Knicks new lineup shines in impressive 112-106 win over Timberwolves

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at New York Knicks
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

It seems as if OG Anunoby is just what the doctor ordered for the New York Knicks, making his presence felt in the lineup as they pull off an impressive win over a Minnesota Timberwolves team that sits atop the Western Conference. After leading by as much as 22 in this game, the Knicks fell apart in the fourth quarter, but some huge buckets from Julius Randle and timely defense kept the team afloat, as they were able to hang on to secure the 112-106 win over one of the best teams in the NBA.

Certainly a high note for the OG Anunoby era of Knicks basketball, there was plenty to dissect in this statement win to put the Knicks three games above .500 at 18-15.

New-Look Lineup Gets the Knicks Back in the Win Column

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at New York Knicks
Jan 1, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) looks to drive past New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) in the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The trade of RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley was controversial, but the Knicks knew exactly what they were getting in OG Anunoby, and he’s got the city of New York behind him after his debut. He dropped 17 points on 58.3% shooting, draining three of his six attempts from downtown and bringing in six rebounds as well. Anunoby showed off incredible defensive versatility as he was able to switch onto Karl-Anthony Towns or Anthony Edwards when the situation called for it, and the Knicks held Minnesota to just 106 points in the contest.

While Anunoby was remarkable, going +19 on the court, Julius Randle was the star of today’s show. After a slow start to the season, he’s completely flipped the narrative regarding his play, and he highlighted a recent stretch of great play with 39 points on 58.3% shooting, collecting nine rebounds, and coming up clutch down the stretch. The Knicks couldn’t buy a bucket in the fourth quarter and nearly saw their lead completely disappear, but the two-time All-NBA forward converted multiple possessions into key buckets down the stretch.

His co-star Jalen Brunson was much less effective on offense, shooting a dismal 5-23 from the field, but he set a career-high in assists with 14, turning over the ball just twice in the process. The Knicks were able to stomach his poor shooting down the stretch, and it only brings more excitement for what this team could end up looking like when Brunson is clicking. It wasn’t a particularly efficient effort for the Knicks, as they shot 43.8% from the field and 35.3% from three, but they still scored 112 points on arguably the best defense in the NBA.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at New York Knicks
Jan 1, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) celebrates in the second quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Some other notable contributors include Isaiah Hartenstein, who has helped anchor the center position in the absence of Mitchell Robinson, as he collected three blocks, three steals, three assists, nine rebounds, and seven points. He has blossomed in New York, and the Knicks look like bandits in the deal they originally inked him to in the summer of 2022. Donte DiVincenzo added 15 points on 11 shots, and Quentin Grimes hit three of his four attempts from the field for 10 points.

Josh Hart added eight points and a team-best 11 rebounds, but the bench struggled to get much of anything going. The Knicks got only 18 points off the bench, and that’s where you feel Immanuel Quickley’s absence the most. Perhaps the recent play from Grimes since being moved out of the starting lineup could indicate a greater role moving forward, as he had shot 41.9% from three in his 11 games since being benched before this afternoon’s contest, but Tom Thibodeau will have to make do for now.

The Knicks will take on the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday at home as they look to put their three-game losing streak behind them, but today was certainly a huge one for the new-look Knicks.