The Knicks’ defense made history in their win over the 76ers

New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) slaps hands with guard Jalen Brunson (11) during the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are starting to become the defensive gauntlet they were over a month ago. They dominated the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night with a 106-79 victory, an emphatic win in the long-awaited return for OG Anunoby. It was the third consecutive game in which New York held their opponent to under 80 points, and they are 2-1 over that span.

It was also the first time since the 2000-01 season that the Knicks accomplished such a feat, according to the Knicks PR team on X.

Josh Hart and Precious Achiuwa stand out in this recent stretch

Some of the standout performers over this recent stretch have been Josh Hart and Precious Achiuwa, both of whom have seen a massive increase in playing time amidst the injuries to Anunoby and Julius Randle.

In his last three games, Achiuwa boasts an 81.8 defensive rating, which leads the entire NBA over that span. In that short stretch of games, he is also averaging over 10 rebounds, three blocks, and one steal per game, putting his defensive tenacity on full display as he continues to be a revelation during his Knicks tenure.

Hart meanwhile, has hit his stride after a rocky first half to the season. In the last three games, Hart is averaging 16/12/5 with a defensive rating of 89.8 and has recorded four triple-doubles this season. Hart and Achiuwa are also two of five Knicks players with defensive ratings below 91.0 in the last three games.

With Anunoby back, the Knicks can be dangerous defensively

With Anunoby back in the lineup, New York is poised to once again become a juggernaut on the defensive side of the ball during the final stretch run of the season, especially with the rest of the team stepping up their play.

The Knicks hold the second-best net rating in the NBA when Anunoby plays, compared to just the 18th-best without him. New York is also 13-2 with Anunoby, and with a big West Coast trip coming up, the Knicks can prove yet again that they are no easy out in the East.

Follow this writer on X: @DylanBacker_

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