lob partner Jericho Sims was a perfect 7 for 7 from the field. Sims came one rebound shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine boards. His frontcourt partner Aamir Simms knocked down 4 of 5 treys and put up 20 points and 12 rebounds in just 22 minutes. Brandon Williams also had 20 points and five assists.

Jordan Allen came off the bench to fire a career-high 27 points built on nine triples, one shy of the Westchester Knicks’ record.

The Knicks improved to 2-4 with McBride as the difference-maker in both wins.

In Westchesters’ first win of the regular season, McBride recorded multiple career-highs — 39 points and five three-pointers, eight rebounds, and five steals — and seven assists.

Juwan Morgan’s 22 points led the Celtics, who dropped to 2-3.

After his 16-16 effort, the New York Knicks immediately recalled McBride. The Knicks will host the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

Currently buried in the point guard depth chart with Kemba Walker healthy again, McBride will continue to get reps in the G League during their home games.

Westchester Knicks will embark on a three-game road trip beginning on Saturday with a rematch against the Celtics. Their next home game is on February 1 against the Delaware Blue Coats.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

 

McBride’s career game powers Westchester Knicks to first win

New York Knicks rookie point guard Miles McBride and two-way rookie center Jericho Sims gave Westchester a timely lift in a come-from-behind win over erstwhile unbeaten Motor City Cruise, 110-105, Tuesday night at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT.

McBride dropped 10 of his G League career-high 39 points in the fourth quarter as the Knicks went on a 15-7 closing run for their first win of the season after three straight losses.

Motor City Cruise dropped to a 3-1 record.

McBride shot 15 of 26 from the field and went 5 for 9 from downtown. He was all over the court as he collected eight rebounds, seven assists, five steals, and one block in 44 minutes.

“I’m here to learn how to become an NBA point guard and run a team,” McBride said after his scintillating performance.

Sims had a monster double-double, delivering 17 points and 12 rebounds with three assists and two steals in 32 minutes of action.

The Knicks rookies provided several highlight plays but none bigger than the alley-oop connection that gave Westchester a 100-98 lead with 3:50 left.

Westchester played catchup three-fourths of the way until Sims’ dunk with 7:36 left put the Knicks on top, 93-91. It was a nip-and-tuck affair from thereon until Motor City grabbed a three-point separation on Cheick Diallo’s layup.

McBride’s last basket pushed the Knicks ahead, 104-103, then Blake Francis and Jordan Allen iced the contest. Allen was the only other Knicks player in double figures with 11 points.

McBride and Sims are expected to be recalled on Wednesday as the New York Knicks host the streaking Dallas Mavericks at the Madison Square Garden.

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Knicks’ rookie point guard ready to step in and smooth over Kemba Walker injury

knicks, miles mcbride

When the New York Knicks inked Derrick Rose to a three-year extension and signed Kemba Walker to a two-year deal in free agency, the front office was preparing to mitigate fatigue and injury throughout the entire season.

However, while they thought one would be able to supplement the other, the injury bug has hit the point guard position for the Knicks at an inopportune time.

Luckily, they spent one of their draft elections on West Virginia stand-out PG Miles McBride, this past class. The young guard has shown flashes of quality in just four appearances with 20 minutes or more on the floor.

After Kemba Walker returned from exile to post vintage numbers, he suffered a left knee injury during pregame warm-ups on Friday that could keep them out for several days. Head coach Tom Thibodeau was unsure of the severity after the game, but the Knicks will run more tests to determine how long he will miss.

“I don’t know, because he started his warm-up, and then he stopped. And then [trainer] Anthony [Goenaga] was looking at him and just felt, let’s get him examined, and then we’ll go from there.,” Thibs said regarding the severity.

McBride, though, is more than capable of filling the void in the meantime. In fact, the essential experience McBride will enjoy could help take his game to the next level.

The Knicks know what Miles McBride can do:

The defensive maestro has shown flashes in nearly every category, scoring 15 points against the Houston Rockets on December 16, paired with nine assists, showcasing his facilitation. He also recorded four steals in that game, presenting a difference-maker off the bench.

Against the Detroit Pistons on December 29, he posted a +39 +/- despite scoring zero points. His defensive efficiency was incredible, making him extremely valuable to the next double-digit comeback in the fourth quarter.

It is possible that Thibodeau relies on Alec Burks as the primary starting PG while Walker recovers, and even Immanuel Quickley can earn some minutes, but McBride offers solid defense on an every-night basis, which is something he prefers.

