Knicks’ Quickley joins elite company in Rockets win, continues breakout year

Immanuel Quickley Knicks
Immanuel Quickley (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Immanuel Quickley is in the midst of a breakout season for the Knicks, averaging career highs in minutes, points, rebounds, and steals per game while shooting a career-best mark from the field. However, that career season got even more special on Monday night in the Knicks’ 137-115 drubbing of the Rockets.

In last night’s game, Quickley notched a career-high 40 points on 14-of-18 from the field, and 5-of-7 from beyond the arc while dishing out nine assists, pulling down two rebounds, and registering one block and one steal. His +18 plus/minus was the highest of any player on the floor on Monday. 

The performance put Quickley in the Knicks’ record books as the 5th player ever to score 40 points and dish out five assists while shooting 75% from the field. 

However, Quickley joined even more illustrious company than that. 

In the history of the NBA, only three other players have ever had 40 points and nine assists in a game while shooting 75% from the field and also having just one or fewer turnovers. 

You’d recognize those three names too: Larry Bird, Alex English, and Terry Porter. 

Bird was a three-time league MVP for the Boston Celtics, Alex English was an eight-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA selection playing primarily for the Denver Nuggets, and Terry Porter was a two-time All-Star playing primarily for the Portland Trailblazers. 

Quickley now makes that list four deep, and he did most of his damage in the first three quarters on Monday, scoring just three points in the fourth quarter of a game that he helped turn into a blowout. 

It couldn’t have come at a better time for Quickley, who has been a key cog for the Knicks with Jalen Brunson banged up but has been wildly inefficient from the field for most of the month. 

After scoring 38 points on 53.6% shooting against Boston on March 5th, Quickley has vacillated between solid games, like a 26-point and 10-rebound game on 57.1% shooting against Portland, to a 10-point game on 33.3% from the field against the Nuggets or a five-point game on 12.5% from the field against the Heat. 

The Knicks are going to need the best version of Immanuel Quickley if they want to make a run in the playoffs, which is quite a turnaround from when the third-year guard was playing just 22 minutes a game and scoring 8.7 points for much of October and November.

In March, Quickley is averaging 31.9 minutes per game, scoring 19.8 points per game with 4.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. 

All of that has helped him emerge as the betting favorite for 6th Man of the Year (something we did tell you to bet on when his odds were at +6600). 

Immanuel Quickley Knicks
New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley, left, looks to shoot over Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 27, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

With a club option for 2023-2024, Quickley is likely to be back in New York for at least another season before the team needs to worry about where he fits in with the large contracts given to Brunson, Julius Randle, and RJ Barrett. Quickley will be a restricted free agent in 2024 and then will likely command big dollars on the open market, so it’s important for the Knicks to decide if he’s a player they feel is integral to the championship squad they want to build. 

Given his performance this year, Quickley’s name will also continue to be brought up in trade rumors whenever discussion centers around the Knicks’ desire to move their plethora of first-round picks to acquire a proven NBA star.

The Kentucky guard has done everything in his power this season to show the Knicks why they should keep him, but one way or another, his name will now be etched in Knicks’ history forever. 

For more Knicks coverage, like this Immanuel Quickley article, visit amNY Sports


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