A career-high 42 points for Obi Toppin capped off the Knicks’ 2021–22 season as the Knicks defeated the Raptors at home.
The New York Knicks (37-45) finished their 2021–22 season with a shorthanded win over the Toronto Raptors (48-34), 105-94. It was an emphatic statement for now-rising juniors Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley, both of whom celebrated new career feats, as New York enters its offseason with a sliver of optimism for its youth.
Toppin and Quickley combined to score 76 points in Game 82, a send-off to fans in attendance at The World’s Most Famous Arena against the Eastern Conference’s fifth seed. The two sophomores were the only Knicks with the knack as the ‘Bockers could only dress eight players against the Raptors, who had Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam sidelined and emptied their bench.
The Knicks started the first quarter with Toppin taking over, scoring 12 points in nine minutes before subbing out. Quickley, inserted into the starting lineup with RJ Barrett nursing a sprained knee, dictated the pace as the default floor general, a role Knicks fans clamored for throughout the season.
After winning the opening frame by seven, New York’s depleted bench—only Taj Gibson, Ryan Arcidiacono, and G Leaguer Feron Hunt were active off the pine—gave up a run to Toronto, who saw strong performances from backup big Chris Boucher and sharpshooter Gary Trent Jr. An unconventional two missed free throws by Quickley cascaded to a better shooting quarter for the Raptors, who tied the game at 35 and, at one point, were up 17-4 in the second quarter. Toppin’s reemergence helped stabilize the Knicks’ offense, and the ‘Bockers went into the locker room up three at halftime.
Obi is just ridiculous in transition pic.twitter.com/vX45PU7rrY
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) April 10, 2022
The third quarter was an even affair, a repeat of Toppin and Quickley keeping the Knicks ahead with the rest of the team slowing down the offense. Quickley, at one point, scored the first seven points for the Knicks in the frame by himself. Giving the Garden faithful one last thrill, the Knicks headed into the final 12 minutes of the season with a narrow, one-point advantage.
Denying a Raptors comeback, the Knicks, mostly Quickley and Toppin, showed off and sent the crowd happy with a 10-point margin in the fourth quarter to shut the door on Toronto. This featured plenty of Toppin leak-outs after rookie big man Jericho Sims secured his career-high 14 rebounds and New York’s guards finding Toppin streaking on the other end of the court for baskets. A Malachi Flynn three-pointer tied the ballgame at 75-all, but the Knicks found comfort shortly afterward with a timely Arcidiacono three-pointer and a strong effort on the glass by Quickley to push the pace and punish the Raptors.
Obi in the season finale:
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) April 11, 2022
A few more dunks and another three-pointer by Toppin had the crowd ablaze, cheering for the sophomore to reach 40 points, as Obi followed suit, finding himself shooting free throws for a new career-high 42 points, the fifth Knick this season to eclipse the 40-point mark. The Knicks signed some merch on Fan Appreciation Night (a.k.a. last game because we were eliminated night), tossing it to the crowd before departing for a summer filled with question marks.
Quickley and Toppin…and not much else
Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley combined to score 72.4% of the Knicks’ points on Sunday evening, at one point possessing 31 points apiece before Toppin went out in a blaze of glory in Game 82.
It was a night of career bests with Toppin recording a 42-point double-double and Quickley registering his second career triple-double following his first in Orlando the other week. Toppin set new career-highs in single-game scoring four of the last five games of the year (all of which were starts in place of Julius Randle).
The rest of the starting unit combined to score 22 points, with the three-player bench contributing seven points (Feron Hunt missed what would have been a fantastic alley-oop dunk and is still scoreless in his NBA career, sadly).
Jericho Sims had a terrific game on the glass, a career-high 14 rebounds, three of which were offensive, but he only attempted four shots on the night, scoring six points. The Knicks aren’t exactly running post-ups for the rookie center, but there were plenty of opportunities for Sims to go up for a layup or short floater.
There won’t be opportunities for volume scoring for the 6-foot-9 former Texas Longhorn going forward unless he skyrockets into the starting lineup in 2022–23, and even then, he’ll be well below the pecking order with a healthy Knicks. That’s one area of improvement for Sims heading into the long offseason.
Well, that’s the 2021–22 Knicks season. I’m looking forward to reflecting on it in one of our Random Knicks Seasons of the Past. If anybody is looking back at preseason predictions, I, along with staff writer Will Bjarnar, was closest to the win projection with 43, but we both went over. Now the Knicks can see if there are takers for Julius Randle or go into next season saddled with an extension kicked in. The Knicks Wall will be here in 2022–23, and so should you.