Knicks Studs and Duds: Jalen Brunson leads the way to secure back-to-back wins

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) controls the ball against Washington Wizards guard Jordan Poole (13) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

On the second leg of a back-to-back, the New York Knicks were host to the Washington Wizards. With Josh Hart resting, five Knicks players logged more than 36 minutes in the contest. The Wizards showed determination, but the Knicks won this one behind a phenomenal performance from Jalen Brunson down the stretch with a final score of 113-109

Studs: Jalen Brunson masterclass 

The Knicks found themselves in a nail-biter against the 14th seed in the East. Various decisions and critical turnovers seemingly surmounted New York, but it was Jalen Brunson to the rescue. In the fourth quarter, Brunson scored 20 points on 74.6 TS%, ultimately finishing the night with 41 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists on 51.9% from the floor.

The offensive capabilities of Jalen Brunson are remarkable. He is a premier guard in the modern NBA. Brunson now has the fifth most 40-point games in the NBA this season, further cementing his status as a future all-star, and possibly even a future All-NBA player. The New York Knicks have a legend in the making on their hands.

Studs: Donte DiVincenzo’s perfect backcourt compliment 

Donte DiVincenzo had a down night scoring last game versus Houston but found himself making the right choice of passes and playing confidently on the defensive end versus the Wizards. Returning to prominence offensively, DiVincenzo scored 19 points with five made threes in the contest.

DiVincenzo fits seamlessly with the New York Knicks, playing the right way with great humility while also being a sniper from downtown. DiVincenzo averages 42.5% from three this season and is ranked 21st in the association for three-pointers made. 

Studs: OG Anunoby on the rise 

Over his last four games, OG Anunoby is averaging 17 points and 1.75 blocks per game. In the third quarter, against Washington, Anunoby scored 13 points on 100% from the field. The two-way presence of Anunoby consistently has navigated the Knicks back to defensive prominence. There has been much conversation about the workload from Anunoby coinciding with playing for Coach Thibodeau, but OG has no issues and has taken it upon himself to be a machine for Thibodeau’s unit.

Duds: The Knicks’ costly turnovers 

There were plenty of bad passes on the part of the New York Knicks. With a lack of communication, eyes off the ball, and more culminating in 17 turnovers to the Wizards’ 12. Washington is nowhere near the level of New York, but due to poorly timed turnovers, this game was much closer than it should’ve been.

“Don’t play with your food” is the now famous Thibodeau quote, yet that’s exactly how it seemed until Brunson’s fourth-quarter barrage. Marvin Bagley III made his debut for Washington, scoring 20 points and 11 rebounds as the Wizards consistently turned the turnovers into offense, which kept them in the game. 

Takeaways from the win over the Wizards

Prominent production from the Knicks’ frontcourt saw Isaiah Hartenstein and Julius Randle combine for 25 rebounds and eight assists. Under the radar was Randle’s eight-point fourth quarter on 100% from the floor, ultimately the team’s extending the lead. Saturday night, the Knicks will host the Toronto Raptors. In big return games for both RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, expect there to be a showdown in Madison Square Garden. 

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