There are many things to touch on about last nights game, like how the Knicks clearly thought it was a West Coast game and didn't start playing competitive basketball until about 10pm. With that being said something special happened in the 4th quarter. What was that "something special" you ask?
IQ played a handful of solid minutes in the first half but was given the keys to the team in the 4th quarter and orchestrated an amazing comeback win for the Knickerbockers. Sure Andre Drummond didn't play the second half and Kevin Love was out all game but that is not what this is about. This was the beginning of a culture change in New York. Learning how to win is so important in today's NBA. For years we have seen the Knicks play the end of the game NOT TO LOSE rather than to WIN. Being tentative and playing slow has been a thorn in our side just to hold a lead down the stretch which we have seen squandered all too many times in the past.
Quickley was organized, composed and completely locked in on getting his team involved and creating opportunities for them to be successful. RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox both dropped 16 points and Kev hit some big 3's late with a ton of confidence and one even to take the 95-93 lead that would prove to be the dagger in the game. To be completely honest, this was the best I have seen Kevin Knox play since his "Player of the Month" aware in December of his Rookie year. A great game for him, let's hope he can build on that going forward.
While I'm giving out flowers to guys that have been less than efficient during their time in NY, Dennis Smith Jr has improved significantly on the defensive end. His athleticism suggests that he could be very very effective on that end of the floor thus creating easy offensive opportunities for him to ignite on the offensive end. His offensive game and reading the defense is still suspect because during a full court press I watched him stop... just stop and let himself get trapped. He needs to be more aggressive and a willing (and smart) passer to the open man when the double comes. If he can't get that together, I expect him to be included in a trade because the Knicks will not resign him after his rookie deal expires after this season.
Getting back to Quickley, however, he showed that composure that I mentioned earlier in plenty of different ways in the 4th. Whether it was the way that he baited Cleveland into 3 fouls in what felt like 3 consecutive plays on a side to side sweep that was called not in the act of shooting (which looked like a veteran James Harden move) or attacking the hoop and putting up a floater that he got hacked on to take his foul shots (that he is extremely good at, which cannot be understated - remember how bad RJ was last year(64%)?) Quick looks to be a machine gun shooter... he can hit a ton of shots especially from 3 which is something that the Knicks desperately need, especially if teams pack the paint and play zone, perimeter shooting is going to be how the Knicks live and die.
I am extremely happy that we got to see the youth learn on the fly last night and get to play the final 12 minutes and pick up a win. This season is going to be an emotional rollercoaster with up and down games like that but as long as I see the kids improve and guy start separating themselves by making positive steps I'll be happy and we will be in for a treat for a long time!
We have one more game at MSG against Dotson and the Cavs before we hit the road and see Oladipo and the Pacers in Indy on the 23rd. Here's hoping we see some improvement in this final game.