PORTLAND, Ore. — The Knicks have received strong production from their bench all season, especially from Sixth Man of the Year candidate Immanuel Quickley and the acquisition last month of Josh Hart.
Miles “Deuce” McBride also made another major impact again Tuesday night, scoring a career-best 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting, including four made 3-pointers, in 25 minutes in the Knicks’ 123-107 win over the Trail Blazers to conclude a four-game West Coast road trip.
“Honestly, I knew I needed to step up,” McBride said after Tuesday’s game. “End of a road trip, I felt like we came out flat and I just wanted to be a spark, give energy and do what I can.”
McBride had been was dropped from the rotation upon Hart’s arrival on Feb. 8 from the Blazers, but he has appeared in the past six games with Jalen Brunson missing all but two quarters over that stretch with a bruised left foot that has required the use of a protective walking boot.
McBride also made contributions at both ends in Sunday’s win over the Lakers to help halt a three-game slide, with a breakaway dunk and two key 3-pointers for eight points with three steals in 17 minutes.
“It’s huge. … But honestly, if I didn’t score a point and we win, I’d still be happy. Just being able to impact the game however I can always is the number one thing,” McBride said. “I think the second unit knows that when we get in, our job is just look at the score, understand what we have to do as a unit and move the needle. And I think we came in and did that.”
On Sunday, Tom Thibodeau had called the team’s recent bench play “phenomenal.”
McBride also regularly has drawn praise from his head coach for staying ready despite the uncertainty over his place in the rotation.
“It’s huge, and it’s not just hitting the shots but the defense, the hustle plays,” Thibodeau said. “When you make hustle plays like that, that does nothing but unite and inspire the team. You see a guy hustle and all of a sudden, he’s got a steal; we’ve got an easy bucket. That’s how you win.”
Brunson sat for the third straight game and for the fifth time in six for the Knicks.
Jerami Grant (quad contusion) didn’t play for the Blazers.
Isaiah Hartenstein had zero points and double-digit rebounds (10) for the second straight game.
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