Tonight, the New York Knicks outlasted the Atlanta Hawks 113-108. The Knicks’ and Hawks’ record both land at 4-3. This record for New York ties their second-best start to a season since 2001. The 2008-09 Knicks started with the same record.
Here are some things I took away from tonight’s game.
This is the biggest headliner of the game. Immanuel Quickley silences the draft analysts once again for multiple reasons. He continues to be a steal of the draft (picked 25th; projected to go 40th). One of Quickley’s biggest flaws coming out of college were his ball-handling and playmaking. Scouts also said he couldn’t run a team’s offense, thinking he is more of a sharpshooter. Well, the critics are dead wrong again. Quickley showed in a regular-season game that he can set the tone for not just the offense but the team in general. Like the preseason game against the Cavaliers, Quickley sparked another comeback. He was also able to draw numerous fouls, often landing him at the free-throw line.
Tonight off of the bench, Quickley totaled 16 points, an assist, and a rebound. He shot six of six from the free-throw line and two for three from beyond the arc.
But, you can’t mention one without the other.
Austin Rivers was also a driving force off of the bench tonight. Rivers was able to help the youngster Quickley run the offense. He also made clutch shots when it mattered, especially a three that came with the Knicks clinging to a one-point lead. Rivers also made two of three shots beyond the arc. Not to mention, he was one of the only Knicks that could keep pace with speedy point guard Trae Young. Although, Young drew dumb foul calls on Rivers.
Knicks fans are gonna call for these two to be in the starting lineup. But is that their best role? Both are lightning rods off of the bench and head coach Tom Thibodeau felt comfortable using them at the end of the game.
Julius Randle And RJ Barrett Have Stellar Nights
Julius Randle continues to have an All-Star like season. Randle is the best scorer they have and it continued to show as he put another 20+ point game. He also collected 17 rebounds on the night setting him up for a double-double. But, he was just one assist shy of yet another triple-double. Although he is a transformed player, Randle will have to limit the turnovers. He committed two ridiculous turnovers nearing the end of the game. He will have to cut down on the turnovers and also has to pass the ball to players other than Reggie Bullock and Elfrid Payton in the second half.
RJ Barrett had a stellar night besides some obvious misses. Barrett set himself up for a double-double, scoring 26 points and 11 rebounds. Barrett continues to work on his three-point shot as he finally made one against a team that’s not the Indiana Pacers. Like always, he effectively drove into the paint draw fouls and got to the free-throw line. He’s much improved from the line.
RJ Barrett needs to be more consistent to show that he is heading in the right direction.
Mitchell Robinson Continues To Make Adjustments
Mitchell Robinson’s game seems to be heading in the right direction. In the last few games, he’s continued to be more patient defensively and not be vulnerable to ridiculous fouls. Robinson may have landed himself in early foul trouble but he just continues to make strides with adjustments. In the second half, you could tell that he matched up well against Atlanta’s big men in Clint Capela and John Collins. He showed patience defensively against Domantas Sabonis and Giannis Antetokounmpo. If he eliminates the ridiculous foul trouble in the first half of games, he could be an awesome defensive player.
After a comeback victory against the Hawks, the Knicks begin a three-game homestand, starting with the Utah Jazz on Wednesday at 7:30. The Hawks will play host of the Hornets on Wednesday at 7:30.