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After getting a DNP in the preseason opener Friday, Knicks rookie Immanuel Quickley was getting anxious.
After all, it had been a long time since he played. In the second quarter Sunday, Quickley made his Knicks debut. The combo guard from Kentucky, selected at No. 25 last month, logged nine minutes and was 1-for-3 from the field, missing his only 3-point shot.
With the Knicks looking like an anemic 3-point shooting team, Quickley will get more turns, Tom Thibodeau admitted after the 99-91 loss to Detroit.
“I like him,’’ Thibodeau said. “[He had] some jitters early on. He’s not afraid of competing. We didn’t see him shoot the ball. He’s a knockdown shooter. We like to see more of those. We see him do it in practice all the time. When he raises up to shoot, you think it’s going in.’’
The Pistons know of Quickley’s college reputation. The SEC Player of the Year made 42 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. They forced him off the 3-point line and into drives.
“I don’t know if it’s scouting,’’ Quickley said. “Next time, I probably have to be in a stance ready to get it off faster. I’ll try to get to that second level and get a floater or find a teammate. Just making adjustments. It’s the first game for me. I’ll continue to get better every day. It’s a long season.”
Thibodeau’s Knicks faced a 2-3 zone Sunday as the Pistons wanted the club to hoist 3’s. The Knicks are 13-of-56 from 3 after two preseason games.
“When you see a zone, you’re going to see more 3’s,’’ Thibodeau said. “It’s something we have to continue to work on. We have guys capable of making.”
Especially Quickley, the Kentucky sophomore who was elated to finally get in.
“I think I was more exited to get into the game today [because] I haven’t played organized basketball since March,’’ Quickley said. “I was really excited to get on the floor and experience my first NBA game. I couldn’t ask for anything better.’’
Quickley noted the first NBA point guard he defended was Derrick Rose, who like Quickley was once coached by John Calipari, at Memphis.
“It was a cool experience,’’ Quickley said.
Center Mitchell Robinson didn’t make a strong case to be the starter as he picked up five fouls in his first 11 minutes of play, including a flagrant on Blake Griffin. He managed not to foul out, scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds but finished without a block. Before the game, he said he won’t “pout’’ about coming off the bench with Nerlens Noel in the lead.
“I don’t have hurt feelings,’’ Robinson said. “I’m just going to go out there and just be the best me. It’s early. I’m not going to sit down and pout about it. I’m not going to make a problem or whatever.”
Austin Rivers made the trip but didn’t play again, due to a groin pull, and could be out for all four preseason games. … Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who didn’t make the trip, missed his second straight game with an illness not believed related to COVID-19. Thibodeau said it should have no impact on his battle to make the 15-man roster.