Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley dribbles the ball up court against...

Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley dribbles the ball up court against the Grizzlies in the second half of an NBA game at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 2. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Knicks had blown their way through plenty of opportunities Monday night: a fourth-quarter lead, a last-chance shot to win the game in regulation against the shorthanded and struggling Oklahoma City Thunder. And they still had a chance for one more chance in the final seconds of overtime.

Coach Tom Thibodeau was already struggling through the night, lining up without RJ Barrett for the third straight game after Barrett suffered a sprained left ankle when Thibodeau had him on the floor in the final seconds of a one-sided loss in Denver. And he had mistakenly wasted his final timeout, losing track that he’d used up his challenge less than a minute earlier.

Thibodeau is stubborn to a fault on playing his best players as long as he can keep them out on the floor. And if the slip with the timeout was out of character, what followed was exactly in character.

Setting up a final chance at a game-tying three-pointer, Thibodeau inserted Immanuel Quickley into the game. And the Knicks set up an inbounds play and one of the options was to find Quickley for the potential game-tying shot. He misfired, just as the previous six shots Quickley attempted had.

Among the many things that have gone wrong for the Knicks this season, the struggles of Quickley have been disappointing and hard to fathom. After a rookie season that began with Thibodeau touting him as a shooter as good as there is in the league and ended with him shooting 38.9% from three-point range, Quickley has struggled to regain his form. And perhaps his confidence, one of his greatest traits, has gone, too.

"With shooters, confidence and concentration are probably the two most important things," Thibodeau said after the game. "He’s a diligent worker. He’s in morning, noon and night shooting. Just got to stay with it, keep continuing to groove your shot, it’ll come back around. It’s part of it."

Over the last six games, Quickley is shooting 20% overall and 10% from three-point range, but it’s hardly been just a recent occurrence. Over the last month in a 17-game span, Quickley has managed 26.8% shooting and 23.9% from three.

"The big thing is to get him to see what he’s done well in the past and then put the work into it," Thibodeau said. "Usually when you do that, if you can find a way to get some easy baskets — like right now, he’s working pretty hard to get a shot. So some easy baskets will help him too. Try to find some ways where maybe he can get a couple to go in and then he’ll take off."

The Knicks canceled practice Tuesday, instead just letting players come into the gym on their own to prepare for Wednesday night's meeting with the Nets. Until then Thibodeau will turn to what he usually leans on in times of trouble.

"To be honest, I think our defense was the issue," Thibodeau said. "We scored 123 points. So we couldn’t get any stops. The ball was in the paint the whole night. That’s a problem. Offensively, you’re scoring that many points you should come out with a win. We got to fix our defense."