Giving McBride an opportunity to start and showcase his qualities as he shakes off the jitters could end up being fruitful. He was forced into the starting slot against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which he wasn’t prepared for. He finished with seven points and one assist over 24 minutes.

The Knicks are preparing to take on the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night, and McBride will undoubtedly have a major role in helping his team back into the win column.

Knicks turn cold for second straight New Year’s eve

The New York Knicks struggled to make shots sans their top three playmakers.

Without Julius Randle (health and safety protocols), Kemba Walker (sore left knee), and Derrick Rose (ankle surgery), RJ Barrett led the Knicks attack. Still, he didn’t muster enough support as they fell to the hot-shooting Oklahoma City Thunder, 90-85, Friday night at Paycom Center.

For the second straight New Year’s eve, the Knicks turned cold from the outside.

Last year in Tampa, the Knicks shot 3 for 36 from downtown and missed 20 three-pointers in a row at one ugly stretch. They lost that game, 100-83, to the Toronto Raptors, who notched their first win at their expense. The Knicks’ starters bricked all their 23 three-point attempts becoming the first starting five with the most misses without a make all-time, per ESPN Stats & Info.

There was an uncanny resemblance of that cold shooting night in Oklahoma City. Against the Thunder, they were 8 for 41 from deep, with the starters going 3 for 20.

As cold as the Knicks were, the Thunder were the exact opposite.

The home team hit a season-high-tying 18 3s on a sizzling 41.9 percent clip.

Barrett barrelled his way to 26 points on 10 of 20 shooting in a showdown with fellow Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who had 23. But the difference is Gilgeous-Alexander got plenty of support.

Aaron Wiggins, who worked out with the Knicks last summer, continued his solid run with 13 points on 5 of 8 shots. It was his fourth straight double-digit scoring game.

The Knicks’ second unit, a position of strength all season, got outscored 43-30. Aleksej Pokusevski’s 11 points led Oklahoma City’s bench mob.

Obi Toppin, who started for Randle, produced only five points — all in the first half — and added seven rebounds and one assist against one turnover in 27 minutes.

Rookie Miles McBride started for Walker, a last-minute scratch because of a sore left knee.

“I don’t know [how serious the injury is], because he started his warm-up, and then he stopped. And then Anthony [Goenaga] was looking at him and just felt it, you know, let’s get [knee] examined, and then we’ll go from there,” Thibodeau said after the New Year eve’s loss.

McBride was one of the many Knicks players who struggled offensively.

The Knicks had great looks, but the shots didn’t fall. They reportedly didn’t have a shootaround as a precaution due to the ravaging COVID-19.

McBride missed five of six three-point tries. Barrett went 1 of 8 from downtown. Evan Fournier couldn’t shake off the sore ankle that held him against Washington. The French gunner struggled in his return, sinking only one of his five three-point attempts.

The Knicks cut the Thunder’s lead to three, 74-71, early in the fourth quarter. But Pokusevski hit a three-pointer that triggered a 10-0 Thunder run to pull away.

The loss snapped the Knicks’ three-game win streak and fell to 17-19. They will cap their three-game road trip in Toronto on Sunday.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks lose 6th players to Covid measures, this time it’s Miles McBride

miles mcbride, knicks

New York Knicks rookie point guard Miles McBride woke up with the opportunity of a lifetime on Saturday morning, but it took just a few hours before he entered Covid health protocols as well with five other teammates.

McBride has been on a tear in the last two games, providing stellar offensive production and adequate defensive efficiency. In his first legitimate assignment against the Golden State Warriors, McBride posted eight points, hitting 2 of 4 shots from deep and recording four rebounds.

Against the Houston Rockets, McBride posted 15 points and nine assists, displaying not only productive offensive playmaking but also facilitation for his teammates. He helped snap a four-game losing streak that had been haunting New York.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau was excited to continue utilizing McBride in a more prominent role, but after testing positive/coming in contact with someone who did with Covid, he will be placed on the 10-day list retro-active on December 28 at the very minimum.

McBride will join Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, RJ Barrett, and Immanuel Quickley, who were also placed on Covid reserve due to health protocols. With a thin team gearing up to take on the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, they are at a massive disadvantage. Boston has lost four of their last five games but given their depth compared to New York, things are getting a bit murky for the Knicks’ outlook.

The loss of McBride is a big one, especially after posting back-to-back stellar performances on both sides of the ball. The Knicks needed a leader at point guard with some energy, and his loss will be felt with the only other capable point guard being Alec Burks on the roster. Veteran PG Derrick Rose is day-to-day with a sore right ankle, so there’s no guarantee he will be available for the game either, leaving the team extremely shorthanded.

