The New York Knicks are on the brink of elimination. There is no escaping that fact. It is as difficult as it has been all season to think optimistically. Some fans might blame the referees in the past two games. Many fans might blame the effort of the Knicks in a crucial Game 4, but when all is said and done, there are two facts that the Knicks must make their highest priority.
The Knicks are down 3-1, and they need to win the next three games of the series to move on. Besides effort, there was a major factor missing for New York in Game 4 as Immanuel Quickley was sitting on the Knicks bench in street clothes and a walking boot.
Knicks’ Immanuel Quickley’s status is still uncertain for critical Game 5
Quickley is once again listed as doubtful for Game 5 and his status for the rest of the series (beyond Game 5) is still up in the air. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Knicks have officially reached rock bottom with their season on the line. But even if Quickley does return it is not a guarantee that he will even be a difference-maker for the team. The runner-up for Sixth Man of the Year has looked like a shell of himself in the postseason.
During the regular season, Quickley averaged 14.9 points and 3.4 assists per game on 44% shooting from the floor and 37% from three. In the postseason, those numbers have all dipped to 9.0 points and 1.0 assists per game on 34% shooting from the floor and a less-than-stellar 24% shooting from three.
Even with his struggles offensively, Quickley has continued to be one of the elite defenders in the entire NBA. It is because of his defense that Quickley has a +/- of +20 in this postseason despite his poor play on the other side of the ball.
A major advantage the Miami Heat have had in this series is bench scoring. What was believed to be an advantage for the Knicks in this series has been dominated by the Heat. Their bench has outscored New York in each of the four games in this series. The Knicks’ bench scoring cannot get any worse and needs any spark it can get to stop the Knicks from falling into a deficit whenever they enter the game.
Quickley has had a career year and has given the front office a lot to think about with his contract extension on the horizon, regardless of what he has done this postseason. But if the Knicks have any hope of making it out of this series or even extending it past five games, they will need all hands on deck.