If you haven’t heard, the New York Knicks are the hottest team in the NBA.
Following their 132-94 trouncing of the Steph Curry-less Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, the Knicks have won eight straight games, the longest since the team won nine during the 2020-21 season.
And while the city and basketball world have taken notice, the players and coaches are not making a big deal out of it.
“No one has talked about the streak at all,” Jalen Brunson said after the game. “We tell each other to keep it rolling. We’re just trying to be the best team we can be and just focus on one day at a time.”
Over the last month, the Knicks have been the best team they can be, and a lot of it has to do with the defense.
Entering Tuesday’s game, the Knicks were first in defensive rating, opponent three-point percentage, opponent three points made, and second in point differential and opponent field goal percentage.
That trend continued Tuesday night when they held Golden State to 47 percent shooting including 12-of-35 (34.3 percent) from three.
“It was a good win for us,” Julius Randle said. “I look at it a day at a time. Day-by-day how I can improve as an individual and get better as a group. We’re taking the necessary steps. Still got a long way to go and we can still improve a lot.”
Randle, who posted 17 points and 12 rebounds, also downplayed the streak saying, “I’m not going to put much into a winning streak or whatever. It’s December still.”
While it is still December, the Knicks have a solid 18-13 record and sit comfortably as the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. Prior to the season, the Knicks had an over/under of 38.5 wins, and while New York has made some strides to surpass that they have to continue to string together wins.
Aside from the defense, the scoring from the whole team has helped. During this winning streak, the Knicks are outscoring opponents by 17.4 ppg. Tuesday night, it was more than the usual three or Randle, Brunson and RJ Barrett.
Miles McBride, Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley also scored in double figures against Golden State.
“We have a lot of guys that are capable of having monster games. It’s not surprising at all. When they do it, it’s definitely a plus,” Brunson said of his teammates. ”They’re always ready when the opportunity presents itself”
For coach Tom Thibodeau, his sights are already set on the Knicks’ next game, the second of a back-to-back against the 13-18 Raptors at MSG.
“Tomorrow’s game will have nothing to do with tonight’s game. We have to start all over. We have to get ready to play,” Thibodeau said. “Our preparation is important. The physicality of Toronto we have to understand how hard it’s going to be. And we have to be ready to do it all over again. You have to play 48 minutes and do it together on offense and defense. If we skip over any steps, we’ll pay for it.”