The New York Knicks’ four-game road trip came to an end Tuesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers. It was their third game in four days and they were without point guard Jalen Brunson for a third straight game.
Immanuel Quickley would take Brunson's spot in the starting five, which left the bench without a key contributor. Someone was going to have to step up and help the Knicks finish their West Coast quest with a 2-2 record. What has made New York so good this season is their ability to have multiple players contribute from game to game. Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson are the two primary guys, but they are supported by a strong cast.
Unsure about the Knicks’ energy levels while playing their third game in four days, Portland came out hot. It was 10-0 four minutes into the game and the Knicks wouldn't score their first points until there was 7:48 left in the first. Down 33-20 after one, it would've been expected to chalk this up to a schedule loss and look ahead to hosting Denver on Saturday.
Showing resilience, the Knicks battled and won the second quarter 29-22, going into halftime down 55-49.
One player I wanted to highlight — as you can see by the title — is Miles McBride.
Up to this point, the game hasn't been too eventful for McBride. He checked in with 3:35 left in the first quarter and checked out with 6:58 remaining in the second quarter. Deuce recorded five points, two assists, and one rebound in his first-half action. He was also a +3 from the floor, pretty good considering the deficit the Knicks were in when he checked in.
His first half would be highlighted by a great block on Anfernee Simons. McBride has shown in his two seasons he has excellent defensive instincts. It’s been frustrating at times to see him not being utilized more this season.
Checking back in with 3:54 left in the third quarter, McBride would turn this from an ordinary game to a career night.
After knocking down his second three-pointer of the game with 2:45 left in the third, he would be set up a minute later to hit his third:
Starting the fourth quarter, McBride would continue his great night by knocking down another three and converting a transition dunk.
we’re watching some generational hoops right now, ladies and gentlemen!! pic.twitter.com/10OlUT2LHc— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) March 15, 2023
McBride Making a Difference:
The score was 74-74 when McBride checked in with 3:54 left in the third quarter. Coach Thibodeau would opt to keep his scorching guard in the game until the final buzzer. At the game's end, the Knicks would win 123-107. In his 16 second-half minutes, he’d score 13 points while also being a +17 from the field.
A career-high 18 points and four three-pointers for the 36th pick in the 2021 NBA draft:
Deuce McBride with the best game of his NBA career:— Teg (@IQfor3) March 15, 2023
2 blocks and 1 steal
Stepped up bigtime pic.twitter.com/pJf3nvYqwj
Miles McBride is a player that's only been able to find 12 minutes a game in 56 games this season. It highlights the Knicks' options and shows how deep this team is. Jalen Brunson has been hurt recently and this was the perfect opportunity for McBride to show up as he did. New York can run 9-10 players deep and it’s all about how that time is managed. McBride doesn't all of a sudden need to play 30+ minutes a game but finding 16-20 wouldn't be the worst idea. He is the type of pesky player that is worthy of being on the floor and makes winning plays.
I’d be curious to see what a Jalen Brunson-Miles McBride-Josh Hart-RJ Barrett-Julius Randle lineup looks like. These five offer speed and defense and would be hard to contain.
It’ll be interesting how Tom Thibodeau manages everything as we push toward the playoff. He’s the type of coach who is very top-heavy with his minutes, but the Knicks give him a new element he hasn't had much in his coaching days...depth.
Let me know in the comments if you think Thibs has done a good job with rotations this season.
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