Knicks have hard time with Victor Wembanyama, little support for Jalen Brunson in streak-snapping loss at Spurs

The Knicks struggled to contain Victor Wembanyama and had no answer outside of Jalen Brunson‘s valiant effort as New York’s three-game win streak came to an end after a 130-126 overtime loss at the San Antonio Spurs.

Four takeaways from Friday’s game

1. Wembanyama’s growth as a late-season rookie was on full display, and New York paid the price. Unlike his first time against the Knicks on Nov. 8, when he scored 14 points on 4-of-14 shooting in a 126-105 loss, Wembanyama asserted his dominance from the jump as he made the Knicks seem scared to penetrate the paint.

Wembanyama scored a career-high 40 points on 13-of-22 shooting while adding 20 rebounds, seven assists and one block.

Starter Isaiah Hartenstein and Mitchell Robinson (who logged 20 minutes off the bench in his second game back from a three-month injury absence) were subdued. Wembanyama — with 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists at halftime — and the Spurs benefited, building a 74-57 lead through two quarters.

2. Without OG Anunoby and Alec Burks, the Knicks were down a couple of rotation members. The depth and lack of support was evident with Brunson, who erupted for a game- and career-high 61 points — one shy of tying Carmelo Anthony‘s franchise-record 62 set Jan. 24, 2014 — but was New York’s sole threat to escaping San Antonio victorious.

Brunson’s 24 third-quarter points, which gave him 45 entering the fourth, fueled the Knicks’ 34-20 quarter as the Spurs clung to a 94-91 lead. But New York lived and died with Brunson.

The Knicks go as Brunson does, especially without Julius Randle. Even against the Western Conference-worst Spurs (18-56), though, New York needs more than just a 60 burger from Brunson to come out on top.

3. Miles McBride, fresh of his nine treys in Wednesday’s 145-101 win at the Toronto Raptors, came back down to earth. Starting alongside Brunson and company, McBride finished with seven points on 3-of-9 shooting and a 1-for-4 clip from deep. He also missed the game-winning attempt as time expired in regulation, forcing overtime at 121 apiece.

4. One Knick who showed up in flashes of the game and had a memorable moment was Donte DiVincenzo. Now the franchise leader in single-season makes from downtown, DiVincenzo complemented Brunson with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting — including six makes from beyond the arc. A bright spot for the Knicks throughout the season, his first in New York, DiVincenzo ultimately should be proud of what he has put on display this year, stepping up as a key starter during Randle’s absence.


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