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Trail Blazers 116, Knicks 113: Scenes from the game Immanuel Quickley nearly saved

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31 points for the rook.

NBA: New York Knicks at Portland Trail Blazers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

There was a great deal to hate about the Knicks’ 116-113 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. The supposedly formidable Knick defense gave up 70 points in the first half, and they trailed by 20 for much of the contest. The defensive dynamo that is Elfrid Payton (sarcasm alert) couldn’t stop Damian Lillard, who had 15 points in the first quarter. That rascally ex-Knick Enes Kanter thoroughly out-played Mitchell Robinson and even played some good defense on Julius Randle.

But forget all of that for a moment, and let us focus on Immanuel Quickley. Pretty much every Knicks fan has been calling for Quickley to start, and on Sunday night he showed why by nearly sparking a 20-point comeback with an insane 31-point performance.

IQ was beastly from beyond the arc, shooting 5-8.

He also shot 8-8 on free throws thanks to some crafty foul-drawing skills.

He had 4 assists, and could have had much more...I counted three excellent lobs that bricked off the hands of various Knicks bigs, most notably Nerlens Noel. When IQ was finally able to play with Mitch, the results were magical.

This is what we wanted — competitive games with the kids showing real growth. I’d like to see more from the rest of the team the next time out — and I’d like for them to leave Elfrid Payton in Portland — but IQ looks like a keeper.

Matt Miranda had some issues watching the game, but we promise you he’ll have the recap tomorrow at some point. Until then, get some rest.