LAS VEGAS — Quentin Grimes’ goal was to “dominate” summer league play.
It took him some time Friday night, but the Knicks’ young guard followed through in his team’s opening game.
After missing eight consecutive shots, Grimes took off in the second half, leading the Knicks to a 101-88 victory over the defending Las Vegas Summer League champion Warriors at the Thomas and Mack Center.
With team president Leon Rose, owner James Dolan coach Tom Thibodeau and teammates Julius Randle, Immanuel Quickley, Cam Reddish and Obi Toppin in attendance, Grimes finished with 24 points, eight assists, four rebounds, two steals and just one turnover in 32 quality minutes .
“I feel like I kind of dominated or almost got close in the second half,” Grimes said. “Just try to dominate offensively, defensively by being in the right positions. It’s not always about making shots.”
While his perimeter jumper was off for most of the night — the former first-round pick out of Houston went 4-for-14 from 3-point range — the 6-foot-4 Grimes kept on shooting.
Even after hitting two in a row from distance early in the third quarter to get going, Grimes didn’t settle for long jumpers. He attacked the basket and finished through contract, something he has worked on this offseason to complement his 3-point shot. He hit seven of his last 12 shots, and also was a strong distributor on this night.
“Hopefully I’ll have a bigger role as a playmaker [this year] and also stick to my roots as a defensive player and as a shooter,” he said.
This is a crucial offseason for Grimes, the best Knicks rookie last year, whose progress was set back by a knee injury late in the year. Thibodeau has raved about his defense, which may give Grimes a shot at a starting role in the backcourt next year, alongside newcomer Jalen Brunson.
He is hoping to make a statement over the next 10 days in Las Vegas. With that in mind, Friday night was a strong start for him.
Feron Hunt added 17 points, Jericho Sims had 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks and Miles McBride chipped in 14 points and seven assists in the win.
Moses Moody, a lottery pick a year ago, led all scorers with 34 points for the Warriors.