Knicks’ Miles McBride is being gifted the opportunity of a lifetime

knicks, miles mcbride

Energy, effort, intensity. Those are three factors that rookie point guard Miles McBride brought to the New York Knicks on Thursday night against the Houston Rockets. After spending the majority of the season working with the G-League team in Westchester, McBride was suddenly elevated to a prominent role with Covid ravaging the Knicks’ lineup.

Losing RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Quentin Grimes, and Obi Toppin this past week, McBride found himself suddenly playing 20+ minutes in back-to-back games, showcasing fantastic scoring capabilities and defensive energy.

One thing the Knicks have lacked severely this season is effort, as the starting team has echoed one another with an emphasis on being out-hustled and outpaced.

However, Tom Thibodeau found his team running the floor effectively and with unmatched energy after the installation of McBride and the presence of Immanuel Quickley. Quickley has since been placed on the Covid list for the next 10 days at least, despite his best efforts to evade the virus.

McBride has been ready to take on a bigger role this entire season, averaging over 25 points with Westchester. He simply wants to have an impact, and he did just that with 15 points and nine assists against Houston.

“Every time I step on the court I just want to impact winning,’’ McBride said before Thursday’s win over Houston. “That means on the defensive end I’m always going to bring it. Offensively I’m just going to read what the game gives me.”

Watching McBride play, you can see his poise and comfort on the floor. He doesn’t overthink, and he rarely makes mistakes, providing efficiency beyond what the Knicks have experienced this season at the point guard position.

“He played a great game,’’ Knicks veteran Taj Gibson said. “He was real patient, he does everything he needs to do early in the mornings, the early group, he’s a student of the game.’’

With Kemba Walker still riding the bench after being exiled from the team due to defensive deficiencies, McBride seems to be in line for a massive increase in playing time. If he continues to dominate, Thibodeau will have no choice but to continue relying on him as a primary player.

“You look at his development and he’s a strong two-way player,’’ Thibodeau said. “He plays with great energy on both sides of the ball. He plays multiple positions. He’s unselfish. He sprays it out. If you sag off him, he’s going to shoot. He can make it and can finish. And he’s a great worker.’’

Knicks’ Thibodeau may have stumbled upon electrifying guard duo

immanuel quickley, knicks, miles mcbride

The New York Knicks snapped a four-game losing streak on Thursday night against the Houston Rockets, courtesy of young guards Miles McBride and Immanuel Quickley.

Scoring 116 points has been a difficult reality for the Knicks over the past month, but seven 3-PT shots from Quickley led the team to victory. However, his partner in crime, McBride, recorded 15 points in a career-high 36 minutes of action.

Against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, McBride seized his first significant assignment by the basketballs, playing 20 minutes and garnering eight points and one assist. However, he unleashed his facilitation capabilities against Houston, recording nine assists as the team’s primary point guard off the bench.

With veteran PG Derrick Rose leaving the game with a sore right ankle, McBride picked up his playing time and ran with it effectively. Not only was he a phenomenal offensive threat in this game, but he played lockdown defense, posting a +19 +/-.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau might have stumbled across an electrifying duo of guards in this contest with Quickley and McBride. They played well off one another and created opportunities for the players around them, something the Knicks struggled to do in recent days without a true and tried starting facilitator.

After the victory over Houston, Quickley dropped a few words of leadership, not only indicating he’s growing on the court but as a leader behind the scenes.

“We needed it big. Through the tough times, I feel like we’ve stuck together pretty well”

Thibodeau went on to provide a mode of confidence with his young players, stating he sees it every day in practice and that once the opportunity came to fruition, they would be ready to take advantage.

“They’re killer workers, I see it every day in practice. I always feel that when they get their opportunity, they’re gonna be ready to roll.”

It was quite easy to see that McBride was ready to make the jump to the big leagues after dominating in the G-League. McBride averaged 26.8 points per game with Westchester, shooting 40.5% from three-point range and 48.2% from the field. The West Virginia stand-out has proven he can dominate from range but also contribute inside driving to the rim.

Pairing all of these positive attributes with vision and facilitation makes him a viable prospect to be the Knicks’ long-term starter at point guard down the line (or at the very least a great depth piece).

The question is, when McBride hits a wall and has a poor game, can he bounce back and shake off the negativity without skipping a beat? That is what separates good from great, and so far, he’s justifying more minutes alongside Quickley, with the pair combining for 39 points and 13 assists on Thursday.

