DiVincenzo makes franchise-record 11 3-pointers, scores 40 points as Knicks rout Pistons 124-99


NEW YORK — Donte DiVincenzo was on the verge of history and in a hurry to get there.

Needing one more 3-pointer to break a franchise record, DiVincenzo found himself a bit flustered by a crowd that wanted him to fire as soon as he touched the ball from wherever he was, the way fans usually respond to Stephen Curry.

“Yes, it’s an amazing feeling having the crowd behind you,” DiVincenzo said, “but also like every time you touch the ball, they’re like, ‘Shoot! Shoot!”

So he did, until he finally hit his franchise-record 11th 3-pointer. DiVinzenzo scored a career-best 40 points, leading the New York Knicks to a 124-99 rout of Detroit on Monday night for their 15th straight victory over the Pistons.

DiVincenzo broke the Knicks’ single-game record of 10 that was held by J.R. Smith and Evan Fournier, and moved into third in the NBA in 3-pointers made this season. He would have had one more, but one of his 3s in the third quarter was later overturned because he had first stepped out of bounds.

But the swingman stayed in the blowout long enough to get the record-setter with 3:16 remaining, then checked out shortly after to an ovation.

“Impressive, and he’s been doing it all year,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I thought his teammates helped create good shots for him, he knocked them down and played hard the whole game.”

Jalen Brunson added 28 points, and Josh Hart had 11 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in his sixth triple-double this season. The Knicks won for the sixth time in seven games and remained a half-game behind Cleveland for third place in the Eastern Conference.

Marcus Sasser scored 24 points for the NBA-worst Pistons, who lost their seventh straight and fell to 12-60. They shot 39% while playing without top player Cade Cunningham, along with Jalen Duren, Ausar Thompson, Simone Fontecchio and Isaiah Stewart because of injuries.

“I feel like it was just a bad shooting night for us and DiVincenzo got real hot,” Sasser said.

It was quickly clear this game would be nothing like Detroit’s visit last month, when the Knicks got the go-ahead basket from Hart in their 113-111 win with 2.8 seconds left, with referees later determining a foul should have been called on DiVincenzo in a collision that allowed New York to regain possession.

This time, New York made eight of its first nine shots in racing to a 20-8 lead. It was 36-17 after one quarter, when the Knicks had six 3-pointers and the Pistons only had six total baskets.

From there, fans stayed interested cheering for DiVincenzo, who finished 11 for 20 from behind the arc. He struggled a bit approaching the mark, with the crowd’s enthusiasm getting him to play faster than he’s accustomed.

“Jalen was like, ‘Bro, slow down,’” DiVincenzo said. “I was like, ‘The crowd is speeding me up.’”

DiVincenzo has had to expand his role in his first season with the Knicks after the loss of All-Star forward Julius Randle since late January. They also continue to play without fellow starters OG Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson.

DiVincenzo has responded with 234 3-pointers and is nearing the franchise record of 241 held by Fournier, who was in the arena after being traded to the Pistons in February. DiVincenzo passed former Golden State teammate Klay Thompson for third this season and trails just Curry and Luka Doncic.

Knicks players warmed up wearing shirts with Hall of Famer Willis Reed’s No. 19 on the back on the night they celebrated HBCU night. Reed, who died last year at 80, led Grambling State to the 1961 NAIA championship and a third-place finish in 1963.

UP NEXT

Pistons: Visit Minnesota on Wednesday.

Knicks: Visit Toronto on Wednesday.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA



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