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Three things to Know: Quickley drops 38, Knicks make statement beating Celtics

Three Things To Know is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.

1) Quickley drops 38, Knicks make statement beating Celtics

The Celtics were in control, up 14 midway through the third quarter and seemingly trending toward a blowout win. The Knicks came in winners of eight straight but without Jalen Brunson (foot soreness), the worth-every-penny point guard who settles their offense and is the glue that holds the Knicks together on the court.

Then Immanuel Quickley happened.

Quickley hit key 3-pointers to spark a comeback, played every minute of the second half and then the two overtimes, and scored a career-high 38 points leading the Knicks to a statement 131-129 win on the parquet floor of the Boston Garden.

Who believes in the Knicks now?

“It was a huge performance by him,” said Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, via the Associated Press. “I was going to give him rest at the start of the fourth, but then he knocked down a couple of shots and I thought the game was in the balance right there.”

Quickley had help, RJ Barrett had a strong game with 29 points and 11 boards, and while it wasn’t peak Julius Randle he still put up 31 points.

With an Al Horford 3-pointer hitting the front rim at the end of the second OT, the Celtics have now dropped 3-of-4 and ceded 1.5 games to the Bucks for the best record in the NBA. They blew a 28-point lead to the Nets Friday night, then this one to the Knicks on Sunday, a disturbing mini-trend.

Where the Celtics may come to regret these losses is the second round of the playoffs in the East — whoever finishes second between the Celtics and Bucks likely has to face a very dangerous 76ers team with Joel Embiid and James Harden in the second round.

Meanwhile, the Knicks have won nine in a row and are within a game of the Cavaliers for the No. 4 seed and hosting a game in the first round. Knicks fans believe in this team, more importantly, this team believes in itself. A first-round playoff series win is not out of the question for this group.

Madison Square Garden will be rocking in April, and for as long as this team keeps winning.

2) Stephen Curry returns, scores 19 in fourth, Warriors still fall to Lakers

In the big picture, what matters to the Warriors is that Stephen Curry was back on the court, and by the fourth quarter he had shaken off the rust and was looking like himself, scoring 19 in the final frame.

“It’s great to have him back,” Steve Kerr said, noting this team’s offense is built around Curry’s gravity. “He is who he is. He strikes fear in our opponents and opens up a lot of things for his teammates.”

What’s concerning for the Warriors is that was not enough.

Taking on a LeBron James-less but desperate Lakers team, the Warriors were sloppy early, got in some foul trouble, were down 15 in the first, and never fully dug out of that hole. The Warriors also had no answer for Anthony Davis, who was the best player on the court, scoring 39 and leading the Lakers to a 113-105 win.

It’s a win the Lakers needed. They are tied for the No.10 seed in the West — the final play-in spot — and in practice are in a race the rest of the way with the Jazz and Pelicans for the nine and 10 seeds (the Clippers are the eighth seed and two games up on the Lakers, if the other L.A. team keeps stumbling that could be in play, too). The Lakers looked good for five games after the All-Star break when healthy and with their revamped lineup, they believe they are a threat if they can get that group to the playoffs.

The Warriors are the fifth seed, but it’s unrealistic that they will catch the Suns at four or the Kings at three (the Suns are hot with Kevin Durant and the Kings have a four-game cushion with 17 games to play). The Warriors know they need to worry less about the seeding and more about playing consistent defense (they struggled with that against the Lakers) and get some road wins — they are now 7-24 on the season away from the Chase Center.

“It’s weird to say it, like we’re trying to win championships but we’re also trying to stay out to play-in, too,” Curry said. “So both can be true just based on what our challenge has been this year.”

3) Could the NBA lose Adam Silver to become Disney CEO?

This story flew under the radar this weekend — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is on the shortlist to replace Disney CEO Bob Iger in a couple of years.

Silver is on a list said to include Kevin Mayer (the former Disney executive who helped launch Disney+ and now runs Candle Media), as well as internal Disney candidates such as Dana Walden (the just named Co-Chairman of Disney Entertainment) and Christine McCarthy (Disney CFO).

Why would Silver do it? Bob Iger makes $27 million a year (much of that in stock options that could be worth far more eventually). Silver is well compensated by the NBA, but not THAT well compensated. Plus, it’s an interesting and different challenge that could intrigue him.

The question is, does Disney want to step out of the box or stick with someone from their ecosystem? Iger was the long-time chairman of Disney who stepped away in 2020, the company turned everything over to Bob Chapek, which went poorly fast and in two years they begged Iger to come back and right the ship. However, Iger only plans to stay on for a couple of years and then turn the massive media company over to another CEO.

That could be Adam Silver. It should be noted that the NBA is in negotiations with Disney properties ABC/ESPN to continue as a primary national broadcast rights holder, negotiations that are currently underway but in the relatively early stages.