ORLANDO-Through the seemingly endless, exhausting 58 minutes of action in the Knicks’ season opener, Immanuel Quickley played just over eight minutes in the match. When others subsequently collapsed, he went to work.
“Right after that Celtics game, I went straight to the gym,” Quickley said. “I expect to stay ready during the season, whether my name is called or not. It’s something I learned from many players in this league that you always have to be ready, always wait for the opportunity, and when you “given the opportunity, you can go and play hard and have fun. I think that’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned in this league.”
The morning before Friday’s game, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau was asked about his decision to use Quickley sparingly in the opening, and he said: “Just the group that was in there got going, so we just drove them further. Of course we have a lot “He’s a team-first guy, but we know what he can do.”
It took Quickley only two days to get his chance when the Knicks took the floor in Orlando Friday night. This time, Quickley played 20 minutes, scoring 16 points and helping the Knicks to a one-sided victory over the Magic. If the shift in opportunity came quickly for him, then the lessons, too, have only two games into his second season in the NBA.
The lesson now is that the Knicks needed him last season, and even though they do this year, they also have opportunities that they did not have last season. His greatest talent right now is the ability to create points, and with the arrival of Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, the development of teammates and even rookies added to the squad, Thibodeau has scoring opportunities.
“A big part of our team’s success is our depth,” Quickley said. “We can go all 15. Everyone does something very special with our team, and everyone knows what they are good at. And we play with each other’s strengths and cover each other’s weaknesses.
“It can be anyone. That’s how our team is and we get bought in. When someone is successful, everyone is successful.”
Virtually everyone has been successful in the two victories. The Knicks had six players score in doubles in the opening and topped it with seven on Friday. As a team, the Knicks scored 138 points in the opening game and followed that up with 121 in Orlando.
Quickley was one of four Knicks with four three-point field goals along with Alec Burks, Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier in Friday’s win, which helped set a franchise record with 24 made three-point field goals.
“Honestly, we could possibly bring it back as far as the way we play together, the way we move the ball,” Quickley said of the record that topped the 20 Knicks had converted three times in franchise history. “And then the defense creates offensive. And then the Thibs want us to shoot more threes. We can possibly hit it again.
“I think our culture is really together, insofar as everyone cheers for each other, when someone is successful, we are all successful. That’s how our culture, when someone does good, we feel like we all do well.”
“I think it’s a reflection of them playing for each other and just making the right game,” Thibodeau added. “We talked a lot about it at the beginning of the year – we wanted to shoot more threes, but we wanted them to be the right threes. So when guys put it off, when the other defender comes, you have to make the right ones. readings. And your edge readings are critical; second defender, spray it out, make the right pass. Often you involve two or three people at that game to get you a rhythm shot. “
It all worked on Friday, and with a large contingent of Knicks fans wrapped up in the Amway Center, it had a feeling it was no different from Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks are once again taking the magic on Sunday.
“It’s amazing. It reminds me a little bit of college games in Kentucky,” Quickley said. “The fans traveled. The Knicks fans are the best fans in the league. So it’s great to have your home ground advantage and I also feel that we have a small advantage along the way.”