Knicks ride full team effort to playoff berth

Obi Toppin, New York Knicks

The New York Knicks defeated the shorthanded Washington Wizards on Sunday 118-109 to clinch their second playoff berth in three seasons and have officially defied the majority of expectations centered around this Knicks team before the season.

RJ Barrett sat out this game with an illness. Therefore, they were missing both him and All-Star Julius Randle for the clincher.

The Knicks powered by a team effort clinch a playoff berth:

Despite this, several Knicks players stepped up to the plate and delivered big time to secure the victory. A total of four Knicks players scored 20+ points Sunday, the first time that has happened in a single game for the franchise since December 1, 2018.

Jalen Brunson and Quentin Grimes both led the way, each scoring a team-high 27 points and combining to knock down 20 made field goals. Brunson played this game following his career-high 48-point night against the Cavaliers on Friday, while Grimes continued his recent hot stretch and shot 6-11 from downtown.

Obi Toppin scored a season-high 21 points in his second consecutive start in place of the injured Randle, who was present on the Knicks’ bench with a walking boot on his left foot.

Immanuel Quickley continued his Sixth Man of The Year campaign in a spot start for Barrett with a 22/6/5/3 steals performance, proving once again that he can be relied on when adversity strikes.

Seven Knicks players recorded multiple assists Sunday, with all five starters recording at least four assists. Five Knicks players also recorded at least two steals, and four different Knicks recorded a block.

If there was any game that would test the depth of this Knicks team, Sunday’s game would take the cake. Everybody contributed in some capacity which resulted in a quality win that almost certainly sets up a first-round playoff matchup with Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“It’s great. We have a lot of hard-working guys on this team,” Brunson said after the game Sunday. “Whenever their number is called, they’re always ready, they’re always prepared.”

With this win, the Knicks’ magic number to clinch the no. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference is down to one. A Knicks win or a Nets loss will clinch the spot for them.

If it takes a win for them to clinch their seed, the Knicks will look to do so when they take on the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_

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