Toppin came off the bench and threw down a thunderous alley-oop pass from teammate Alec Burks. The Garden started to chant “Obi,” “Obi,” “Obi.”
The cameras turned to Toppin’s mother, Roni Toppin, and she was seen in her son’s University of Dayton jersey and wiping away tears.
The Knicks selected Toppin with the No. 8 pick in the draft out of Dayton – only months after he was named the National College Player of the Year. Toppin’s 2019-20 college basketball season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Flyers were 29-2 overall but their run in the tournament would never play out.
Toppin ended up turning pro and became an important pick for the Knicks.
He played in 62 games for New York during his first season, never starting a game. He averaged 4.1 points and 2.2 rebounds and was an important person to come off the bench.
In Wednesday night’s 101-92 victory, Toppin scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds in nearly 12 minutes. He had five points and one rebound in the team’s loss last weekend.
The series now shifts back to Atlanta. Game 3 will take place Friday night at 7 p.m. ET.