NBA

'Thank God he missed' – Quickley relieved as Miami's Butler fails to hold off Knicks fightback

By Sports Desk November 25, 2023

Guard Immanuel Quickley couldn't contain his relief after the New York Knicks fought back for a remarkable 100-98 win over the Miami Heat on Friday to keep their In-Season Tournament hopes alive.

The Knicks began the home game against their long-time rivals – who ended their 2022-23 season in the second round of the playoffs in May – knowing a loss would have eliminated them from the competition. 

They looked to be on their way out when the Heat established a 21-point lead with three minutes and 40 seconds to go in the third quarter, but the Knicks finished with a brilliant game-closing 38-15 run to snatch victory.

A three-pointer from Quickley heralded the start of New York's fightback, with the 24-year-old finishing with 20 points and four rebounds as the Knicks earned a measure of revenge over Miami.

Asked what was going through his head when New York found themselves staring at defeat, Quickley said: "It's a decision whether to mentally check out or not. 

"It's a decision to keep fighting. It's a decision to tell yourself, 'you got to keep fighting,' no matter what. I did look at the score and say, 'dang,' when I saw how much we were down, I literally said that. 

"But then I got right back to it, seeing where I was at mentally and said, 'let's go. Let's try to get a comeback going'."

The Knicks' good work was almost for nothing as Heat star Jimmy Butler had one last chance to win it, but his three-pointer rimmed out as the fourth quarter drew to a close.

"I've seen that shot go in, not just from him," Quickley said of Butler's last-gasp effort. "When you play basketball for so long, you see so many game-winners. They all look the same.

"I just said, 'please, please don't go in'' We worked so hard to get back… Thank God he missed it."

Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra saw the end of the third quarter, when Quickley scored six points to cut the deficit, as the turning point, saying: "At the end of the third quarter we're up 20-plus. 

"Then we had some turnovers, a bad shot, we didn't get back on defense and then all of a sudden it turned into a Quickley three and another Quickley three, and then all sudden it gets to 13. 

"That was the biggest shift right there. We had an opportunity to take that thing to 25. There's a karma to it. We were so careless finishing that quarter."

Related items

  • Hawks point guard Young to undergo surgery on left hand Hawks point guard Young to undergo surgery on left hand

    Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday to repair a tear of the radial collateral ligament in the fifth finger of his left hand. He will re-evaluated in four weeks.

    The team said Young sustained the injury in Friday's loss to the Toronto Raptors and an MRI on Saturday revealed a tear.

    It’s a devastating loss for the playoff-hopeful Hawks, who at 24-32 lead the Brooklyn Nets by three games for 10th place in the Eastern Conference and a berth in the NBA Play-In Tournament.

    Young leads Atlanta with 26.4 points per game (11th in the NBA) and ranks second in the league with 10.8 assists per contest.

    He was named an All-Star for the third time in his career this season and led the East with seven assists in a 211-186 win over the Western Conference last Sunday.

  • Timberwolves were 'desperate' for a win, claims Finch Timberwolves were 'desperate' for a win, claims Finch

    The Minnesota Timberwolves "needed a win desperately", according to head coach Chris Finch, whose team beat the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.

    Minnesota came out on top 101-86 to claim a fifth win in the space of six games, bouncing back from a defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks last time out.

    The Timberwolves are now clear at the top of the Western Conference with a 40-17 record, one win better than the 39-17 Oklahoma City Thunder.

    But coach Finch said his team "desperately" needed a victory.

    "We needed a win desperately," Finch said. "Still not playing really sharp basketball, particularly on the offensive end. But defensively, we were really strong."

    Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves with 29 points, while Karl-Anthony Towns added 28 to Milwaukee's total.

    "It was ugly, sloppy. I think by both teams, actually," said Timberwolves center Naz Reid.

    "But we [were] able to buckle down in the last quarter and handle business."

    The Nets dismissed coach Jacques Vaughn over the All-Star break, though are now 0-2 under interim Kevin Ollie.

    "I thought we did a great job coming together as a team and facing adversity," Ollie said. "But we've got to make shots."

  • 'We're not where we need to be yet' – Celtics out to improve despite season-best run 'We're not where we need to be yet' – Celtics out to improve despite season-best run

    Al Horford says the Boston Celtics are "not where we need to be yet" despite beating the New York Knicks to claim an eighth-straight win.

    The Celtics won 116-102 on Saturday to mark a season-best winning streak, while they are also eight games clear at the top of the Eastern Conference.

    Jaylen Brown finished with 30 points, Kristaps Porzingis had 22 and Jayson Tatum had 19, while Horford chipped in with 10 points from the bench, as Boston sealed their fourth win of the season over the Knicks.

    But in spite of their fine form, Horford says the Celtics must demand more from themselves.

    "It's just the way kind of the season has gone," he said.

    "We've kind of held our own, continued to work through things. Obviously, the [Philadelphia 76ers] have injuries, different teams have different stuff going on, so that all goes into account.

    "But I can just speak to we're continuing to play good basketball. We're really trying to play the right way. I feel like [Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla] is really challenging us to continue to get better. This is the stretch of the season where we can really take it to another level, and that's what we're trying to do.

    "I feel like we're not where we need to be yet, and that's a good thing."

    Mazzulla added: "The guys understand how to positively impact each other.

    "They understand how going into something at one point in the game is going to open it up for someone else later in the game. And we have different combinations, and the guys trust those combinations, and it puts us in a better position to win.

    "At the end of the day, it's about winning, and the guys are understanding that. They understand how they affect each other."

    Brown, however, pointed to the postseason as when the level of performance will truly count for the Celtics.

    He said: "When it comes down to the playoffs, none of that stuff really matters.

    "I feel like it's going to be about matchups, it's going to be about playing hard. Obviously, home court matters, so that is key, but when you get into the thick of it, you;'ve got to win basketball games. Regardless of what your seed is.

    "If anything, it puts more pressure on you. But I think we're an experienced team. We've been in these situations before and I think we're ready."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.