Immanuel Quickley, Knicks bench come up big in first of back-to-back

Nov 29, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley (5) drives to the basket between Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren (0) and Bojan Bogdanovic (44)during the first quarter at Little Caesars Arena.
Nov 29, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley (5) drives to the basket between Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren (0) and Bojan Bogdanovic (44)during the first quarter at Little Caesars Arena. / David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks needed a game like Tuesday night.

After losing two straight games in excruciating fashion, New York took it to the lowly Detroit Pistons, 140-110, to get within a game of .500.

While the highlights will showcase Julius Randle and his season-high 36 points on his 28th birthday, the unsung hero of this game was the Knicks bench. That's because the unit of Immanuel Quickley, Derrick Rose, Obi Toppin and others gave the starters some much-needed rest in preparation of the second of a back-to-back on Wednesday against the vaunted Milwaukee Bucks.

“I thought we had really good contributions from a number of different people after Jalen [Brunson] got into foul trouble,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game. “I thought Quick and Derrick came in and they did a great job and Cam (Reddish) came in, he did a really good job and you know (Mitchell Robinson) was terrific and put pressure on the rim. Isaiah (Hartenstein) gave us good minutes, Obi got going. A lot of guys, doing good things together.”

The Knicks had five players in double figures, including Quickley, who did it off the bench.  Quickley finished with 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting and four assists to lead the Knicks bench. 

But the way the 23-year-old led the offense even with veterans like Rose on the floor allowed for the Knicks starters and coach to just watch the seconds tick way as the team picked up their 10th win of the season.

“I was following behind Quick,” Rose said. “This is my second game back. I'm just trying to get the rhythm. I felt like my conditioning was pretty good, but yeah, just trying to get a rhythm and trying to get guys open whenever I see them open.”

Rose returned from a toe injury this week, but he wasn’t the only one ailing. Quickley was questionable for Tuesday's matchup after leaving Sunday’s game against the Grizzlies with a sore knee, but he put in 22 minutes off the bench and still was able to play his aggressive style.

“I thought he was terrific,” Thibodeau said of Quickley. “To be nicked up a little bit, get out there, go through shootaround, go through his pregame and then get out there and play with the aggressiveness that he did. It says a lot about him, got a lot of toughness to him.”

Now with less than 24 hours until New York takes on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, they are little more rested than they would if the bench didn't put in productive minutes, especially closing out the game.

When asked if it felt good to sit out the entire fourth quarter, Randle could just chuckle and say, “Hell yea. Absolutely, for sure.”