On Monday night, the New York Knicks won for the 12th time in the last 13 games, beating the Memphis Grizzlies 118-104 behind 28 points from Julius Randle and a season-high 25 points from Derrick Rose. In a vacuum it wasn't the most exciting or memorable game, but it was a typical Knicks performance, as they dug deep to find a way to win.
"You gotta bring the energy and the commitment to win, and so I thought our guys were excellent in terms of preparation," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We got in late, or early this morning, and just being ready to go at the start of the game. ... We built a lead in the third, struggled a little in the fourth, but found a way to win. Whatever we have to do to get the win, it's hard to win on the road."
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The result also meant a lot to the Knicks and their long-suffering fans. With that win, the Knicks are now 37-28, which guarantees they'll have a winning season for the first time in nearly a decade. You have to go back to 2013, when Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith led them to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, to find the last time the Knicks finished over .500. In the seven seasons since then they've gone a combined 184-374, and haven't made a single playoff appearance.
Speaking of the postseason, they are guaranteed a trip to the play-in tournament, and are closing in on securing an automatic berth with a top-six seed. Following Monday's slate of games, they're all alone in fourth place and have a three-game lead on the 7th-place Boston Celtics. There's still one game left between the two teams, which will decide the season series, so the Knicks have some work to do.
Regardless of what happens from here on out, this has been an incredible turnaround for the Knicks, who had only won 38 games in the past two seasons combined. Even Thibodeau had to exchange his gruff demeanor for a celebration after this win, and when you've got him smiling and hugging people on the court, you know things are going well.