Wow. Excuse me for getting emotional about a preseason game, but that was superb.
The Knicks were getting blown out of the gym by the Cleveland Cavaliers after a pathetic third quarter. The deficit was nearly 20, and it appeared to be yet another desultory loss as head coach Tom Thibodeau brought in the kids.
Immanuel Quickley oops it to OBI. pic.twitter.com/sUt2H6I4dZ— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) December 17, 2020
The defensive intensity picked up immediately, and the Cavs started to wilt. To his credit, Dennis Smith Jr. (8 points, 4 assists, 5 steals) really helped amp up that pressure. But DSJ was removed and rookie Immanuel Quickley took over the reins at point guard, and the Knicks soared into the lead. IQ didn’t shoot well (3-11), but he orchestrated the hell out of the offense (7 assists).
Quickley was the floor general tonight, but the ultimate hero might have been...Kevin Knox. Yes, that Kevin Knox. The much maligned forward came alive in the fourth, splashing threes, dunking on the break, and throwing outlet passes.
Knox dimes out a LIGHTNING quick assist to RJ for the dunk to bring the Knicks back within 3! pic.twitter.com/I0RZu8ORph— The Strickland (@TheStrickland) December 17, 2020
Knox bangs home ANOTHER 3 to give the Knicks the lead!!!— The Strickland (@TheStrickland) December 17, 2020
(Randle and Elfrid cheer from the bench as the kids clean up their horrible mess) pic.twitter.com/mRsUhDgzIM
RJ Barrett didn’t get to start the fun — he’s saddled with the starters — but he came in halfway through the fourth and played like a damn captain. He wasn’t having his best scoring night — though I’ll take 16 points on 6-12 shooting any damn day — but he defended hard, trusted his young teammates, and played within himself. True to form, his biggest play of the night was a pass.
RJ TO TOPPIN TO SEAL IT pic.twitter.com/4D5fylprIq— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) December 17, 2020
Mitchell Robinson (13 points, 10 rebounds) was a beast inside. Obi Toppin struggled on the boards, but parlayed some fine baseline cuts into dunks.
God that was fun. Matt Miranda on the recap tonight. Enjoy the snow!