Donte DiVincenzo Tips Cap to Knicks Teammate: ‘Not Surprised’

Donte DiVincenzo, New York Knicks

Getty Donte DiVincenzo #0 of the New York Knicks.

New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo scored a game-high 31 points in the win over the Brooklyn Nets on March 22.

Aside from helping the Knicks get back in the win column, the effort was DiVincenzo’s fourth outing with at least 30-plus points and just seven points shy of his career-high, which he also set this season.

Afterward, though, DiVincenzo did not hesitate to shower teammate Deuce McBride with praise.

McBride posted his second 20-plus-point outing in the last three games, playing all 48 minutes in the win over Brooklyn.

After logging 18 appearances over the first 31 games, McBride has played in 37 straight contests. He has logged 40-plus minutes six times in that span and come within two minutes in two others.

“I’m not surprised,” DiVincenzo told reporters on March 22. “Obviously, early on in the year, he wasn’t playing as much. But you have to credit him for – most guys when they’re not playing much or not playing at all, they kind of give in to the, ‘Okay. Well, I’m not going to work, do extra workouts, I’m not going to do this.’

“He does everything, and he’s ready to go. So when his number is called and he doesn’t come out, that’s what happens. He’s ready to go.”

“Honestly, it’s mental,” McBride said during his media availability in the locker room. “Just telling myself [to] keep pushing through, give everything I got in order to get the win.

And when he wasn’t playing?

“Try to make practice harder than the games,” McBride said. “Doing whatever I can: running treadmill, bike, and making it game-like in practice as much as I can.”

Tom Thibodeau Praises Donte DiVincenzo, Deuce McBride

McBride joked that he tried not to look over at Head Coach Tom Thibodeau during the game for fear of being pulled. Thibodeau, though, was highly complimentary of DiVicenzo and McBride during his postgame media availability.

“I think both guys hit timely buckets,” Thibodeau told reporters. “Deuce was terrific defensively because he’s chasing [Cam] Thomas around, and Thomas is a load to deal with. And then Donte, it may have been his best game. Just timely baskets, big, big plays, hustle plays defensively.”

Thomas led the Nets with 19 points. But he was inefficient, shooting 42.9% from the floor and was 1-for-5 from beyond the arc.

Thibodeau also complimented Knicks guard Josh Hart for his “tough plays.”

Knicks Keep Pace in Eastern Conference Playoff Race

The Knicks are fending off the Orlando Magic for fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Orlando suffered a 109-107 defeat at the hands of the Sacramento Kings, bolstering the Knicks’ position ever so slightly.

New York has the easier remaining strength of schedule, per Tankathon, which could be key with Orlando winning the regular season series 3-1.

Both teams are now 7-3 in their last 10 outings.

The Knicks also stayed 1.0 games back of the third-place Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland has dropped two straight and lost their regular season series versus the Knicks 2-1, giving New York a potentially critical advantage if they finish with the same record.

Winners of five of their last six games, the only thing that might make the Knicks an even hotter team is getting back some of their injured players like OG Anunoby and Julius Randle.