Knicks vs. Hawks: 3 Major takeaways from Game 2

NY Knicks, Derrick Rose Elsa/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports
NY Knicks, Derrick Rose Elsa/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports /
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Immanuel Quickley, Knicks. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

New York Knicks: Start Immanuel Quickley!

When the starting lineups were announced for both sides and our TV screens were graced by the beautiful face of Elfrid Payton, every Knicks fan grumbled about how their team was starting an offensive zero in a vitally important playoff game. Nothing against Payton, but he is who he is.

The logic behind starting Payton was simple. The Knicks generate most of their offense from Julius Randle, and with Trae Young being the primary creator for the Hawks the Knicks don’t mind sacrificing a little offensive capability in exchange for someone who can bother Trae.

So much for that. Payton was barely keeping up with Trae Young as the Hawks jumped out to an early lead, but even worse than that, the Knicks were held to just 20 points in that 1st quarter.  Payton was a -7 in his five minutes of play.

That’s when Derrick Rose started heating up. Rose has been the focal point of the Knick’s bench offense all year, but once it started looking like New York was going to need him to show up big and play extended minutes, the question became who does he guard on the other end?

For all his strengths and lovable qualities, Derrick Rose simply cannot guard Trae Young at this stage of his career. But we needed him out there! So what choice did we have? Well, Immanuel Quickley answered that question when he started guarding Young in the second half. Trae had 20 points shooting 58% before halftime. In the second half? He was held to only 10.

At 6’3 with a 6’8 wingspan, Quickley’s length bothered Young as he hounded him up and down the court. And best of all, Quickly doesn’t have the same offensive deficiencies that Payton does. This allows the Knicks to play a really dogged defender on the Hawks leading man without having a non-factor on the other end.

He may not start Game 3, but he will be part of the closing lineup in this series. Of that, we can be certain.