Studs and Duds: Knicks’ dominant win extends winning streak to 7 games

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) moves past Charlotte Hornets forward Cody Martin (11) during the second half at the Spectrum Center
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo combined for 60 points on the road as the New York Knicks extended their winning streak to seven games. The then Villanova prodigies turned the Knicks’ fortunes and have improved the culture tremendously as New York continues to climb up the Eastern Conference ladder.

The absence of Julius Randle and OG Anunoby is not to be made light of, but New York handled business, remaining unbeaten against teams below .500. The Knicks topped the Charlotte Hornets with a final score of 113-92 on Monday night.

Studs: The DiVincenzo Code 

Donte DiVincenzo’s level of play this season makes him the most underrated signing in the league last summer. Highly regarded by former teammate Stephen Curry, DiVincenzo is a certified winner as he has quickly established himself on the New York Knicks.

In a marathon of a game, DiVincenzo played 41 minutes while scoring 28 points, six rebounds, and five assists. In his last ten games, DiVincenzo has averaged 15 points per game while being in the top 15 players in the league for three-pointers made. The ingenuity of Donte has been an underlying aspect that brings a contagious brilliance to the Knicks rotation.

Studs: Another Jalen Brunson masterclass 

Another stellar showing from Jalen Brunson as he moves himself into MVP territory this season. Missing a fellow pillar and the best defender in the association, leading by example has been the motto, and where Brunson goes, the New York Knicks follow adamantly.

In his last five games, Brunson’s averaging 30 points on 57% from the floor. There has been an epic stretch of basketball on display by New York’s franchise point guard, and the best is yet to come as the Knicks continue to climb the standings. Led by Jalen Brunson, seven straight wins now sets New York in close range of home-court advantage through the playoffs with plenty of momentum to put New York as contenders in the Eastern Conference, possibly even the NBA Finals. 

Studs: The Knicks played with defensive integrity 

The offensive prominence of NBA teams tends to take the light in a culture currently dominated by high-scoring and very skilled players. Yet, as the saying goes, “defense wins championships.” There is no defense in the NBA better in 2024 than the New York Knicks.

In 15 games, the Knicks boast a league-best 13-2 record while maintaining the best defensive rating in the association. Humility, hunger, and solidarity have shaped the culture of New York with a rotation of like-minded players that complement one another’s strengths while also casing teammate’s weaknesses.

The ability of the Knicks to continue winning without a consistent lineup as of late proves prior words true, as they have held their opponents to 97.6 points per game over the last five contests. 

Duds: OG Anunoby added to the list of injured Knicks

A game-time decision saw the Knicks head into this matchup without OG Anunoby. The status of Anunoby’s injury is more a blend of proper precaution and a well-deserved rest than anything too serious, as this game was the first leg of a back-to-back.

What can be taken from this is the alarming amount of minutes OG has played since joining the Knicks. Averaging the 12th most minutes in the entire league, this rest sets the stage for dialing back a bit ahead of a tremendous playoff push. 

Takeaways from the Knicks’ win over the Hornets

The New York Knicks have the capabilities to win the Eastern Conference Finals. The defense is there, and so is the talent, but the majority knows health plays a prominent factor in any organization’s long-term plans. A second-round exit last season due to many health concerns, it can be argued, with the current win pace, the Knicks are ahead of schedule.

Players stepping up in others’ absence shows the cohesion that exists on top of the existing versatility from guys like Josh Hart and Precious Achiuwa. With a rematch ahead against a Jazz team that had New York’s number last meeting, expect a showdown in Madison Square Garden. 

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