Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo follows through on a three-point basket...

Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo follows through on a three-point basket against the Detroit Pistons in the second half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 25, 2024. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Donte DiVincenzo was not messing around.

Before the Knicks’ 124-99 win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night at Madison Square Garden, DiVincenzo told Newsday that he would love to set the franchise single-season record for three-pointers made.

Then, as if to drive the point home, he broke a different franchise record, hitting 11 three-pointers while scoring a career-high 40 points.

And, as fate would have it, he did it while playing against former Knick Evan Fournier, who holds the franchise single-season record for three-pointers and shared the single-game record of 10 threes with J.R. Smith until DiVincenzo — who attempted 20 threes — broke it with 3:16 left.

After tying the single-game record with just over five minutes remaining, DiVincenzo missed three straight shots, with the Garden crowd yelling every time he touched the ball.

“As soon as I touched the ball, I could hear the crowd,” DiVincenzo said. “There was so much emotion. My teammates just kept getting me shots and telling me to slow down, take my time and shoot the ball.”

While the crowd was thrilled with the record chase, the Pistons seemed anything but. Coach Monty Williams was in no mood to talk about DiVincenzo or the Knicks afterward.

“I don’t care about their team. I [couldn’t] care less,” Williams said. “Those guys, the way they got those threes. I don’t want to be a part of that story.”

Josh Hart, who had a triple- double (11 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists), rolled his eyes when told of Williams’ comments.

“If he doesn’t want to be a part of that story, he should have told his guys to defend him,” Hart said. “What am I supposed to say? We got a guy who is hot. We have to try to find a guy who is hot. That’s common-sense basketball.”

With 11 games left, DiVincenzo needs eight more threes to break the franchise single-season mark of 241 that Fournier set in 2021-22. Fournier broke John Starks’ record of 217 set in 1995.

Only 17 players in NBA history have made more than 241 three-pointers in a season, with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, James Harden, Damian Lillard and Buddy Hield doing it in multiple seasons.

“To look around the league and see there’s other franchises where their record is in the 180s and 190s, you have to really give credit to what Evan did,” DiVincenzo said. “It’s really hard to do 240 threes in a season. There are other franchises that aren’t near that. So I think that adds to it. One, you have to tip your cap to [Fournier], and it also adds some extra motivation ’cause it’s hard.”

He also said: “At the end of the day, I never want me chasing something to sacrifice winning a game.”

Few thought DiVincenzo would be in a position to make history this season. Signed in the summer as a backup to Quentin Grimes, he averaged only 9.1 points, mostly off the bench, in his first 20 games.

Grimes, however, struggled and DiVincenzo took the starting position for good. His three-pointers then trended up significantly after the Knicks traded RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to Toronto. Entering Monday night, he ranked No. 1 in the Eastern Conference and fourth in the league behind Curry, Luca Doncic and Thompson in made three-pointers.

DiVincenzo, who is averaging 21.6 points and 4.7 made three-pointers in his last 24 games, credited coach Tom Thibodeau for his development this season.

“It’s amazing because you can see the trust throughout the year from Thibs that he has in me and in the other guys,” DiVincenzo said. “Throughout the year, even when everyone was fully healthy, there was just a trust. And as guys went out, that trust gains and gains and that confidence gets higher. That’s the beautiful thing about playing for Thibs.’’

He added of the record: “If I get it, I’ll be over the moon. If I don’t, it is what it is and there’s always next year. I think the beautiful thing is within this offense and within this organization, it’s obtainable for anyone on our team.”

Notes & quotes: Jalen Brunson had 28 points and six assists for the fourth-place Knicks (43-28), who remained a half-game behind Cleveland and moved one game in front of idle Orlando. The Pistons (12-60) have the NBA’s worst record . . . It sounds as if Mitchell Robinson is getting closer to returning. “Mitchell is moving quite well,” Thibodeau said during his pregame media session. “He’s cleared for contact and all that. He’s going through practices and so just needs a little more time. But he’s doing really well overall.” Robinson, who had ankle surgery, hasn’t played since Dec. 8.


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