Knicks Win PRESSURE COOKER to Snatch 2nd Place in East! NY 120 Chicago 119 in OT

Josh Hart came out of nowhere to put back an offensive rebound off a Donte DiVincenzo drive, and DeMar DeRozan‘s mid-range jumper — with OG Anunoby and DiVincenzo drapped all over him — rolled out with 3 seconds left, Jalen Brunson securing the rebound — to give NY a PRESSURE COOKER win over the Bulls in Overtime.

The win vaulted NY to 2nd place in the East to end the season, as Milwaukee and Cleveland had both lost.

On a Sunday afternoon at an INSANELY LOUD Madison Square Garden.

The final flurry was just an example of a torrid flow of haymakers thrown by the two teams at each other in the 4th quarter and overtime, in one of the best NBA regular season games imaginable.

Jalen Brunson was heroic with 40 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, as were all the Knicks — Anunoby, Isaiah Hartenstein, Hart, DiVincenzo, Miles McBride, and Bojan Bogdanovic all played big roles — as especially did Precious Achiuwa, who came up with Huge plays — scores inside, blocks, and rebounds — in the 4th quarter and Overtime. Precious played because Mitchell Robinson, who played 7 minutes in the 1st half, was made not available for the 2nd half by the medical team, according to coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “Probably precautionary,” noted Thibs.

“We went through some ups and downs; we took a good hit; we were behind; we didn’t play great,” said Thibs about the game. “But in the end we found a way to win. You have to win different ways.”

Despite all the injuries — and Julius Randle is still out (for the year) — the Knicks finish 50-32 and climb into 2nd place in the East.

1. Knicks Up 3 at the Half

This was the 3rd time in 2 weeks the teams had played each other, Chicago winning the first matchup and the Knicks taking the 2nd. Coming in, the game was meaningless for Chicago as they had cemented home court in a play-in series against Atlanta.

The game was big for NY — as the Knicks were going to finish the season 2nd or 3rd in the East with a win, and 3rd or 4th in the East with a loss — depending on if Milwaukee and Cleveland won or lost.

Before the game the question was if Chicago would rest their players. They didn’t. Coach Billy Donovan has Chicago playing take-no-prisoners ball.

So the pressure was all on the Knicks, while Chicago was playing with house money.

NY had a 1-point lead at the end of 1 quarter — with DeMar DeRozan doing heavy scoring for Chicago, along with Javonte Green, Coby White, and Nikola Vucevic. For the Knicks, Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, OG Anunoby, and Donte DiVincenzo were doing the scoring — including a DiVincenzo slam off a Brunson feed late in the 1st quarter.

“You can make yourself a threat when the ball isn’t in your hands,” described NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “Donte DiVincenzo does that with his slashing/cutting that leads to easy looks along with his action off the ball then use of curls/screens to hit his jumper. Like most former Villanova players, just knows how to play.”

The game went back and forth in the 2nd quarter as well — Isaiah Hartenstein‘s dunk inside with 30 seconds left gave NY a 3-pt halftime lead.

2. Chicago Takes the Lead in the 3rd

Coby White became a big pain in the ass in the 3rd quarter, hitting drive after drive — keeping his dribble alive at all times enabling him second bursts inside. DeMar DeRozan kept hitting mid ranges, Javonte Green hit a 3, and Nikola Vucevic added drives inside and jumpers. Alex Caruso came in for Green, and hit a 3 just before the 3rd ended to give Chicago an 82-76 lead.

3. NY Down 88-81 w 9:37 Left When News Breaks that Cavs Lost

Bogdanovic hit a huge 3 early in the 4th to pull NY within 3, but Caruso answered with a 3 and Coby White scored on another tough drive and Chicago was back up 88-81 with 9:37 left. NY time out.

And then news broke across the wire that Cleveland lost to Charlotte and All the pressure came off NY and Knick fans.

The Cleveland loss meant NY was guaranteed 3rd place and with Milwaukee losing to Orlando by 20 with a few minutes left in their game, NY was now playing for 2nd place. House money.

4. Anunoby & McBride Buckets Begin Knick Comeback

Out of the time out Anunoby drove to the bucket and was fouled — and made 1 free throw. But Javonte Green scored down the other end and NY was down by 8 pts.

But Anunoby countered with a Huge 3 from the corner. Chicago 90 NY 85.

Next time down after a Dalen Terry score, Miles McBride hit a Huge 3 — Chicago 92 NY 88.

Next time down after a Vucevic score, McBride hit a pullup — Chicago 94 NY 90.

