The trial runs were over for the Knicks’ rookies in Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley, as they stepped on the court for their first regular season game on Wednesday night. Excitement and nervous anticipation is the normal feels in that time.
However, this game didn’t go the way the Knicks or the rookies wanted it to.
It was a promising first half to watch for New York, who took a 66-61 lead into the locker room at halftime. And in that span, Topping and Quickley looked pretty good.
That was until Quickley suffered a hip pointer that forced him out for the rest of the game.
“I can’t say,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said when asked if Quickley would be available Saturday in the Knicks’ home opener against the Philadelphia 76ers. “He’ll be examined tonight and tomorrow obviously.”
When Quickley was on the floor, though, the offense started to flow much better and it was obvious when he came in for Elfrid Payton. Quickley would finish the night 1-for-3 from the field for five points.
Toppin, on the other hand, was noticeably anxious to start. He seemed to rush his shots a bit, but that comes with the territory.
“I don’t feel perfect, but I feel alright,” he said when asked about his first game. “It was a learning experience.”
Toppin, known for his prowess around the rim, was taking shots from beyond on the arc more often than not in this one — seven to be exact. He hit three of them for his nine points on the night.
“I just felt like I was trying to find the flow of the game and those were the spots I found,” he said as to why he was shooting the deep ball. “I think I had a couple inside shots, but I rushed it a lot and like I said I’m still learning because it’s my first real season game.”
Toppin finished 3-for-12 from the field, not ideal in Game 1. But he did show some flashes as a solid passer out of the post, and the athleticism was certainly showcased.
It may not have been the perfect debut, but there were positives for both Knicks rookies to take away. For Quickley, it was definitely the fact that the offense looked to run better through him.
“I think we all saw it: He had great impact when he went into the game in the first half,” Thibodeau said.
In Toppin’s case, it was the confidence to get involved on the offensive end, though the execution needs some work.
Overall, these two players are works in progress and improvements will be made as the season continues. And they know that there will be more opportunties down the road to show what they’re really about.
“All of us have to get better at what we’re doing on the court and we have a lot of games in front of us and a lot to learn.”
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