Studs and Duds: Knicks’ losing streak extends to 3 games following controversial end-of-game call

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) attempts to score as Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun (28) defends during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

A sense of urgency resides within the New York Knicks for the first time in quite some time. New York was previously on a surge of momentum following the Anunoby acquisition, but a cascade of injuries has derailed the Knicks. Questionable calls made for a memorable showdown as Houston picked up a two-point win in controversial fashion. The Knicks ultimately fell to the Rockets with a final score of 105-103.

Studs: Brotherhood in the Knicks’ Backcourt 

Former Head Coach Jay Wright deserves a tremendous amount of credit for instilling the Villanova basketball program with nothing but consummate professionals during his tenure. Donte DiVincenzo fits the mold of a perfect teammate and one that any NBA team would be honored to have on their roster.

Currently residing in the top four in threes made across the league, DiVincenzo’s humility, timing, and IQ for the game of basketball alongside Jalen Brunson are becoming underrated. Against the Rockets, Brunson dropped 27 points and seven assists but shot 10/25 from the field.

In DiVincenzo fashion, an off-shooting night for Brunson indicates it’s time for Donte to go to work. Scoring 23 points and five rebounds, stepping up big has become DiVincenzo’s forte. In February, DiVincenzo is averaging 25 points per game on 45% from the field. 

Studs: Josh Hart impacts the game on multiple levels

Averaging 11.8 points and 10 rebounds per game in February, Josh Hart has been playing tremendous basketball for the New York Knicks. Hart’s ability to impact the game on multiple levels consistently allows the Knicks to dominate in stretches and brings constant variety to a contending New York Knicks team.

Hart scored 17 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists on 63% from the field while going 3/5 from downtown against Houston. Since beginning the “Roommates Show” podcast, the increased tenacity of Hart has been a luxury as he and Brunson actively alter the perception of NBA players’ ability to balance being professional basketball players and having podcasts throughout the season.

Since the first episode’s air date, Hart is averaging 14 points ten rebounds, and seven assists on 44% from the field. 

Studs: Bojan Bogdanovic finding his groove 

Following a 3/10 shooting night in his Knicks debut, Bojan Bogdanovic bounced back with a 15-point night, shooting 7/13 from the floor. On 53% from the field, Bogdanovic is integrating better into the Knicks’ offense and takes pride in playing for New York City.

Following his debut, emotions were high for Bojan, as he stated in the postgame, “Being able to be part of the Knicks, it’s really special for me.” 

Bojan has never been the all-world defender, yet his passion for the game can’t be argued, as he insists on running the floor hard while staying with his man on defense regardless of the outcome. With a team-leading nine fourth-quarter points for Bogdanovic, the execution showed down the stretch in only his second game, suggesting the best has yet to come for the Knicks when his shots are falling. 

Duds: Closing out the game

The New York Knicks could’ve played better on defense in transition. At one point, the Rockets’ lead ballooned to 16, but New York brought it back. Frustration permeated the Knicks’ social media circles as a late-game whistle ultimately cost the New York Knicks.

Aaron Holiday, being contested by Jalen Brunson, hoisted a prayer from 30 feet, and the referees called a shooting foul, giving Holiday three shots at the line and a Rockets victory by two. 

The New York Knicks have now lost three straight games, and the All-Star break can’t come any sooner.