The Knicks suffered a humiliating defeat to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, but there are some positive takeaways from the loss — particularly the young players shining in the New York backcourt.
Starting point guard Jalen Brunson didn’t play, while RJ Barrett took the court for only two minutes on Tuesday night after suffering a lacerated right index finger.
Without them, the Mavericks launched a miraculous comeback, and beat the Knicks in overtime 126-121 — led by Luka Doncic’s 60 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists.
But, as Brunson and Barrett sat, other guards like Immanuel Quickley, Quinten Grimes and Miles McBride managed to keep the game close against Doncic’s historic performance.
Quickley finished the game with 13 points, while operating as the team’s main facilitator behind his 15 assists. He also kept control of the ball during his time dominating the rock, and recorded just a single turnover.
Grimes, meanwhile, provided the Knicks with their single biggest spark on offense, and finished the game with 33 points. He was magnificent around the rim, and showed an ability to shoot from the outside, as he drained a team-high seven three pointers.
Coming off the bench, McBride finally got his time to show off his skills. The 22-year-old played a total of 46 minutes — a significant upgrade from the 9.3 minutes per-game that he’s seen so far this season.
McBride struggled shooting, as he made just four of 14 field goals, but finished with 14 points and two steals. He also went to the free throw line two times in the final minute of regulation — giving the team a much-needed spark off the bench when they were most struggling against Doncic.
The Knicks, for one of the few times in modern franchise history, are deep.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau’s team has more young players that they know what to do with, and, even with significant injuries to their starters, it still took a generational performance from Doncic to overcome their next-man-up mantra.
When Brunson and Barrett return, it will surly cut into the minutes allotted to Grimes, McBride, Quickley and others, but there’s no doubt that the team’s roster, and especially their backcourt, is as loaded with young talent as any team in the NBA, and Tuesday showed it yet again.