Obi Toppin didn’t know formally till shortly earlier than tipoff Sunday that he could be making the primary postseason begin of his NBA profession.

However the former lottery decide made positive through his preparation in latest days that he wouldn’t be caught off guard.

Julius Randle took half in pregame warm-ups, however was unable to go in Sport 1 of the second spherical due to the left ankle he aggravated within the Knicks’ series-clinching victory within the earlier spherical Wednesday in Cleveland.

Toppin stepped in and scored 18 factors in 31 minutes — each career-highs over 11 postseason appearances — within the Knicks’ series-opening 108-101 loss to the Warmth on the Backyard.

“I imply, it was at all times a thought. We didn’t know precisely how Ju was feeling. So, like, in my head, I assumed I used to be beginning the entire time,” Toppin mentioned after the sport. “However yeah, like I at all times say, the method that I take going into each sport, is similar.

“I felt good. I at all times really feel good once I’m on the market on the ground, for positive.”

The third-year ahead additionally was the lone participant on the Knicks to knock down a couple of 3-pointer within the sport, ending 4-for-11.

Obi Toppin makes a transfer to the basket as Miami’s Bam Adebayo defends on Sunday on the Backyard.

The remainder of the staff mixed to overlook 20 of 23 makes an attempt from lengthy distance.

“Yeah, the 3-ball didn’t fall for us right this moment, however we’ve received one other sport arising Tuesday and I really feel prefer it’s gonna fall for us then,” the 25-year-old Toppin mentioned. “We simply gotta return and take a look at the movie and be prepared for the following sport.”

Regardless of his robust outdoors taking pictures, Toppin solely performed the primary 2:22 of the fourth quarter earlier than Tom Thibodeau went with a smaller lineup down the stretch.

Comply with The Publish’s protection of the Knicks vs. Warmth NBA playoff collection

The Knicks coach mentioned he was “simply matching up the way in which [the Heat] had been” aligned.

And Toppin replied “in no way” when requested if he was “shocked” to sit down for practically the ultimate 10 minutes.

“I assumed he performed very nicely. Very nicely,” Thibodeau mentioned of Toppin, who additionally contributed eight rebounds.

Toppin, the eighth general decide within the 2020 draft, will transfer again to the second unit as soon as Randle returns, maybe as early as Sport 2 on Tuesday.

No matter his position, the Brooklyn native mentioned he’ll take a constructive method into the rest of the collection.

“It’s like I mentioned, it’s Sport 1, best-of-7,” Toppin mentioned. “So we misplaced this one, however we simply gotta get again to the movie, see the errors that we made and repair them.”