REBOUNDING. DEFENSE. And Quickley in the 4th. NY 120 Washington 99

The Knicks OWNED the boards, laid down a stifling defense, and moved the ball on offense to jump out to a 21-point early lead on the Wizards in Washington, and then laid it down again in the 4th quarter to blow the Wizards off the court.

In between, the Wizards hung in — and had pulled to within 5 points entering the 4th.

But in the 4th, the Knicks intensified their defense and Immanuel Quickley went nuts for 17 of his 27 points off the bench — with Jalen Brunson (32 points) and Julius Randle (22 pts, 7 rebounds, 8 assists) joining him on the offensive end.

Quickley was doing it before 40 to 50 family and friends from his hometown of Havre de Grace, Maryland, with his mother #1 fan sitting courtside, making it a feel-good evening for everyone but Wizards fans. The Washington arena was full of raucous Knick fans — making the game feel like a NY home game.

“Donte (DiVincenzo) gave us great minutes and Quick gave us great minutes,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “We got terrific wing play from those 2 guys. And Jalen was Jalen and Julius was Julius.”

“We had tough matchups because (Danillo) Gallinari was at center for them,” continued Thibs. “I liked the way Isiah (Hartenstein) rebounded the ball tonite. So that was big. (Daniel) Gafford is a load to deal with, I thought Mitch (Robinson) was terrific with that. I thought Deuce (McBride) gave us good minutes; I thought Evan (Fournier) gave us good minutes. So it was good all around play by everybody.”

NY was without RJ Barrett for a 3rd straight game with migrane headaches. The Knicks were also without Quentin Grimes, out with a sprained hand.

NY improves to 7-5; Washington falls to 2-10. The game was a designated “In Season Tournament” game, which meant it behooved the Knicks to win, and win by as many points as possible as point differential is counted in tie breakers. Afterwards coach Tom Thibodeau said he wasn’t looking to run up the score. “I just want to make sure we have 1 more point than they do,” said Thibs joking.

1. Knicks Jump Out to Early 21-Pt Lead

The game started at 7pm and if you turned it on at 7:20 the Knicks were already up by 11 points. NY jumped out to a 20-9 lead and led 35-25 after 1 quarter. NY could get anything they wanted on offense, and Julius Randle was powering to the rim for buckets.

Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart joined the starting rotation with Barrett and Quickley out, and Evan Fournier joined the 2nd team.

NY was up 12 when the starters came back in with 5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. Donte DiVincenzo hit back-to-back 3’s, Quickley hit a floater, and DiVincenzo hit ANOTHER 3 and NY was up by 21 — 60-39 — with 3:58 left in the half.

But then the Knicks took the foot off the pedal a bit — Kyle Kuzma made consecutive buckets and then hit a 3 just before the half to pull Washington to within 11 — NY 65-54 at the half.

2. Washington Pulled Back to Within 5 After 3

In the 3rd, it was more Kyle Kuzma (who finished with 19 points), with help from Corey Kispert, Deni Avdija (18 pts), Tyus Jones (10 pts), and Daniel Gafford (10 pts).

The Knicks kept trying to pull away but Washington kept pulling back and then even closer. A Kispert 3 pulled the Wizards to within 5 with a minute left in the 3rd; Quickley put NY up 7 with a drive but Avdija answered and the Wizards were back within 5 entering the 4th.

3. Knicks OWNED the Boards

And then the Knicks just laid it down again in the 4th — a stifling defense and they OWNED the boards — all night. NY got every defensive rebound and got many 2nd opportunities on the offensive end.

Isiah Hartenstein beasted inside early in the 4th, and then Mitchell Robinson beasted inside the rest of the 4th when he came back in with 6 minutes left, NY up 100-91. Josh Hart was making mad defensive plays at the rim, as were Robinson and Hartenstein.

NY outrebounded Washington 48-32 on the evening.

Miles McBride was playing a stifling defense in the backcourt — the Knicks completely shut down Jordan Poole all evening. Poole finished 2-11 (0-6 from 3, 4-4 in free throws) for 8 pts in 29 minutes.

4. Quickley Goes Nuts in the 4th

On the offensive end, Julius Randle was bullying his way to the bucket at will, making some spectacular drives, Jalen Brunson was popping nothing-but-net 3’s off passes from Randle, and then Immanuel Quickley went nuts — hitting 3’s, floaters, drives — and giving love to his mom sitting courtside cheering him on along with an arena full of loud Knick fans.

“Immanuel Quickley was big whether he was breaking you off the bounce, stretching the floor, keeping defenders on his hip and hitting his floater, creating for others along with impacting the game on the other end by getting into and after you,” summed up NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “Also, always active and competes hard.”

5. Havre de Grace, Maryland

Havre de Grace, Maryland a favorite town on way to DC. You can see it on Amtrak. It is so enchanting looking, I made sure to stop in when driving down to DC one time. It is a town on the water at mouth of Susquehanna River. And it turns out it is Immanuel Quickley’s home town. For this game, 40-50 people from Havre de Grace including Quick’s mom, were at the game. Quick’s mom — a former standout college player — was sitting courtside and the 40-50 person entourage was right behind her.

The Boxscore


After the prior game, Mark Jackson posted a video that smashed the rumors that he had been fired by MSG before even announcing a game due to the Knicks employing the assistant coach who secretly recorded Jackson in the Golden State lockeroom years earlier.

Jackson explained he had turned down the job over a week earlier.

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