Nova Knicks & Hart-Stopping Finish Undo QGrimes/Fournier/Flynn Revenge Game. NY 113 Detroit 111

Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier, and Malachi Flynn torched the Knicks in the 4th quarter to bring Detroit to the threshold of victory, but Josh Hart and the Nova Knicks prevailed in an INSANE finish — thanks to a ref non-call that went the Knicks way.

QGrimes had just scored on a drive to give Detroit their first lead since early in the game, 111-110, when Jalen Brunson came down and missed a 3 with 20 seconds left — QGrimes grabbing the rebound falling out of bounds, and tossing it to Simone Fontecchio — the Detroit win at hand.

But Josh Hart stripped the ball away from Fontecchio to begin a WILD play — Isaiah Hartenstein grabbing the ball, passing it to Donte DiVincenzo who tried to find Jalen Brunson in the corner — the ball intercepted by Ausar Thompson, causing a momentary loose ball on the sidelines that DiVincenzo reached before Thompson, feeding Brunson as Thompson fell on top of DiVincenzo — Brunson fed Hart underneath for a bucket-and-1 — NY taking a 112-111 lead with 2.1 seconds left!!

As Madison Square Garden erupted in pandemonium on a Monday night.

Detroit coach Monty Williams went ballistic thinking Thompson had been fouled by DiVincenzo — as did the Detroit team and most watching at home — but replay after the fact showed the ball was loose and DiVincenzo got to it first.

Hart Grabs Own Rebounds off Free Throws

The game wasn’t over — Hart then missed the free throw — but got his own rebound and was fouled with 1.1 seconds left!

Hart hit the first free throw to give NY a 113-111 lead, then missed the second free throw and got his own rebound again as time ran out!

Thibs Thoughts

“I’m obviously very pleased with the win,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “It was a very physical game. There were a couple of plays like that — Jalen had one in the 1st half where he hit the floor; we ended up with a corner 3; scramble play — and sometimes that’s the difference between winning and losing right there. I thought our rebounding was probably the difference. But it was a physical game from the start — and I’m fine with that as long as it’s the same both ways, and I felt it was. It was very physical.”

NY improves to 35-23. Detroit falls to 8-49.

1. Detroit Wouldn’t Go Away

Detroit is having one of the most horrific seasons, including a 28-game losing streak — but after breaking that record schneid, they went 4-4 including a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. They lost 5 in a row after that bringing them into this game against the Knicks — but feature some talented young players including 6’6 star point guard Cade Cunningham, 6’10 Jalen Duren at center, sharpshooting small forward Fontecchio from Italy, and Jaden Ivey in the backcourt.

And now after the trade with the Knicks — Quentin Grimes and his tenacious D and 3 off the bench.

Duren is a player the Knicks had on draft night 2022 for about a minute — traded to them from Memphis for a their 2023 #1 pick and four 2nd-round picks, before NY turned around and traded Duren to Detroit with Kemba Walker for Detroit’s 2025 #1 pick (protected 1-18). It looks like a big mistake as he is one of the best young bigs in the game.

The Knicks — still without Julius Randle, OG Anunoby, and Mitchell Robinson — broke on top but couldn’t pull away — the best NY could do was a 7 to 9 point lead all night; Detroit hanging in on the scoring of Cade Cunningham especially. He finished with 32 points on 10-19 shooting (5-7 from 3).

2. Nova Trio Carries Knicks

The Knicks were led all night by the precision play of the Villanova trio — Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo — who play like a gloved hand, seeming to know instinctively where each will be at all times.

Brunson was on his game from the start, weaving his magic inside and hitting his 3 ball — en route to 35 points on 11-25 shooting (3-11 from 3; 10-11 in free throws) with 12 assists, 2 steals, and a +3.

“Jalen Brunson always in attack mode while keeping his dribble alive, head up and gets to where he wants to get not where his defender wants him to go,” noted NBA analyst Ross Kreines. “Put your defender at your mercy.”

Josh Hart was everywhere all night — ripping down rebounds, defending, and giving the Knicks a ton of offense on this night — hitting his jumper from 2 and from 3. He finished with 23 points on 8-17 shooting (3-5 from 3), with 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and a block — and the incredible plays in the final 20 seconds.

“Josh Hart is a winning player who does all the little things and so much more,” said Kreines on Hart. “He plays bigger than he is, defends, unselfish, beats you on the glass by out working you and wanting it more. Also, takes no play for granted and knows his role Plays for the name on the front of his jersey.”

And Donte DiVincenzo was playing his usual tremendous all-around game, with tenacious defense, heads-up passing, quick drives to the bucket, and hitting his 3 ball.

Isiah Hartenstein is gradually getting more minutes at center — still nursing the sprained achilles — he played 27 minutes and had 8 rebounds and a +5. And Jericho Sims played a very active defense in his 20 minutes on the court — with 6 rebounds and a +2. At times Jericho switched onto Cade Cunningham and did a good job with his quick feet.

Bogan Bogdanovic added offense — 13 points on 5-11 shooting (3-8 from 3).

3. QGrimes, Flynn, & Fournier Take Over in 4th

The Knicks were up 92-84 entering the 4th — they had a nice lead but just could not shake Detroit.

And then the worst thing possible started to happen — the 3 Knicks traded away — Malachi Flynn, Evan Fournier, and Quentin Grimes — started to rip the Knicks apart.

It started with Flynn, slicing and dicing to the basket for buckets. Then Evan Fournier hit a 3. And then Quentin Grimes started coming up with steals, hitting 3’s, and ripping to the basket — playing like the aggressive, confident Grimes Knick fans saw last year and before.

Miles McBride and Alec Burks formed the Knicks 2nd team backcourt. McBride played good D but even he had a hard time handling Flynn. Burks gave the Knicks 7 points on 3-9 shooting on the night but QGrimes started torching him at start of the 4th and Burks soon found a seat.

Detroit kept slicing the Knick lead — down to 5, then 4, then 2 points.

Jalen Brunson hit a Huge bucket to put NY up 110-106 with 2:22 left, but Ausar Thompson countered with a 3 and it was a 1-point game.

That’s when Hartenstein came up with the block of the game — both he and Precious Achiuwa converging on Jalen Duren inside — Hartenstein blocking the Duren dunk with 1:28 left to keep NY’s lead intact, 110-109.

4. The Frenetic Finish

But next time down QGrimes sliced to the basket for a bucket giving Detroit a 111-110 lead.

And then the final frenetic play:

Another look — showing DiVincenzo got to the loose ball first:

Afterwards — Josh Hart had this to tweet about Madison Square Garden:

Refs Post Game Review

Referee James Williams, the crew chief, was standing right on top of the play and made the non-call. Afterwards, however, he wrote “Upon postgame review, we determined that Thompson gets to the ball first and then was deprived of the opportunity to gain possession of the ball. Therefore, a loose ball foul should have been whistled on New York’s Donte DiVincenzo.”

The Knicks had a game stolen from them just before the All Star break when the ref crew admitted they blew a call — incorrectly calling Jalen Brunson for a foul that gave Houston a win at the buzzer. So the Knicks got one back.

The Boxscore

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