The Knicks’ Villanova core of Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo caught fire to lift the Knicks over the Raptors, 119-106.

Tonight’s game started with the news that Julius Randle might not play with a tender knee, but play he did, coming out strong despite missing his looks from deep. RJ Barrett started the Knicks off with three straight buckets, and Jalen Brunson continued his excellent scoring and seems to have completely shaken whatever slight funk he started the season with. Donte DiVincenzo came in and instantly provided offense off the bench, as has been a continued pattern recently.

RJ also showed off a renewed focus on playmaking, making smart reads all night.

Barnes kept up his hot scoring in the second half, carrying the Raptors with tough shots off the dribble, but the Knicks’ ball movement helped them keep pace. The Knicks went cold in the middle of the quarter, but Brunson and DiVincenzo restarted the offense and got the team rolling again, as they ended the half tied 57-57.

The Raptors went cold in the second half right as the Knicks started really heating up. After a balanced start to the third, with Brunson, Randle, and Grimes all getting multiple scoring opportunities, the rest of the third quarter belonged to Josh Hart. The wing went on a single-handed 15-point run over the last four minutes of the quarter, hitting three threes as well as his customary buckets off of cuts. Quickley topped the quarter with a pair of free throws to take the Knicks into the final period with a 90-77 lead.

DiVincenzo kept the Nova Core hot to open the fourth, connecting on multiple threes in between buckets by Quickley and RJ. The ball movement was flowing, as the Knicks continued some of their best ball movement of the season. A Quickley three gave the Knicks a 15-point lead with just over six minutes to go. Randle hit his first three of the game with five minutes to go to give the Knicks their 14th made three-pointer of the night and a 16-point lead, Donte followed that with his sixth three of the night, and the Knicks never lost control from there.

The Knicks scored 119 points on 30 assists and had five players with 15 or more points: Barrett (15), Randle (20), Brunson (22), Hart (17), and DiVincenzo (21). Randle barely missed a triple-double with 10 rebounds and nine assists, Brunson added eight assists, and Quickley contributed 10 off the bench as well.

The Knicks next face off against the Bucks on Tuesday at 7:30 pm for their In-Season Tournament Semi-Final game.

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