The New York Knicks notched their season-high nine-game winning streak with air-tight continuity from starters to their bench.
That beautiful flow was disturbed when starting point guard Jalen Brunson went out with a foot injury that led to a three-game tailspin.
They somehow regained that fluidity in a much-needed victory against the Los Angeles Lakers with big-time performances from their bench mob.
“The bench was phenomenal that you couldn’t ask for anymore,” New York coach Tom Thibodeau said after they snapped their losing streak with a 112-108 win over the Lakers on Sunday. “I thought Deuce gave us great minutes, Obi gave us great minutes, Isaiah gave us great minutes, Josh is Josh. You can’t ask for more than that.”
The Lakers bench outscored the Knicks, 43-25, but it didn’t paint the whole story.
The quartet of Josh Hart, Miles McBride, Obi Toppin, and Isaiah Hartenstein gave the Knicks a huge lift off the bench with timely hits and energy plays.
McBride hit a pair of go-ahead three-pointers toward the end of the third and the start of the fourth quarter. Hart had several leak-out passes, but none bigger than his last assist, setting up RJ Barrett’s transition basket for a 10-point Knicks lead with 2:34 left.
Hart continued to be the team’s glue guy as he was all over the floor, collecting eight points, eight rebounds, and four assists. McBride played his best game of the season with eight points along with three steals in 16 minutes. Toppin slam dunked his way to nine points. Hartenstein didn’t score but he plucked 11 rebounds and made Anthony Davis’ life in the paint and living hell.
“When we get in, our job is just to look at the score, understand what we have to do as a unit, and move the needle up and I think we came in and did that,” McBride said.
The Knicks’ depth has been one of the best attributes of their surprising run this season. With Brunson likely to miss Tuesday night’s game at Portland, Thibodeau would need another stellar job from their bench mob to have a .500 record on this West Coast trip.
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