McBride, Quickley power Knicks past Rockets with 39 combined points

immanuel quickley, knicks

Despite the loss of RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, and Kevin Knox due to COVID-19 health protocols, the New York Knicks still powered past the Houston Rockets on Thursday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

Despite a thin bench, the Knicks’ second-team stepped up big in the win, with a pair of young guards showcasing fantastic defense and even better offensive production. Rookie Miles McBride played 36 minutes compared to 12 from Derrick Rose, posting 15 points, nine assists, three rebounds, and shot 6 of 11 from the field.

It is clear that McBride is becoming a bright young player for New York and is well-deserving of more minutes after a stellar first performance against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. McBride has now strung together two productive outings, meaning head coach Tom Thibodeau will likely keep him in the rotation even when their injured players make a return from the Covid list.

However, McBride wasn’t alone in his quest for success, as second-year guard Immanuel Quickley matched his efficiency and then some. Quickley posted 24 points, four assists, and shot 70% from three-point range, hitting 7 of 10 shots. The duo combined for 13 assists and 39 points, leading the way for New York, who had two starters post zero points.

Aside from the young guards, Julius Randle added 21, and Evan Fournier contributed 23; however, both posted a negative +/-.

The Knicks needed their youngsters to step up and play well, and the emergence of McBride is yet another sign of optimism for a team that continues to rely on their youth to pick up the slack. Luckily, they were up against a weak Houston squad who had dropped three of their last four games heading into Thursday night.

As a team, the Knicks hit 47.2% from deep and 47% on the field, contributing 40 rebounds and 25 assists. They held the Rockets to 34.4%, shooting from three-point range, 24 rebounds, and 29 assists. They out-rebounded Houston by 11, including 10 added offensive rebounds.

This was the high-energy performance Thibodeau needed from his team to get back in the win column, and they can look ahead to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night with a hopeful return of some of their impact players.

Knicks may have something special in rookie point guard

miles mcbride, knicks

The New York Knicks may be on a four-game losing streak, but they have plenty of things to be optimistic about. Whether it be the 27-point performance from Quentin Grimes against the Toronto Raptors or Miles McBride bleeding confidence on the floor against Golden State, the Knicks have a few spark plugs.

Grimes was projected to take a more prominent role before being ruled out due to Covid health and safety protocols. The Houston product showcased aggressive defense with superb shooting from range, setting a Knicks rookie record with seven three-point shots made.

However, in McBride‘s first legitimate action of the season, he proved he could stand on his own 2 feet without much support. An electrifying step-back jumper from three-point range in the first half stood out as his highlight of the evening, contributing eight points and four rebounds. He hit 50% of his shots from deep and connected on 37.5% from the field.

McBride has been working diligently off the court to prepare for this moment, dominating in G-League performances to prove his value.

“We see it in practice, when he’s had opportunities in the G-League, he’s played really well there as well,’’ Thibodeau stated after the loss to Golden State. “He played well in the summer league. It’s good for him to have an opportunity like that. All the things that he’s working on every day and then to get into a game situation and to see it unfold, it’s good, it’s positive. Our young guys are really hard playing and they’re coming along.’’

Even veteran point guard Derrick Rose spoke to the confidence of McBride and how great he looked against Golden State, stating, “hopefully Thibs gives him the time.”

During G-League play, McBride is averaging 26.8 points per game on 40.5% shooting from three and 48.2% from the field. His 57.1% effective field goal percentage is fantastic, and he’s  73.2% of his attempts unassisted, indicating play-making ability.

The West Virginia standout primarily focuses on shots from less than 5 feet (22 of 85 attempts) in accordance to the rim and between the 25–29 foot range (28 of 85 attempts). While he doesn’t have much of a pull-up jumper game or mid-range, he’s highly efficient from beyond the arc and close to the basket.

Against legitimate NBA talent, those numbers will undoubtedly level out, but seeing his sustainable success in the G-League is motivating for his future. In addition to his scoring proficiency, McBride is also a stellar defender with a sleight of hand attribute. He is incredibly quick to intercept passes, notably having the biggest hands of any guard in the most recent draft class.

Given the team continues to deal with Covid related absences, McBride is deserving of another opportunity to showcase his skill set. Against a struggling Houston Rockets team, Thibodeau should provide him with added minutes.

Curry reminds Knicks of what they missed but McBride offers hope

Knicks Curry McBride

The special night belonged to Stephen Curry.

