NBA

'Rome wasn't built in a day' – Quickley urges Toronto patience after losing MSG return

By Sports Desk January 21, 2024

Immanuel Quickley said patience is required as he and RJ Barrett adapt to the Toronto Raptors, after the former New York Knicks were beaten on their return to Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

Quickley and Barrett were traded to Toronto last month as the Knicks moved for forward O.G. Anunoby, with New York also receiving Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn in the deal. 

The duo, who helped the Knicks reach the Eastern Conference semifinals last season, returned to their former home court for the first time on Saturday, receiving standing ovations from the Knicks fans and featuring in a tribute video shown during the first media timeout.

Barrett finished with 20 points and Quickley added 12, but that was not enough to prevent the Raptors from slipping to 16-27 with a sixth loss in their last seven games.

Despite the result, both players were appreciate of the welcome they received from their former team, with Quickley saying: "It was great, just to come back. 

"Obviously we didn't get the outcome we wanted, [but] just to see everybody where I started my professional career was pretty cool."

Barrett added: "It was amazing. Thank you to the fans, for sure. We got a tribute video, I didn't think we were going to get that. That was cool.

"I'm very appreciative of my time here. To come back brought up a lot of emotions, for sure. But it was fun to come back and play basketball again."

Toronto have only won four of their 12 games since the trade went through on December 30, but Quickley accepts it will take time for the duo to build relationships with their new team-mates. 

"It definitely takes time," he said. "It's like meeting a new girl. You've got to take time to get to know her. You've got to take her out to eat, stuff like that.

"You aren't going to just walk up to her and say, 'let's get married.' That's not going to work. No, it'll come together.

"Rome wasn't built in a day. We have to keep working, individually and as a team we have to continue to try to take steps, and if we keep chopping wood and carrying water we'll get there."

The Raptors face the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers in back-to-back home games next week, while the 26-17 Knicks make the short trip to Brooklyn to face the Nets in their next game on Tuesday. 

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