Donte DiVincenzo Cites 2 Factors Behind Knicks’ Best Month in 30 Years

Donte DiVincenzo, Knicks

Getty Donte DiVincenzo #0 of the New York Knicks reacts in front of Terry Rozier #2 of the Miami Heat after making a three-point basket at Madison Square Garden.

Donte DiVincenzo woke up on his 27th birthday with a big smile as the New York Knicks are sitting third in the Eastern Conference with their 31-17 record.

The Knicks capped a 14-2 run in January — their most wins in a month since going 14-0 in March 1994 — with a 118-103 rout of the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, January 30, at Madison Square Garden despite the rash of injuries to their starting frontcourt.

How did they achieve the unthinkable?

“One, I think we have a deep team, but two, I think it’s the blueprint that [Tom Thibodeau] has given us,” DiVincenzo said via New York Post. “Guys can step up and play the roles without trying to do too much.

“We have an identity here, and everybody buys in and there’s a joy that we have with our team right now. Everybody is celebrating one another, but also, everyone is holding everyone accountable.”

DiVincenzo led the Knicks’ role players who are stepping up big-time during this surge. He hit a career-high 9 3-pointers on the eve of his birthday as they sustained their dominant form despite playing without Julius Randle and OG Anunoby in their last two wins. Randle (dislocated shoulder) and Anunoby (elbow inflammation) joined Mitchell Robinson, who underwent ankle surgery in December, in the sickbay — that’s the Knicks starting frontcourt right there.

Knicks’ Collective Effort

Jalen Brunson had his usual stellar numbers — 29 points and nine assists. But the Knicks as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

DiVincenzo led six Knicks in double figures with 33 points.

Josh Hart had his first career triple-double (10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists).

Precious Achiuwa, the throw-in piece in the Anunoby deal, channeled his inner Julius Randle, and scored a season-high 18 points with five rebounds and two blocks.

Isaiah Hartenstein, who missed three games with soreness in his Achilles, finally played true to his form without his 25-minute restriction. The rising center was all over the place, delivering a complete line: 14 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block.

Quentin Grimes chipped in 12 points off the bench.

This collection of smart, hardworking blue-collar players has lifted the Knicks to one of their best months in franchise history.

“When people are called upon, they’re ready to go. That just goes toward the work ethic, every single day coming in doing the work making sure they’re ready to go whether they’re playing 3 minutes or 30,” Brunson said via SNY.

Tom Thibodeau’s Magic

Thibodeau has given the Knicks a defensive identity that is a throwback to the Patrick Ewing-led Knicks teams’ glory years in the ’90s and unselfishness that was the hallmark of the Red Holzman-coached championship teams in the ’70s.

Since the calendar flipped to 2024, the Knicks had the best record in the NBA with the title favorite Boston Celtics (11-5) and star-studded Los Angeles Clippers (11-3) trailing behind.

The Knicks are no. 1 in both defensive rating (104.4) and net rating (15.8), per NBA advanced stats, while ranking sixth in offensive rating (120.2) despite the exit of Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett.

However, championships aren’t won in January but in June.

The Knicks still have five months to get healthy and reach their peak.

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