The New York Knicks (7-5) were in D.C. tonight for a whack at the Washington Wizards (2-10). Last week, New York lost to the Bucks in their first NBA Cup, In-Season Tournament game. That hard-fought game marked a turning point for the club: the Knicks have played consistently good-to-great basketball from that point on, winning four of their next five contests.
In tonight’s game, their second Group B match-up of the season, New York stood better odds against an Eastern Conference cellar dweller. Win the should, and win they did. The Wizards would chip away at a 21-point deficit to come within single digits in the fourth quarter, but thanks to 32 points from Jalen Brunson and 27 from Immanuel Quickley, the Knicks would win this game buzzer to buzzer, 120-99. Here’s how.
The Knicks have too much talent to be called short-handed. Quentin Grimes (bruised hand) and RJ Barrett (migraine) were out tonight, so Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart started in their places, respectively. The offense, which had hummed lately, lost not a step. The ‘Bockers mounted a 9-0 run early in tonight’s first frame, on their way to a 12-point lead. The bomb-brigade was led by Jalen Brunson, who collected 11 points and had shot perfectly from downtown, 3-of-3, in Q1.
About midway through the quarter, Immanuel Quickley replaced Hart. I.Q. promptly joined the three-point party. By the frame’s end, the Knicks had made six of their 12 three-point attempts.
Randle and Donte link up for the trey pic.twitter.com/gV6Vs9q2e3— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) November 18, 2023
With about two and half minutes on the clock, Evan Fournier checked into the game. Giving Fournier some burn made sense—the Knicks were short-handed, and Washington plays astonishingly little defense.
New York had gone about three minutes without a field goal. Washington cut their deficit to six, but Julius Randle had been a beast for the past five games, and played that way again tonight in the first frame. He would finish the quarter with 11 points and four assists, and his impassioned play down the stretch helped the Knicks to gain a 35-25 advantage by quarter’s end.
Kyle Kuzma and OAKAAKUYOAK Danilo Gallinari had scored five points apiece for the ‘Zards.
Throw it up to Big Mitch ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/q3vcDufr8q— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) November 18, 2023
The Knicks continued to play hungry defense in Q2, with Deuce McBride and Quickley both stealing the ball in the same thirty-second span. The Knicks goosed the lead to 21 points, and outrebounded Washington 25 to 14 in the first half. In the shallow end of the frame, the Wizards mounted a 15-5 run, when New York’s shooting cooled off. At halftime, the Knicks were ahead 65-54.
Deuce lives in the passing lanes pic.twitter.com/MEXLxAKPsM— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) November 18, 2023
Once again, New York’s not-so-secret formula was long-range shooting and rebounding. Thus far, the Knicks had shot 9-of-16 (56%) from downtown; Washington, 7-of-19 (37%). The ‘Bockers had scarfed up eight offensive rebounds to Washington’s two. Yet again, the Knicks out-scored their opponent for second-chance points (9-2 through the first half).
Your halftime shot chart:
Coming out of the locker room, the Knicks had lost their touch and their intensity on both ends of the court. The Wizards crept within five points when Jordan Poole finally logged his first points of the game. The Nova ‘Cats wouldn’t let a lame-o slacker like Poole embarrass them; back-to-back threes by Hart and Brunson got the lead back to double-digits. New York regained their long-range mojo and feasted on Washington’s lazy zone defense.
Here’s another Villanova guy, making the most of his extra minutes and head-scratching defense:
The Former Bullets would again come within single-digits. It didn’t help that Julius Randle got fuzzy-headed, committing a loose ball foul, an offensive foul, a turnover, and an offensive charge, all in little over a minute. He missed a technical free throw, too. Sheesh. Coming out of a timeout, he scored the Knicks’ next four points to redeem himself. Corey Kispert hit a three to cut the lead to five. New York carried an 89-84 lead into the final quarter.
Quickley grew up in Maryland, so this was home game of sorts for him, and his mom was seated courtside. With the Knicks unable to put the clamps on the Wiz, IQ took the reins and scored a run of eight points. He tallied 16 points in Q4 alone (the entire Wizards team scored only 15) and finished with 27 points on 10-of-18 FG, 3-of-7 3P.
Washington was losing by only five points with nine and a half minutes remaining. Fortunately, they have Jordan Poole on their team, and that kind of rot eats you from inside out. The Knicks would go ahead by double-digits as they crossed the midway point, and then finally got serious down the stretch. They would outscore the Wiz 31 to 15 in the final frame.
- Jalen Brunson: 32 points, seven apiece boards and dimes, 10-of-23 FG, 6-of-10 3P, 34 minutes.
- Donte DiVincenzo: 14 points, four rebounds, one assist, 5-of-9 FG, 4-of-8 3P, 25 minutes.
- Josh Hart: nine points, five boards, two assists, 4-of-7 FG, 1-of-2 3P, 31 minutes.
- Julius Randle: 22 points, seven boards, eight assists, six turnovers, two blocks, one steal, 9-of-18 FG, 1-of-5 3P, 35 minutes.
- Mitchell Robinson: eight rebounds, six points, one block, 27 minutes.
Nice end-to-end win tonight. Game four of the five-game road trip takes place tomorrow evening in Charlotte. Safe travels, Knickerbockers.