Immanuel Quickley now looks like the player who earned second-team all-rookie honors.
Quickley has had a very slow start to his second season and he had a very slow start to Tuesday’s game against the Lakers.
But in point guard Derrick Rose’s absence due to a sprained ankle, he became the go-to sniper in the fourth quarter, draining four 3-pointers to hold off the Lakers’ ferocious comeback attempt in a 106-100 victory.
“He’s fearless,’’ Julius Randle said.
Afterward, Tom Thibodeau said the Knicks’ 2020 first-round pick doesn’t get rattled after a series of misses. All four of his makes Tuesday were punctuated by his trademark skip-down-the-court, even after a couple of those buckets got a fortunate bounce off the rim.
“My teammates find me in great spots, my coaches put me in position to be successful and just try to keep my confidence,’’ Quickley said. “Whether the shot is falling or not, you just want to continue to keep shooting, make the right play, continue to defend. They scored like 19 points in the fourth quarter, so that’s what we’re going to do — let our defense lead into our offense and that’s what we did.’’
Quickley’s 3-point percentage is now up to 37.5 percent for the season.
Lakers icon LeBron James will have to wait until Feb. 5 to face the Knicks and next season to play the Garden. That is, unless the Lakers and Knicks advance to the NBA Finals.
James served his one-game suspension Tuesday for his scrap in Detroit with Isaiah Stewart and as a result missed his third straight Knicks-Lakers game.
Last season, James didn’t play in either Knicks game because of injuries. This season, James, 36, had just returned Friday from an elbow injury that cost him two weeks well in time for his lone appearance at his favorite road arena.
James and Stewart engaged in a bloody battle with James initiating it after Stewart fouled him.
“Yeah, it’s unfortunate,’’ Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “LeBron is one of the classiest guys in the league, plays the game the right way at all times. It’s a decision that’s 100 percent out of our control. It doesn’t really matter what we think.’’
Vogel said he spoke to James at the Manhattan hotel and the Lakers superstar didn’t sound pleased about missing his lone action on Broadway.
“Yeah, he wanted to play,’’ Vogel said. “I don’t want to get into it more than that.’’
Derrick Rose missed his first game of the season with a sprained ankle suffered late in Sunday’s loss to the Bulls. Rose has had a balky ankle on and off this season but never missed an outing.
Rose didn’t talk to the media after Sunday’s game because he was getting treatment. In Rose’s absence, Thibodeau trotted out rookie SG Quentin Grimes for a 4:47 stint. He didn’t take a shot but was a plus-6.
Starting center Mitchell Robinson (concussion protocol) missed his second straight game but should be back Friday against Phoenix if there are no setbacks. … Taj Gibson missed his third straight game with a groin strain.