Studs No Duds: Knicks get revenge over Chicago Bulls

New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) shoots over Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) during the second half at United Center
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Another successful week in the NBA for the New York Knicks as they went 3-1 with now only three games remaining in the season. A rematch from last week was on the card as the Knicks visited the Bulls to get revenge for that upset win over New York in their prior meeting.

Jalen Brunson put on a masterclass performance with his second consecutive 40 + point game. He now joins Bernard King and Patrick Ewing as the only players in Knicks history to do so. The MVP-caliber play of Jalen Brunson and company have New York sitting at the third seed in the East after defeating Chicago 128-117

Studs: MVP Brunson 

The Cerebral Assassin Jalen Brunson is averaging 39.5 points per game over the last four games. The New York Knicks announced that Julius Randle would not be returning this season, to the dismay of the Knicks faithful. But Brunson coincidentally has been even more productive since the news was announced.

Much of the media discourse around New Year’s was if Brunson was capable of being that ‘#1 guy’ not only as a first option offensively but a winning option. Now, without Randle for two months, the Knicks are a top-three seed in the East, only one game behind Milwaukee for the second seed. Brunson has led by example and, at times, been the singular reason New York is still competing in games.

The Knicks’ rotation is highly formidable, but a cold night from beyond the arc or missing open shots from the team means more work for Brunson. He accepts this challenge at every chance and has a relentlessness that defines what winning basketball is all about. The humility, IQ, and poise on display every game from Brunson has cemented a culture on the Knicks for years to come.

Studs: Two-Way Anunoby 

In only his third game back, Anunoby had his second-highest-scoring game in a Knicks uniform. OG Anunoby scored 24 points on an efficient 55% from the floor. This game saw great on-ball defense from Anunoby, but the Knicks as a team moved like a unit with Anunoby, not because of him, and that was the difference maker in his ability to convert more offensively.

This recipe will mesh well in the playoffs as the Knicks are answering the question of “Who will be our second option?” As the rest of the season unfolds and playoffs begin, New York will have a clear cut of who to go to but not one player in particular. Matchups will be crucial to Anunoby’s efficient offensive production in the playoffs.

The Knicks getting the Pacers first round compared to a 76ers team with Joel Embiid will show a drastic difference in numbers as OG would be tasked with guarding Joel Embiid for stretches. Regardless of the second option role being defined, Anunoby is more than capable. Feasting on back cuts and open lanes would be just enough for OG to be efficient, as he primarily focuses on the defensive task at hand. 

The Best there is. The Best there was. The Best there ever will be: Josh Hart

The Josh Hart archetype, getting drafted as a shooting guard, but playing like a power forward, will become ordinary in the NBA. The skill set of Hart is so vast he would be an asset on every team in the association. There is something from Josh Hart’s game that every team in the league could use, and he plays for the New York Knicks.

In 46 minutes, Hart scored 17 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists against the Chicago Bulls. The previous meeting between these two teams saw Hart ejected from the game. Hart made sure to remind the Bulls what they missed as he was a force in transition and his brilliant decision-making.

There has been an alarming amount of 40+ minute games played by Hart, but his remarkable sacrifices to help maximize this Knicks team have radiated throughout the rotation, and it shows in the game. The humility in all of Josh Hart, Donte DiVincenzo, and Jalen Brunson will take the Knicks to the promised land as such a winning trait only can. 

Takeaways from the Knicks’ win over the Bulls

No Duds, as the New York Knicks did not look to play with their food. The Knicks took the lead in the first quarter and never gave it back again, ultimately getting revenge for that lashing from Chicago a week prior. All previously mentioned players will be focal in formulating a winning recipe this upcoming playoffs, and they are more than capable of getting the job done.

Seeing how good this Knicks team can be is crucial, as Julius Randle is due a contract extension this summer. If the Knicks perform better than last season without Randle, one can expect that to be headline news in the off-season. Looking ahead, the New York Knicks will head to Boston and face the first-seeded Celtics. A remarkable showdown awaits on Thursday night and a great test so close to the start of the playoffs. 

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