Knicks Keep Winning Amidst Injury Concerns

After going on a four-game winning streak, the Knicks have moved to a 41-27 record and now only trail the Cavs by 1.5 games for the 3-seed in the Eastern Conference. OG Anunoby returned from injury against the 76ers. However, he re-aggravated his elbow injury and will now be out indefinitely once again.

The Anunoby Impact

When Anunoby returned to the Knicks lineup, the defense immediately returned to the elite form they had before the elbow injury. In his three games since returning to the lineup, New York did not give up more than 93 points, as they won each game.

Knicks' opponents averaged only 87.7 points, shot 37.7 percent from the field, only 28.2 percent from three, and out-rebounded opponents by an average of 11.8 rebounds per game. With Anunoby in the lineup, New York is 15-2 and holds numerous wins over high-end opponents in these games.

Unfortunately for Anunoby and the Knicks, he will again be out indefinitely with an elbow injury. Throughout his games in his return, Anunoby favored the elbow at different points, so it was clear the elbow was still an issue. Anunoby's MRI came back clean, so it appears that the Knicks will try to manage the injury and get him back in the lineup when the elbow is in a better spot.

It is also still unclear when Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson will be able to return to the lineup. There is still no set return date for either, although Randle should be the one to return quicker and likely before the end of the regular season.

Jalen Brunson Carries Knicks’ Offense

Brunson has been on an absolute tear in this winning streak and the Knicks have needed it, especially in their past three wins. In those games, he scored 45 points, 42 points, and 34 points to clinch three victories toward their climb up the Eastern Conference.

Against the Kings, Brunson manufactured one of the smartest plays of the season when he called for a screen to make his defender completely turn his head to allow Brunson to immediately run to the rim and put the dagger in for the win. After the game, Kings coach Mike Brown said the defense they attempted on Brunson is only comparable to the way they attempted to defend Stephen Curry.

Fittingly, Brunson and the Knicks would go on to face Curry and the Warriors in the next game, but without Anunoby. For the first time in five games, the Knicks allowed over 100 points, but it would not matter as Brunson proved to be the better of the points guards that night with 34 points, seven assists, and five rebounds, compared to Curry's 27 points, five assists and five rebounds.

Brunson's play has played an enormous part in keeping the Knicks afloat and climbing in the East. So has the play of his teammate Josh Hart, who has taken on a considerable role offensively and defensively with all the injuries. Hart has averaged 11.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists in this win streak, coming with two triple-doubles in that four-game span. He also played the entire 48 minutes against the Warriors.

Deuce McBride logged a mere 47 minutes against the Warriors and, in doing so, recorded a career-high in points with 29 while also taking the task of guarding Curry for the majority of the game. McBride has quietly excelled in his new role as a backup point guard since the Immanuel Quickley trade. With the abundance of injuries, he has gotten the chance to show how much of an impactful player he can be when given the opportunity.

The Knicks will look to continue their winning streak against the defending champion Nuggets as they continue to attempt to climb up the standings.

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