Despite a lackluster performance on Sunday against the Pistons, the New York Knicks were back at it against the Cleveland Cavaliers. New York came back from an 18 point deficit to win the game 93-100.
Although they were simply trying to remain within distance of Cleveland, in the fourth quarter, the team clicked perfectly for the first time this season. Elfrid Payton, Reggie Bullock, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson all started the game. Even so, only Barrett and Robinson played the latter part of the game. The standout player for New York is surely rookie Immanuel Quickley, who was one of the most impactful players off the bench. Despite all the positives, there are still many issues that head coach Tom Thibodeau will need to address to ensure his team doesn’t often get into situations where they are trailing by a large amount. Here are the key takeaways from the game
Mitchell Robinson Needs To Stay Out Of Foul Trouble
With Nerlens Noel being rested due to a sore left knee, Mitchell Robinson was given the starting role as the center. However, he picked up two quick fouls early in the game, which relegated him to the bench very early on. Later on, Robinson received two more fouls, which significantly limited his defensive game. Although, he did play through it well. The Knicks looked like a more vulnerable team when the 22-year-old was on the bench.
Along with his foul trouble, Robinson has had much trouble with spacing, as he isn’t often able to tell where on the court he should be. This flaw led to many open three-pointers being made by the Cavs that could have been prevented. Fans are hoping Tom Thibodeau can vastly improve this flaw to turn him into a more well-rounded player.
Can Immanuel Quickley Start For The Knicks?
Over the off-season, the Knicks’ primary goal was to acquire a point guard who can direct the offense. However, their closest attempt at such a player was in their late first-round pick Immanuel Quickley, who would only be a rotation player. Despite earlier beliefs, Quickley has shown that he has the potential to be the player the Knicks are looking for. Quickley finished the game with nine points and seven rebounds and was key to the Knicks’ comeback. The Kentucky Wildcat still has a lot to prove. But, his passion and fire are unmatched.
Tom Thibodeau Is Developing A Gritty Team
If it was last year’s Knicks team that was down 18 in the fourth quarter, they wouldn’t have had much will to put everything out there. However, under coach Tom Thibodeau, nothing is over until the fat lady sings.
Despite a very poor performance in the third quarter, the Knicks remained relentless and started to slowly cut the Cavaliers’ lead throughout the last quarter. Interestingly, Tom Thibodeau went with a reasonably altered lineup than what he started the game with. Immanuel Quickley, Kevin Knox, and Obi Toppin all played the majority of the fourth quarter. The Knicks played aggressively on defense and had great ball movement on the other end. If they’re able to consistently put out performances as they did in that quarter, New York will surely be a surprise playoff contender.
The Knicks will finish off the preseason with a rematch against the Cavaliers on Friday. Thibodeau’s starters will surely be altered.