He broke Ray Allen’s record for the most three-pointers in NBA history, and his Golden State Warriors came away with a 105-96 win over the New York Knicks Tuesday night at the Garden.

But the Knicks could take solace on squeezing another solid performance from one of their recent draft picks.

Miles McBride, the 36th pick of the draft, seized the opportunity to show he belongs and deserves to share the court with Curry. With the Knicks missing three players (RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Quentin Grimes) due to health and safety protocols, McBride was Tom Thibodeau’s ninth man in the rotation.

After checking in for Evan Fournier in the final six seconds of the opening quarter, McBride quickly made his presence felt. He opened the second quarter with his first stepback three-pointer.

With some razzle-dazzle dribbling, the 6-foot-1 McBride shook off Damian Lee, then used Mitchell Robinson’s screen to lose his bigger defender. After creating the space, he stepped back to the right corner and avoided Nemanja Bjelica’s closeout.

Six minutes later, he did it again against the Warriors’ defensive stalwart Juan Toscano-Anderson from the right elbow.

Mcbride’s two beautiful stepback three-pointers helped the Knicks build a 46-38 lead before the Warriors stormed back and cut the deficit at the half to a solitary point, 48-47.

Buoyed by his stellar first half, McBride got a longer leash in the final two quarters. The rookie out of West Virginia ended up playing a season-high 20 minutes. He responded with eight points on 3 of 8 shooting and went 2 for 4 from downtown. He added four rebounds and one assist with no turnover, showing nerves of steel for a rookie.

“We see it in practice. When he’s had opportunities in the G-League, he’s played really well there as well. He played well in the summer league. It’s good for him to have an opportunity like that,” Thibodeau said of McBride. “All the things that he’s working on every day and then to get into a game situation and to see it unfold, it’s good, it’s positive. Our young guys are really playing hard, and they’re coming along.”

McBride’s confidence was oozing all night. Even the shots that he missed, he took them with conviction. There was no sign of hesitation.

Four impressive games in the G League prepared McBride for his moment. He dominated the G League competition with monster numbers — 26.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 9.5 assists, and 1.3 steals — and shot 40.5 percent from the three-point territory on 9.3 attempts.

“Deuce is a good player, man,” Derrick Rose said. His confidence is very high. His defense is top-tier. He just needs the time. Hopefully, Thibs gives him the time. But we know how good he is. And we know how good the rookies are. So it’s all about opportunity in this league.”

Thibodeau constantly harped about “confidence comes from preparation.”

McBride is another proof of that Thibodeau’s tenet.

When preparation met opportunity, he grabbed it, and he never let it go. McBride was the only Knicks player who finished with a positive (+4) plus-minus.

Barring any trade that would bring in a solid Kemba Walker replacement in the coming days, McBride figures to play more minutes moving forward as they continue to miss their COVID-19 stricken teammates.

McBride leapfrogging Walker in the rotation could be the final sign that the former four-time All-Star point guard is on his way out of New York. Walker and Fournier, who had a season-low two points on 1 of 5 shooting, will be trade-eligible beginning Wednesday.

Thibodeau remained steadfast with his decision to sit out Walker despite the Knicks sliding to their seventh loss in the last eight games — their record since he yanked the New York-bred point guard out of the rotation.

“You just want to put your team in a position to win. If you look at the games and you go through the games, there’s some really good stuff, and there’s some stuff that, obviously, has to be better,” Thibodeau reasoned out.

While Golden State coach Steve Kerr has it all figured out with the Warriors thanks to the continuity of their championship core led by Curry, Thibodeau is still learning more about his team.

“I think we’re finding some stuff out about some [of our] young guys. I love our young guys. When Jericho [Sims] stepped in, he played well (in Atlanta). When Quentin (Grimes) stepped in, he played well. I thought Deuce (Miles McBride) played well tonight. So, you know, we need everyone.”

What is becoming more apparent is that the Knicks’ offseason acquisitions — Walker and Fournier — have been a major flop. Their rookies’ promising showing somehow provides the silver lining amid a disastrous start.

Curry capped his 22-point (5 of 14 3s) performance with the dagger three-pointer in the final 2:41.

Curry’s historic night was a painful reminder of what the Knicks missed in the 2009 NBA Draft. They came one pick away from perhaps their greatest selection since Patrick Ewing.

The Warriors scuttled their plan.

To the victor belongs the spoils. To the loser belongs the lessons.

After several draft misses, finally, the Knicks appear to have had hit their recent picks.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo