Knicks extend winning streak to eight games after 118-103 win over the Jazz

NBA: Utah Jazz at New York Knicks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With the Knicks still not having OG Anunoby (elbow inflammation) or Julius Randle (dislocated shoulder), they would have to play a back-to-back and take on the Utah Jazz. In a game that mirrored their huge win over the Hornets last night, it would be a close contest between the two squads, with Utah holding early leads in the game and keeping the game within one possession at times in the third quarter. Led by a three-point barrage from Donte DiVincenzo, the Knicks were able to run the Jazz out of the gym, claiming their eight-straight win in a row.

It’s been smooth sailing for the Knicks since the new year, as their excellent backcourt duo combined for 60 points en route to a dominant 118-103 win over the Jazz.

Knicks Remain Dominant Despite Wave of Injuries

NBA: Utah Jazz at New York Knicks
Jan 30, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) looks to pass the ball against Utah Jazz guards Collin Sexton (2) and Kris Dunn (11) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

On the surface, a win over the Utah Jazz doesn’t seem overly impressive, but considering how winded the players likely are coming off of a back-to-back, their excellent play in tonight’s contest is remarkable. Not only are the Knicks playing on consecutive days, but they’re also doing so short-handed, as the team is nursing multiple injuries to key players. Donte DiVincenzo would get the Knicks offense rolling, as he’d launch a barrage of threes to bury the Jazz.

The 26-year-old guard from Villanova drilled nine threes on just 15 attempts, scoring 33 points and collecting four steals as well, having a team-best +23 on the court. He’s been electric for the Knicks in his debut season with the team, adding a much-needed high-volume shooter to space the floor and get the offense going. In the absence of Julius Randle and OG Anunoby, he’s really stepped up to serve as the team’s secondary scoring option, and he held the spotlight tonight.

Jalen Brunson struggled with efficiency, hitting just 43.4% of shots from the field, but he still added 29 points and nine assists, helping the Knicks facilitate and create offense. He’s continued to be a wrecking ball on offense for New York, and his scoring tear has been a big reason behind their eight-game winning streak. Brunson is undoubtedly a star, and he’s put the Knicks in a conversation with some of the best teams in the NBA.

NBA: Utah Jazz at New York Knicks
Jan 30, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) and Utah Jazz guard Ochai Agbaji (30) fight for a loose ball during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Hart would record a triple-double, with an even 10-10-10 line alongside two steals and two blocks, helping in all aspects and continuing to be an excellent role player for the Knicks. They also got excellent contributions from their frontcourt, as Precious Achiuwa was third on the team in points tonight (18), Jericho Sims finished fourth in plus-minus (+14), and Isaiah Hartenstein led in rebounds (12), helping to keep the paint firmly in the Knicks advantage.

Quentin Grimes would have an injury scare but still added 12 points and six rebounds, and it was an excellent team win for the Knicks, who played great on both sides of the ball. They held the Utah Jazz to just 103 points, as their worst defensive quarter came in the fourth where they allowed 30 points, but at that point, the game was out of reach. Usually a quarter of horrors for the Knicks, the Knicks had a -10 Point Differential in the third quarter before the trade.

Since then, they’ve had a whopping +89 Point Differential in the third quarter, and they outscored the Jazz by 12 points on the night and never looked back in that quarter of the game. The Knicks now improve to 31-17 on the season, and as they’re now a half-game up on the 76ers for the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

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