In many ways, the Knicks’ 103-94 victory on Saturday was the polar opposite of their loss the night before. On Friday, they couldn’t hit a three to save their lives, but they executed a near-perfect comeback that fell just short. On Saturday they shot a scalding 20-37 from beyond the arc, but they nearly blew a 22-point fourth-quarter lead, as the Cavaliers charged back to cut the deficit to three.
How did the Knicks survive? They relied heavily on the shot-making prowess of rookies Miles McBride and Quentin Grimes. Deuce pushed the lead back to five with a tough bank-shot, and Grimes put the Cavs to bed next time down the court with a corner three. It was that kind of game for the Knicks’ starting backcourt: Grimes and McBride controlled the game from the start, with an assist from vet Obi Toppin. Good times.
- Apparently Friday’s 15-point performance was just the beginning of the Quentin Grimes Breakout. Grimes looked confident—maybe even too confident on some shots—en route to a game-high 28-point masterpiece. He struggled a bit from inside the arc, but made up for it by getting to the free-throw line seven times. He was bombing away from three all night, shooting 6-14, including that late dagger. And he chipped in six rebounds and four assists.
- Miles McBride (or Deuce Nukem, as P&T’er WaltClydePhraser called him) rebounded from his 2-14 shooting performance Friday with an efficient 9-14 (5-8 from three) against Cleveland. Yeah, that’ll do. Taking over PG duties from Immanuel Quickley, who sat with a sore groin, he also chipped in 5 assists (4 turnovers, though). He called his own number on the biggest possession of the game, and sank a cold-blooded bank-shot. I love him.
- This might have been my favorite Obi Toppin game of Summer League. He wasn’t super-efficient (8-20 from the field), and he missed quite a few shots at the rim, but once he realized he didn’t have it going offensively in the first quarter, he took a backseat to Grimes and McBride. Then, when the rooks cooled down in the third, Toppin took over, splashing a couple of threes and keeping the Cavs in the rearview. Seventeen of his 21 points came in the second half. That’s what I like to see from my vets!
- Boy, was I glad to see Jericho Sims. He sat on Friday, and replacement Reid Travis stunk up the joint. On Saturday, he was back to his old self, with 8 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, some quality screens and solid defense. LOL, he was the No. 58 pick!
- With Quickley and Luca Vildoza injured, and Rokas Jokubaitis returning to Europe, undrafted guard MJ Walker got some burn. I like the kid. He hit his threes (3-3), grabbed five boards, and played some D. Let’s get him to Westchester!
The Knicks have one more game to play in Vegas, on Monday, against the hated Atlanta hawks. REVENGE!