A Chicago miss caused a Knick fast break — McBride fed Bogey for a quick-draw 3 — BANG. Chicago 94 NY 93. Bulls time out.

5. DiVo 3 Ties It 96-96 With 5:20 Left

Out of the Chicago time out, DeRozan hit a J but DiVincenzo answered with another Huge 3 and it was tie game — 93-93!

6. Brunson Banker-and-1 Put NY Up with 4:19 Left

Coby White followed with a tough drive to put Chicago up, but Jalen Brunson came down — HOUNDED by Alex Caruso and a double team of Torrey Craig — drove right and hit a Tough banker while being fouled by Craig! NY 96-95 with 4:19 left. MSG ON FIRE.

7. Pressure-Cooker Finish to Regulation

The last 4 minutes were more of the same. PRESSURE COOKER. Haymaker plays back and forth.

  • Vukovic hit a layup. Chicago 100 NY 99.
  • Brunson came down — hounded by a double team again — and like a magician playing 3-card Monte on the streets of NY — found Hart underneath for a Layup! Even as a fan watching on TV you didn’t see it coming. NY 101 Chicago 100.
  • DeRozan hit a midrange. Chicago took the lead.
  • Brunson countered with a drive left and casual layup, surprising Caruso and the double teams. NY lead.
  • White hit another tough drive. Chicago lead.
  • DiVincenzo missed a 3 but snuck in for his own rebound and scored ! NY lead.
  • Caruso hit a 3 from the corner — Chicago up by 2!
  • Brunson, fouled on a drive, made free throws. Tie game.
  • White hit ANOTHER drive — Chicago up by 2.
  • Brunson hit a pullup — tie game with 1 minute left!

8. Brunson’s Game Winner Rolls Out at Regulation Buzzer

  • Chicago had the ball with 22 seconds left — DeRozan — defended by Anunoby — missed a J!
  • NY had a chance to win — they wound the clock down and Brunson, hounded by Caruso — took a J from the corner that rolled in and out. Overtime!

9. DiVo 3 & Precious Block, Layups Put Knicks Up 116-112 in OT

Caruso hit a 3 to start overtime, but Brunson came back with a drive and was fouled — hitting 2 free throws to pull NY within 1.

Javonte Green went in for a Dunk but Hart and Achiuwa were right there with outstretched hands causing Green to miss the dunk — the ball went the other way and DiVincenzo hit a HUGE 3 from the corner. NY up 114-112!

Next play DeRozan drove for a layup but Precious Achiuwa blocked it!

A play later, Brunson came down, again hounded by Caruso and the double team — and again like a magician playing 3-card Monte on the streets of NY found Precious underneath all alone for a layup! Again as a fan watching on TV you didn’t see it coming. NY 116 Chicago 112 with 2:27 left.

Coby White free throws off a drive pulled Chicago within 2, and then Jalen Brunson missed a floater — but Precious Achiuwa was there again — offensive rebound and DUNK — NY up 118-114 with a minute left!!!!

“Precious Achiuwa didn’t cheat the Knicks with his minutes and he rewarded them with big time effort and activity on both ends,” noted NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “He won’t get the headlines but by staying ready along with knowing his role and his willingness to take no play for granted were big for the the Knicks.”

10. The Final Crazy Minute

Chicago would not quit. DeRozan hit a drive-and-1 and it was a 1-point game, NY 118-117 with 42 seconds left.

That’s when DiVincenzo missed a drive but Josh Hart came out of nowhere for the offensive rebound and put-back to put NY up 120-117 with 19 seconds left as MSG ERUPTED!

But out of a timeout, Caruso made a finger roll with 14 seconds left — 1 pt game!

Chicago HOUNDED the inbounds, and DiVincenzo fired a pass to Hart who couldn’t handle it — the ball bouncing off his hands and out of bounds. Chicago had the ball with chance to go ahead. Timeout.

DeRozan got the ball, made his move on the left side looking for the mid range — Anunoby all over him with DiVo coming over to help — forcing DeRozan into a jumper that missed, rolling out. Brunson Grabbed the important rebound with 2 seconds left!

NY called a timeout to advance the ball to front court — where all they had to do was inbound the ball. Chicago deflected the first inbound. With 1 second left all NY had to do was throw it into the backcourt and hit a player — Chicago was out of timeouts so would need to go the length of the court.

NY did that — tossing it in near their basket. Chicago in vain attempting to intercept — knocked the ball away but the buzzer sounded for the old ballgame.

NY finishes the season 50-32 and 2nd place in the East!

The Boxscore


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