Stronger Immanuel Quickley giving Knicks lift defensively



Immanuel Quickley has gone scoreless in two of the Knicks’ three games, but he has remained valuable anyway.

In the Knicks’ win Monday over the Magic, coach Tom Thibodeau used Quickley to close, rather than Derrick Rose or Evan Fournier, in part because of the reserve guard’s defense and playmaking (team-high eight assists). Quickley is best known for his offense, but he got stronger this offseason to improve his defense. He wanted to add versatility and round out his game to be able to make a difference other than by scoring.

“I think I learned a lot about that when I was in college at Kentucky,” Quickley said. “Especially playing with other great players. Especially in my school. Every night is not always your night to score.

“But you can still have a positive impact on the game. That’s something I learned in college early on. And some nights it is my night to score. And when it is, I’ll take full advantage of that.”

Immanuel Quickley
Immanuel Quickley

Quickley has really stood out as a distributor in the last two games, producing 15 assists and keying the second unit’s explosive transition game.

“Teams are playing me as a scorer, so I try to create for my teammates,” Quickley said.

Quentin Grimes took a slight step forward in his recovery from a sore left foot on Tuesday. The second-year guard went through drills and got some shooting in during practice. although he has been ruled out for the game Wednesday night at the Garden against the Hornets.

Grimes missed most of the preseason and has yet to practice fully since he felt discomfort in his left foot the day after the final exhibition game.

The Knicks won’t have to deal with playmaker extraordinaire LaMelo Ball (ankle), who was ruled out by the Hornets. Fellow guard Terry Rozier (ankle) is doubtful as well, which will mean a major role for former Knick Dennis Smith Jr.

Smith played very well as a starter in a win over the Hawks on Sunday, notching 18 points, six assists and three steals.

The Knicks are looking for their first 3-0 start at home since 2012-13.


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