Studs and Duds: Knicks pick up big win in Golden State

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) shoots as Golden State Warriors center Draymond Green (23) and forward Andrew Wiggins (22) defend during the first half at Chase Center
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks continue their stellar road trip as they pick up a big win over the Golden State Warriors. With OG Anunoby being a late scratch, the Warriors were 6.5-point favorites going into this one, but New York’s extended minutes rotation kept their foot on the gas the entire game.

Miles McBride played the best game of his career, while the lockdown defense of New York stunted Stephen Curry’s performance. The Knicks ultimately pulled away with a 119–112 win.

Studs: The Deuce is Loose 

Miles McBride started this contest with an impressive 11-point first quarter before finishing the half with a career-best 19 points. Starting alongside Jalen Brunson, this lights-out performance was paired with McBride’s duty to guard Stephen Curry the entire night.

At the Chase Center on national TV, it took a commitment from McBride, but there he was guarding Curry as he walked it past half-court. Finishing with 29 points and six made threes, McBride’s performance starting beside Jalen Brunson is the best performance of his career up to this point.

McBride’s strength lies in his ability to create his looks, executing well in the iso. His hustle on both sides of the ball displays excellent intangibles and instincts, as both have made McBride very popular with head coach Tom Thibodeau. A breakout performance of this caliber against arguably the best point guard of all time will only mold McBride into another level of play that can fit perfectly in the Knicks playoff rotation. 

Studs: Jalen Brunson lights it up again

“The Cerebral Assassin” Jalen Brunson left every head turned to watch his brilliance on display. In 35 minutes, Brunson had 34 points, five rebounds, and seven assists. Fifteen of these points came in the third quarter, where ultimately, the Knicks closed the door on any opportunity of a Golden State comeback.

Leading the entire game, Brunson blitzed the Warrior’s defense, with no one having an answer for the always methodical Jalen Brunson. Over the last three games, Brunson is averaging 40 points on 52% from the field leading New York to a 3-0 road trip thus far.

Before heading back to New York, the Knicks will face Denver on the road. These takeover performances from Brunson have been stellar, and walking into Denver leaving with a win should catapult Brunson into late-season MVP conversations for the level of play and commitment from Brunson all season long. 

Studs: Nova Wildcats or Power Rangers?

Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart are on the ‘first-team all role player’ ballot without question. Their consistency and deliverance when New York seems outmatched have added a level of resiliency to a team that has been missing a franchise cornerstone for over 20 games. DiVincenzo had an excellent night, going 4/8 from beyond the three-point line against his mentor, Stephen Curry, and finishing with 18 points off the bench.

Josh Hart added another triple-double to his season total with 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists while playing the entire game. Bob Myers was on the call for ESPN and referred to Hart as a “Draymond type” of player in the sense of doing all the little things for a winning team that may not jump out at the stat sheet to you. Over the last four wins in a row, Josh Hart is averaging 11.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists.

The added layer of depth the Knicks possess raises their floor significantly, and this is a perk that separates New York from most of the NBA. The Golden State Warriors have big names on their roster, but their bench lacks depth and has a complex mix of players in and out of the rotation.

Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo bring a level of stability that has allowed players to rest injuries, recover, and still come back to a winning and contending playoff team. That is not a known luxury, yet New York currently sits fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. 

Duds: OG Anunoby raising concerns

OG Anunoby re-aggravated the elbow injury with a noted inflammation since his return to play. NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski went on NBA Countdown to say, “That right elbow has flared up again. They need it to calm down. How long he is out is unclear, but it’s certainly a concern.”

Anunoby was seen visibly shaken against the Portland Trailblazers grimacing up the floor but playing through it. Per New York Post writer Stefan Bondy, Anunoby flew home to get an MRI that came back clean. No traces of re-injury, just minor aggravation on Anunoby’s part, as the focus will be getting him back to 100% for a deep playoff run. 

Takeaways from the Knicks’ win over the Warriors

New York handled business on the road against one of the NBA’s most popular franchises. Isaiah Hartenstein’s double-double and Coach Thibs’ excellent coaching exceeded expectations going into what seemed like a disadvantage missing players. The blue-collar culture of this New York Knicks team encapsulates their identity every game on the floor.

A chemistry that one would find on a championship-level team, and with health comes tremendous fortune for the Knicks. The Denver Nuggets are next up, with the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic leading the charge.

A significant win over Denver and a clean 4-0 sweep on the road trip would do wonders for the confidence of the Knicks. As Jalen Brunson is at the helm, expect a showdown in Denver on Thursday night. 

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