With the Knicks down 15 to 4:40 left in the third quarter, Thibodeau turned to Immanuel Quickley and paired him with the new Austin Rivers closest. Thibodeau didn’t take out Quickley as long as the seconds remained in the game.
And the manager was rewarded again for his instincts when Quickley finished with 16 points in 19 minutes – 10 in the final period.
Quickley scored a massive three-shot foul on Atlanta superstar Trae Young with 2:34 left, bagging all three free throws. Quickley also stripped Young late, overtaking the All-Star in tough times.
The 22-year-old from Kentucky already plays like a wily veteran.
“The coaches give me a lot of confidence, my teammates inspire me to give me a lot of confidence,” said Quickley, who was 4 for 6 from the field and 6 for 6 from the free throw line. “When you have great guys around you, it’s really easy to feel comfortable in difficult situations. When a coach attacks you in the fourth quarter it means that he trusts you, especially as a point guard when you have to lead the boys. If all goes well, I will continue to do so”.