Brunson scores 27 before leaving with an injury, Knicks hold on to beat Memphis 123-113

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Wednesday, February 7, 2024

NEW YORK -- - Jalen Brunson had 27 points and eight assists before exiting with an apparent ankle injury, Donte DiVincenzo had 32 points, and the New York Knicks hung on for a 123-113 win over the short-handed Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.

Isaiah Hartenstein had 17 points and eight rebounds and Precious Achiuwa scored 17 as the Knicks shot 55.8% and won for the 10th time in their past 11 games, improving to 16-3 over their last 19 games.

"We built a big lead, and we didn't close it off as well as we should have," Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. "But getting the win is the most important thing."

Brunson, who was serenaded with "M-V-P!" chants throughout the night from the home crowd, appeared to injure his ankle when he was fouled by G.G. Jackson with 5:31 to play. He did not return, and the Knicks did not have an update postgame, though Hartenstein said "it looked like an ankle sprain from my view."

"Playing with him for so long, and knowing him, I said 'are you good?' and he said 'I'm good,'" DiVincenzo said. "I don't worry about Jalen at all."

Seven Grizzlies players scored in double figures, led by Vince Williams Jr.'s 19 points. Jackson had 16 points, and David Roddy chipped in 15 points for Memphis, which dropped its sixth straight game despite outscoring New York 39-26 in the fourth quarter.

"I thought our guys came with the right fight in the fourth quarter," coach Taylor Jenkins said. "To jump on them and score 39 points, I thought our group came with the right mentality."

Despite continuing to miss starters Julius Randle (dislocated shoulder) and OG Anunoby (elbow inflammation), the Knicks never trailed. New York shot 63.6% in the first half, building a 70-46 halftime lead led by Brunson's 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting.

"We turned the ball over too much, and that led to fast-break, easy opportunities for them," Jenkins said. "Obviously Brunson had a good thing going on."

Memphis entered play with an NBA-high 282 games lost due to injury and ranks last in offensive rating and points per game. The Grizzlies trailed by 26, 103-77, with 9:11 remaining before roaring back with nine fourth-quarter 3-pointers that cut the deficit to four, 113-109, with two minutes left.

"In the second half, our defense wasn't very good," Thibodeau said. "They shot 3s, we didn't challenge. They made them."

But DiVincenzo scored eight of New York's final 10 points, including a crucial 3-pointer that extended the Knicks' lead to seven.

"I think (I was) being a little bit more aggressive to make plays," DiVincenzo said.

Hartenstein then had a steal that led to Achiuwa's dunk that pushed the Knicks' advantage to 118-109.

"When you see a shot go in, then you see two go in, then you see three go in, your energy changes," DiVincenzo said. "They make a run and feel good, and Jalen goes down, and you have to kind of regroup.

"But it's better to learn from a win than a loss."


Memphis: Host Chicago on Thursday night.

New York: Host Dallas on Thursday night.



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