The Garden was roaring with anticipation on the New York Knicks’ quest for five straight wins to start 2024. Fans were treated to an incredible performance from the newest Knick in OG Anunoby, along with peak production from the supporting cast. New York handled business from start to finish en route to a 112-84 win over the Portland Trailblazers.
OG Anunoby played his best game as a member of the Knicks thus far. Since joining New York, Anunoby is averaging 14.2 points on 54.66% from the field. Anunoby is still getting acclimated within the offense, yet his defensive prowess has been the most renowned attribute of the all-defensive forward. Anunoby is the first player in NBA history to have a plus/minus higher than +100 in his first five games with a new team.
Countless intangibles and a winning mentality since OG’s acquisition, opposing teams are averaging 97.4 PPG against the New York Knicks. The Knicks also have the highest defensive rating since the New Year across the NBA.
Studs: Role player roulette
The Knicks’ versatility across the board gives them ample opportunities to make winning adjustments. The depth results in any night the possibility of a breakout performance and that’s what was on display against the Trailblazers.
Miles McBride erupted for a season-high 16 points on 61.5 TS%. The trade has given McBride more of an opportunity in the rotation, and his patient persistence has paid dividends.
Quentin Grimes also had a tremendous showing in an extended role, scoring 17 points on 69 TS%. For the season, Grimes averages seven points per game, but since the trade, his per-game total increased to 12 points per contest.
Studs: The Knicks’ stars played a lighter load
In a blowout affair from start to finish, Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle only combined for 32 points and 56 minutes played. In most cases, this would be doomsday for the Knicks, but the decimation of the Trailblazer on the defensive end meant easy buckets in transition and extending the lead to allow more rest to the Knicks’ pillars.
This luxury throughout the rotation adds to the versatility previously mentioned. The Knicks must be healthy come playoff time. The demeanor of the Knicks to start the year suggests the approach against Portland will become normality for New York, especially against teams below .500.
A blowout of this fashion saw everything that could go right go even better for the New York Knicks. The Blazers scored not even 90 points in the rout to a 28-point Knicks win. Hartenstein continued his dominance, averaging 13.6 rebounds over his last five games as New York’s lead ballooned to 39 in the game.
Donte DiVincenzo operated as a Swiss Army knife, continuing his streak of six straight games scoring in double figures. The cohesion of the Knicks, led by masterful basketball IQs, assembled for one common goal, and that’s to win at the highest level.
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Takeaways from the Knicks’ win over the Trail Blazers
The highest level for the Knicks lacks rationality from NBA fans across the board. The Knicks check off every box to be in winning conversations, but this is an example of ‘reading a book by its cover.’
The Knicks are known for mediocrity and coming up short, but this Knicks’ team is a special one. Time will present this to be even more true, but the gap between teams seen as superior (Bucks/Celtics) is nonexistent. The Knicks are becoming a premier team in the NBA.
The next game is on the road against a Mavericks team led by Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. A clash of Titans, as the Knicks winning streak will be against a Mavericks squad coming off a tough loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.