Jalen Brunson scored 26 points in the first half, and Donte DiVincenzo erupted for 25 points with a career-high seven threes as the Knicks beat the Charlotte Hornets, 122-108. It was the Knicks’ second straight wire-to-wire win, the first time they’ve done that since 2007, and their sixth win in seven games.
Here are the takeaways…
– New York got out to a strong start and held a 20-9 lead with 6:50 left in the first quarter, as Brunson began the game 4-for-4 with 10 points and RJ Barrett hit his first shot back from a three-game absence. Isaiah Hartenstein pushed the Knicks’ lead back to 11 with two free throws, going up 29-18 with two and a half minutes left in the quarter. Immanuel Quickley made a technical free throw with under a minute left as New York led 30-19 at the end of the first.
The Knicks cooled off during the final five minutes, but Brunson still led the team with 10 points and Julius Randle had nine. LaMelo Ball had a team-high eight points for Charlotte.
– With Quentin Grimes and Evan Fournier out, Miles McBride took advantage of the opportunity and scored five quick points to open the second quarter. Ball then showed off for the home crowd, connecting with 2023 No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller for the alley-oop from beyond half-court to make it a 37-27 game and force a Knicks’ timeout.
Brunson got going again in the second as he completed a three-point play, found DiVincenzo for three, and then scored on a mid-range jumper to push the lead to 47-32 midway through the quarter. Mitchell Robinson showed his presence with an offensive rebound leading to a Quickley bucket and then got back on defense to block Miller in transition.
– Miller scored seven straight for the Hornets and cut the NY lead to 52-44 with 3:30 left in the half. Ball kept the run going for Charlotte, connecting with Miles Bridges for back-to-back alley-oops to make it a 53-48 game. Brunson came right back with a three and landed somewhat on Ball’s foot, but didn’t get the foul call. DiVincenzo nailed a three and then Brunson scored off a Josh Hart steal to give him 26 points in the first half.
New York led 61-50 at the break, as Brunson shot 10-for-14 from the field and his college teammate DiVincenzo had 11 points with three three-pointers. Miller and Ball paced the Hornets with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
– Ball hit back-to-back threes to open the third, cutting the Knicks’ lead to 67-58 and forcing Tom Thibodeau to call timeout after three minutes of action. New York began to turn things back around, as Barrett got a steal and attacked the rim in transition for an and-one layup to make it 77-64. Miller and DiVincenzo traded back-to-back threes, as the Villanova product got up to 19 points and the Knicks held onto a 13-point lead.
The Hornets won the third quarter, 30-28, but the Knicks still led, 89-80 heading into the fourth. Brunson only scored two points in the third, while Randle and DiVincenzo had strong quarters. Miller scored 11 to keep Charlotte in the game.
– Hart hit a three right away in the fourth quarter and then Barrett made two shots at the line, but Ball came right back with a three to keep it a nine-point game. Ball made it a six-point game with another three before Quickley scored in transition and Barrett hit a big three to push the lead to 11, 99-88. DiVincenzo hit his sixth three of the game, a new career-high, and then hit another on the next possession to give him 25 points on the night and make it a 109-94 game. The first-year Knick then took a charge on defense and force a Hornets timeout as the game began to escape them.
– Brunson finished with 32 points after a huge first half, DiVincenzo went 7-for-10 from beyond the arc for a career-high and scored 25 points in 28 minutes. Randle finished with 21 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. Barrett had 15 points in his return and Robinson grabbed 14 rebounds, including 11 offensive. Ball finished with 34 points, nine assists, and five rebounds, while Miller had 29 for the Hornets.
The Knicks will stay on the road and fly out West to face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, Nov. 20 at 8:00 p.m.