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Donte DiVincenzo stepping up alongside Jalen Brunson for shorthanded Knicks

With Julius Randle and OG Anunoby sidelined each of the past two games, the Knicks knew they’d need someone to pick up the slack offensively.

Jalen Brunson has continued doing his thing, playing at an All-Star caliber rate, but stepping up right there alongside him has been his former University of Villanova teammate Donte DiVincenzo.

DiVincenzo was stellar in Monday’s commanding win over the Hornets, finishing with 28 points on 5-of-15 shooting from behind the arc to go along with six rebounds, five assists, and a block.

He followed that up with a career night at MSG Tuesday, carrying the Knicks to a win over the Utah Jazz being 33 points on a career-high nine made threes, five rebounds, four assists, four steals, and a block.

“Whoever’s on the court I’m going to carry myself the same way,” DiVincenzo said postgame. “Tonight was just a collective effort. With Julius out and OG not playing, we knew everybody needed to step up, and we just have a joy to us right now and we’re gonna keep it rolling.”

The Knicks certainly are rolling, as their current eight-game winning streak has risen them to the third seed in the Eastern Conference, and DiVincenzo's play on both ends has been one of the big reasons why. 

“He’s been playing some great basketball,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The thing I love about him is he doesn’t hesitate, if he’s open he just lets it go. He’s been shooting the ball great, which opens the floor and he makes a lot of hustle plays for us defensively as well.”

DiVincenzo’s four-year, $50 million deal he signed with New York this offseason is quickly looking like an absolute steal.

After learning from the best in Golden State's Steph Curry and Klay Thompson last season, the 26-year-old has shined thus far with the Knicks, averaging a career-high 12.2 points and 2.8 made threes per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 43 percent from behind the arc (16th in the NBA).

While DiVo’s rise may come as a surprise to some, it isn’t shocking to his former college teammate.

"His work ethic is consistent and it gets better and better every year," Brunson said. "He’s grown as a player and the confidence he has no matter the situation just comes from that work ethic, which is pretty special to see."