The last time New York Knicks beat the Golden State Warriors at Madison Square Garden was the 54-point game that signaled the rise of Stephen Curry in 2013.
Curry came full circle last season when he broke Ray Allen’s record for most 3s made in the history of the NBA in the world’s most famous arena.
This year, it was the Knicks’ turn to reverse their fortunes.
Curry watched helplessly from the bench as Jalen Brunson led the Knicks’ vengeful win, 132-94, to extend the league’s longest active winning streak to eight.
Brunson was unopposed as the best player on the Garden floor Tuesday night, dropping 21 points and five assists without a single turnover in only under 30 minutes.
The Knicks never trailed in their most lopsided win of the season.
Brunson was one of the six Knicks players who scored in double figures, flaunting their depth, which the struggling defending champions don’t have this season.
Immanuel Quickley came off the bench to score 22 points in 22 minutes. Julius Randle had a double-double (15 points and 12 rebounds) and five assists, while Quentin Grimes shook off an injury scare in the first half to finish with 19 points on 4 of 8 3s and five assists.
RJ Barett added 18 and five dimes, while Mitchell Robinson came one point short of a double-double (9 points, 11 rebounds and 3 steals).
Their balanced offense came with equally impressive defense, although Tom Thibodeau was far from happy before the start of the fourth quarter, despite the Knicks leading by 19.
Heeding their coach’s call to defend better, the Knicks detonated an 11-0 bomb to start the final quarter. Their lead swelled to 30, prompting Warriors coach Steve Kerr to wave the white flag.
Without Curry and Andrew Wiggins, the Warriors had a hard time manufacturing points in the face of the Knicks’ suffocating defense.
Grimes and the Knicks limited Jordan Poole to 8 of 18 shooting from the floor and bled for 26 points. They also kept Klay Thompson and Draymond Green at bay, with the Warriors’ veteran duo combining for only 18 points.
The bigger and more physical Knicks smothered the smaller Warriors, taking a sizable plus-18 advantage in rebounds, plus-12 in points in the paint, and plus-10 in second-chance points. Golden State could only grab four offensive rebounds.
Brunson showed the way early for the Knicks, firing 16 points in the first half.
He warned about complacency after they continued to cement their place in the top six teams of the Eastern Conference with their 18th win against 13 losses.
“We can’t be complacent at all. We just got to keep grinding and staying focused. This is only Game 31. We have to keep our eyes on the prize.”Jalen Brunson postgame via TNT
Brunson’s growth as an All-Star-level point guard has stabilized the Knicks this season. That $104 million deal looks more like a bargain in each passing game.
On Wednesday night, the backend of a back-to-back home stand, the Knicks will go for a ninth straight win against the reeling Toronto Raptors, mired in a six-game losing streak. They will try to match their longest winning streak under Thibodeau, which came toward the end of the 2020-21 regular season, on their way to clinching their first playoff berth in eight years.
It’s still too early to tell, but as the Knicks keep growing and building chemistry, they are starting to look like a playoff contender again.
And it all starts with Brunson’s brilliant point guard play, which the Knicks missed by a hairline in the 2009 NBA Draft when Curry went one pick ahead of them.
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