Donte DiVincenzo’s Record Night Shows Knicks Nailed His Signing

The Knicks only had a supplemental role in mind for Donte Divencenzo, but since last summer he has provided them with a sharpshooting starter.

Mar 25, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) celebrates his
Mar 25, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) celebrates his / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday night at Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks put up a thrashing on the Detroit Pistons, handling their business to notch their 43rd win of the regular season and remain firm in the Eastern Conference standings with the postseason looming large. 

However, the 25-point victory that had the Garden crowd feeling care-free from the opening quarter was not the biggest sign of success on the court. In actuality, it was the impeccable three-point shooting performance of Donte DiVIncenzo that stole the show, putting credence at the same time to the addition that was made by Leon Rose in the offseason. 

Last summer, Rose went out and snagged DiVIncenzo off the open market to pair him with former Villanova teammates Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart and add a talented high-volume perimeter shooter to the roster. Fresh off a 2022-23 season that saw him make a career-high 39% of his shots from beyond the arc, the hope was for the 27-year-old to boost the Knicks’ second unit and provide them with an extra scoring presence once the starters went out to rest. 

As far as Monday’s 124-99 victory was concerned, the plan has wholly surpassed expectations for New York. Playing 41 minutes in his 52nd game as a starter, DiVincenzo shot 14-23 from the field, including 11-20 from the three-point line, and scored 40 points to go along with five rebounds and two assists in the win. 

The season-high feat officially placed DiVincenzo in the Knicks’ record books, as he became the first New York player since Evan Fournier to make 10 3-pointers in a single game and set the new record with his 11th make late into the fourth quarter. He also inched himself closer to the most-three pointers made by a Knick in a single season, sitting eight shots short of the 242 mark that will land him the new honor also held by Fournier.  

While DiVincenzo was the biggest difference maker against the worst team in the NBA, his overall value to the Knicks’ offense has stretched the entirety of the 2023 season. He is averaging just under 15 points per game on 44.2% shooting in 70 games this year but has been one of the hottest hands from the arc since earning heavier starting minutes after the trade deadline. 

Dating back to February 1st when he began averaging 37.5 minutes per night, DiVincenzo has had 15 games with at least four 3-pointers made, eight of which have had between five and seven long-range shots go down. He isn’t always scoring in bunches with these performances, but is getting a lot of good looks that are translating to solid efficiency with eight contests of at least 40% three-point percentage or higher. 

At the team level, DiVincenzo has helped the Knicks own the 12th-best 3-pointers per game and the 17th-highest three-point percentage which is right on par with their competition. He ranks seventh in the NBA in three-pointers made per game and was once in the top-3 players in total three-point shooting percentage.

“Impressive,” said Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau after Monday’s game. “He’s been doing it all year, and I thought his teammates helped create good shots for him. He knocked them down and continued to play hard the whole way.”

Playing hard from start to finish has been another element that DiVincenzo has brought to the table, especially given his background in the hardnose style of basketball that defined his Villanova days. Like his teammates in Brunson and Hart, DiVincenzo loves to be an enforcer, setting the tone on either side of the ball quickly and putting pressure on the opponent to make the same big plays. 

He is so eager to push the ball up the floor for the transition offense, can help set up the offense to create space for the other shooters, has a nose for the rock and an ability to track it down and is so in sync with his former collegiate teammates that one of them is always there for the game defining moments. It’s the culture of all gas and no breaks that has ignited “Donte’s Inferno” on a nightly basis and given the Knicks a huge threat for the three-point battles that will come in the postseason. 

“Jalen was like, ‘bro slow down’,” said DiVincenzo about his 40-point evening. “The crowd was spending me up…and as soon as you catch the ball, you can hear the crowd. I’ve said it before, it’s the best fans in the league and in that moment, it ramps you up.”

With the likes of DiVincenzo continuing to run the floor and punch in baskets from the arc, the Knicks are ramping up to contest the best offenses in the association next month. They know they have the sharpshooter that every other contending franchise has in their back pocket and that’s a cause to celebrate the move–and early history–that’s been made by the partnership.

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