Studs and Duds: Knicks pick up a remarkable win over the Kings

NBA: Sacramento Kings at New York Knicks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With only seven games remaining in the regular season, the New York Knicks hosted the Sacramento Kings. De’Aaron Fox led the scoring for Sacramento with 29 points, while Jalen Brunson led all scorers with a 35-point 11 assists masterclass. The Villanova connection was live and televised as Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo combined for 52 points and huge buckets down the stretch for New York, leading to a 120–109 win

Studs: The Three Musketeers 

Jalen Brunson 

A season for the history books, Jalen Brunson has made this year one of the most memorable in the franchise’s tenure. With recent news on running mate Julius Randle done for the season, Jalen Brunson reminded Knicks faithful of how much he has improved this season.

Brunson scored 35 points and 11 assists with three steals against Sacramento. Never shying away from the moment Brunson scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, elevating New York and sustaining a wide margin the remainder of the game.

De’Aaron Fox showed his respect to Brunson, “Tough guy to stay in front of––when you do keep him in front, he’s a great shotmaker.”

Brunson is now fifth in the NBA in points per game on the season while averaging 34.4 points per game in the past five games. The load Brunson’s carried this season has been paramount, and the future All-NBA guard continues to be the standard and lead by example for the New York Knicks. 

Josh Hart

As the Knicks looked deflated early in the contest against the Kings, one constant was the tenacity of Josh Hart. Dishing nine assists and eight rebounds was a standard night, but in a Herculean effort, Josh Hart scored 31 points, with nine coming in the fourth quarter. Following a tough night against Miami, his ability to step up and extend his role with humility has made him integral to the Knicks culture.

In the wake of the Randle news, Hart acknowledged his significance and how tapping into certain traits of his will allow New York to play winning basketball:

“Ju’s an All-Star, All-NBA type of player. Everyone’s gotta step up. We gotta do this as a team.” 

Hart understands the defense has to be tremendous while lacking a clear-cut second-scoring option behind Jalen Brunson. Teams will look to take Brunson out of games and make him uncomfortable, and Hart is one the guys expected to step up on any given night as he did against Sacramento.

Following the loss, Kings Head Coach Mike Brown recognized Hart, “That somebody else tonight…Josh… made tough play after tough play after tough play in the paint.” 

Donte DiVincenzo 

Playing lights-out basketball for New York this season, Donte DiVincenzo completed the puzzle with 21 points as the Villanova big three combined for 87 points. In his last six games, Donte is averaging 23.8 points per game. Regarding a second scoring option in the playoffs for the Knicks, Donte DiVincenzo has checked every box this season.

An early season wrist injury to Quentin Grimes opened the door for DiVincenzo to join the starting lineup. The chemistry he and Brunson shared was an ingredient that put the Knicks over the top following the Anunoby acquisition, and it’s been history-making ever since.

With injuries and trades galore for the Knicks, the consistency of DiVincenzo when his number is called has been unprecedented. Teams will be choosing to double-team Brunson in the playoffs, and DiVincenzo is ready to make them pay. 


Get well, Julius Randle 

The Knicks this season had the best one-month stretch of the last decade. 12-1 in January added a level of legitimacy to the Knicks and how the fanbase felt regarding the team’s potential. In breaking news, the Knicks forward Julius Randle confirmed he will not return this season from a shoulder injury sustained in the game against the Miami Heat.

To much shock and dismay, Randle also shed light on his recent struggles, “What caused me to finally go thru w/ surgery was ~5 weeks ago, I went thru a full-contact session & re-injured my shoulder..”

Julius Randle was working hard to get back for fans, but doctors advised otherwise, and he will get shoulder surgery. The Knicks, without Randle, lack a clear scoring option besides Jalen Brunson, and it will be more of a challenge the deeper New York goes in the playoffs. 

Takeaways from the Knicks’ win over the Kings

In a very captivating win for New York, problems are already being resolved, following the Randle news. Reports have confirmed that OG Anunoby has been cleared for 5-on-5, and the Knicks have been cautiously optimistic about his return.

New York has seven games remaining and looks to get another big win Friday night against the Chicago Bulls. A slow start in the second leg of a back-to-back may spell disaster for New York. Expect a fast-paced and intense defense as the Knicks set the tone for the playoffs. 

Mentioned in this article:

More about: