The Knicks are Streaking. Again.
Over the past five weeks, dating back to early December, the Knicks are tied with the Grizzlies and Nuggets for the second-most wins in the league.
The lead was evaporating. Stress levels were rising. Butt cheeks were clenching.
The Knicks' lead, which was 16 points (105-89) with less than four minutes to play, had been slashed to two (108-106) after Gary Trent Jr. knocked down a contested three-pointer with 42 seconds left on the clock.
On the next possession, with the game on the line, Jalen Brunson blew past Fred Van Vleet and got OG Anunoby up in the air, drawing the foul as he banked in a runner. Brunson converted the free throw, and his three-point play would give the Knicks the cushion they needed to escape Toronto with a victory. New York’s four-game winning streak is the longest current streak in the East and the second-longest active streak in the NBA.
Stop me if you've heard this one before, but this is another game the Knicks very likely would have lost last season yet win this year because of Brunson.
We'll get back to the particulars of Friday night's nail-biter, but let's zoom out for a moment. With their recent four-game run, coming on the heels of a five-game skid, which was preceded by an eight-game win streak, New York is now 12-5 in their past 17 contests.
Over the past five weeks, dating back to early December, the Knicks are tied with the Grizzlies and Nuggets for the second-most wins in the league. The Nets are the only team to have notched more victories (13).
During this stretch, New York:
* ranks second in the NBA in Defensive Rating (107.7)
* ranks fourth in Offensive Rating (116.9)
* is one of just two teams with a Net Rating north of +9.0.
* leads the league in both offensive and total rebound rates.
While 17 games isn't an enormous sample size, it's not inconsequential either. Seventeen games account for more than 20% of an entire NBA season. Taken as a whole, the Knicks' body of work over the past month-plus is undeniably impressive.
Julius Randle and the aforementioned Jalen Brunson are the two players most responsible for New York's success. Both led the way Friday in Toronto.
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