Studs and Duds: Knicks extend their streak with a win over rival Miami Heat

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) reacts after making a three point basket during the second half against the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Another remarkable performance from Jalen Brunson led the way for the New York Knicks over the Miami Heat. Before the contest, many speculated the Knicks’ ability to combat Miami’s schemes. The dawn of a new era in New York basketball proved once again to be worthy in a dominant 125–109 Knicks victory

Studs: Jalen Brunson continues his streak of dominance

In his last 10 games, Jalen Brunson is averaging 29.6 points and 6.5 assists on 52% from the field. Much discourse from the national media has attempted to discount Brunson’s impact, but the New York Knicks are 12-2 this month while maintaining the highest net rating in the association. Brunson’s versatility going downhill has made for a nightmare on opposing defenses. From Terry Rozier to Jimmy Butler, there was no answer to contain Brunson, who finished with 32 points, five rebounds, and eight assists.

Studs: The Knicks’ forwards dominated

No position is more valuable in the NBA than the two-way forward. The Knicks capitalized before the new year to bring in the best in the business with OG Anunoby. The reigning NBA steals leader is in defensive player of the year conversations as of late and has been the catalyst to the now-best defense in the NBA.

Pair that with All-NBA forward Julius Randle and there is a recipe for unbridled success in the association. Anunoby and Randle combined for 38 points on 50 % from the floor against the Miami Heat. Attacking mismatches and preying on the Heat’s lack of prominent depth at the forward position was New York’s luxury in this contest. Growing more comfortable by the day, Anunoby has averaged 17.6 points in his last five games. 

Duds: Julius Randle suffers an injury

Despite coming away with a win and extending the streak to six games, Julius Randle took a hard fall in transition that led to his immediate removal from the contest. Ian Begley reported that “there was nothing of significance found” on the X-ray of Randle’s right shoulder, but nothing is definitive until the results of the MRI. Last postseason, Randle sustained an ankle injury he attempted to play through. If anything indicates a significant amount of time missed this time around, the Knicks should take proper precautions. Randle’s health comes playoff time is most vital. 

Takeaways from the Knicks’ win over the Heat

The best record in the NBA this calendar year featuring a rotation of high IQ team-oriented players has made the Knicks must-see TV. Players such as Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo continue to set the standard as a couple of the most prominent rolemen in the NBA. On a nightly basis, it’s not about who’s trying to score the most but who’s making the winning plays.

Quentin Grimes found himself in trade talks recently, and his level of play has increased significantly. Isaiah Hartenstein returned to the floor as the Knicks moved like a well-oiled machine. The next game is the first of a back-to-back against the Charlotte Hornets on the road before returning home to face the Utah Jazz. The Knicks get the job done against teams below .500 as they look to extend their winning streak. 

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