Knicks’ Thibodeau presents an interesting player combo in win over Wizards – .

Knicks’ Thibodeau presents an interesting player combo in win over Wizards – .

The New York Knicks played their final preseason game as if it was a playoff game against the Washington Wizards on Friday night. Winning every game before the regular season begins on Oct. 20, the Knicks are flying high in a year of high expectations after adding Evan Fournier and walker Kemba in free agency.

The Knicks’ final victory over Washington proved a number of things, including their resilience and persistence in coming back from a deficit that reached up to 19 points. Coming back in the fourth quarter, All-Star power forward Julius Randle hooked up on a back jumper to win the game, and while that didn’t have any significance on the schedule, it provided the team a lot of motivation and confidence to move forward.

However, one of the game’s most interesting lessons was a combination of players curated by head coach Tom Thibodeau. As Alec Burks rested in the last preseason game, rookie Quentin Grimes recovered his minutes instead, and he provided fantastic and aggressive defense all through the fourth quarter.

The lineup Thibodeau chose did not feature a cross with Taj Gibson fouling – it featured Julius Randle and Obi Toppin as law enforcement officials.

  • PF : Julius Randle
  • PF : Obi Toppin
  • PG : Derrick Rose
  • SG : RJ Barrett
  • SG : Quentin Grimes

Derrick Rose looked like his vintage self, which seems to be more common. He scored 28 points on 11 of 20 shots from the field in 29 minutes. He also contributed six assists that have benefited the team immensely on their return.

This combination indicates that Grimes would likely be the extra for Burks or Barrett if either is unable to play for some reason. While the Houston product only connected on 2 of 9 shots, he got a +16 +/- and contributed six rebounds and two steals in 21 minutes.

Getting Grimes a solid playing time sample was essential for Thibodeau, who needed to see him in a bigger role with the starters before the regular season began. His fantastic defense will likely help him develop this year and bring comfort to Thibodeau when he’s on the ground. If Quentin can start hitting his shots more consistently, he could be a dangerous weapon on the bench for a team that is already considerably deep in most positions.


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