Knicks Launch into 3rd-Seed in the East With Ten Games Left

A three-game win streak for the Knicks combined with the Cavs losing four out of their last five games has allowed the Knicks to officially take over the third seed in the Eastern Conference with 10 games left in the regular season. New York's four-game win streak ended against the Nuggets; however, they would proceed to take care of business against the Nets, Pistons, and Raptors to get to 44-28 and hold that coveted three-seed.

Knicks' Role Players Step Up

When Deuce McBride signed a three-year, $13 million extension a couple of months ago, it seemed like an afterthought since he was not part of the consistent rotation. However, since the Immanuel Quickley trade, especially this recent stretch of play, McBride's new contract is starting to look like one of the best-value contracts in the league.

In this three-game win streak, McBride is averaging 22.7 points and 4.7 assists on 53.3 percent shooting from the field and 48.5 percent from three. He has also played an average of 43.6 minutes per game over this stretch. Even with his uptick in scoring, McBride has continued to be an impressive perimeter defender, averaging a steal a game in this streak.

McBride's overall increase in level of play and just minutes has been an enormous revelation for the Knicks, as they have needed another guy to take on heavy minutes with all the injuries. His ability to score the ball will keep him a key part of the rotation even when he eventually moves back to the bench when the regular starting lineup is healthy.

Donte DiVincenzo has also stepped up in a big way in these past three wins for New York. He has averaged 29 points on 52.5 percent shooting from the field and 44.4 percent shooting from three. This includes a 40-point game against the Pistons, where he set the franchise record for threes made in a game with 11.

Josh Hart has continued to fill the stat sheet across the board, with a few double-digit rebound games in the streak and an 11-point, 14-rebound, and 10-assist triple-double against the Pistons. Precious Achiuwa also had a nice game in his return to Toronto, with 19 points and 12 rebounds coming off the bench.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of this increased level of play from the role players is Jalen Brunson. In this three-game win streak, he has averaged only 30.5 minutes per game, well below his season average of 35. With only 10 games left in the season, it is imperative to keep Brunson as fresh as possible so he is as fresh as possible for the playoffs.

Injury Updates

Mitchell Robinson finally returned from his ankle injury a couple of months ago in the Knicks' past game against the Raptors. Robinson came off the bench and scored eight points, two rebounds, and two blocks in 12 minutes. Barring any setbacks, Robinson has 10 games to build himself up for the playoff run, which is huge for the Knicks' chances of making a deep run this year.

OG Anunoby and Julius Randle's returns are continuing to tick, with the playoffs drawing near. The two have no set return date, and the Knicks will need both of them back as soon as possible to solidify their chances of getting the third seed.

The Knicks face the last-place Spurs in their next game on Friday, but they proceed with three straight difficult matchups against the Thunder, Heat, and Kings. The Cavs also face a bit of a tough schedule coming up as they play the 76ers next and then the Nuggets afterward.

This final stretch will be key for the Knicks, as getting the three seed could be a huge help to their eventual playoff run. Most importantly, though, Anunoby and Randle need to come back for the Knicks to have a real shot at making a run this year.


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