Studs and Duds: Knicks start the year strong with win over Timberwolves

New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) dunks past Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) in the third quarter at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks kicked off 2024 in spectacular fashion. OG Anunoby made his Knicks debut, while Jalen Brunson had a career night. Led by Julius Randle, the stars were out for a big win in Madison Square Garden over the Minnesota Timberwolves

Studs: OG Anunoby makes stellar debut for the Knicks

OG Anunoby shined in his debut for the Knicks. Scoring 17 points with six rebounds on 58% from the floor, OG made his presence felt on both sides of the floor.

The stellar defense from Anunoby was on full display as he forced tough looks for Minnesota’s star players. Although it was his first game, Anunoby fit seamlessly with the New York offense. The team’s motion was consistent as OG moved without the ball and pushed the pace in transition. 

Studs: Julius Randle continues to make his All-Star case

The new addition of Anunoby was a win for the Knicks but an even bigger win for Julius Randle. With more room to go to work, the All-NBA forward added to a phenomenal scoring streak with his 18th consecutive game scoring 20 points or more.

Randle went off for 39 points and nine rebounds, leading the way to defeat the number-one seed in the Western Conference. The well-known tenacity from Randle set the tone for the Knicks. Randle had 15 points in the first quarter and coasted to a takeover in the clutch with 12 points in the fourth. 

Studs: Jalen Brunson with a career night

With 14 assists in the contest, Jalen Brunson had his first 10+ assists game of the season and his most ever. On an off-scoring night, going 5/23 from the field, Brunson pushed the pace and distributed well for the Knicks.

As previously mentioned, there was a synergy on the floor with the ball constantly moving, and the Knicks’ players capitalized on a variety of ways to attack a great half-court defense in the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Brunson hasn’t had the best shooting nights since Christmas Day, but being a great distributor and setting the pace becomes contagious as the Knicks rotation strives for the best looks every time down the floor. 

No Duds: The Knicks came to play

This edition of Studs and Duds marks the first time we have had a game with no duds. The Knicks sustained a lead on the best team in the West, and when Minnesota threw their last punch to get back into the game, Randle threw an even bigger one. Putting on an absolute show in the fourth quarter, Randle continues to show a level of play that, in due time, will catapult him into the right conversations amongst the best in the league. 

Main takeaways from the Knicks’ win over the Timberwolves 

The New York Knicks are back. To begin this new year with a statement win over a great team is the perfect momentum. Knicks faithful saw how the ball was moving and how active the Knicks were in transition should get used to it.

Defense creates offense, and Anunoby’s tenacity, while also having the ability to stretch the floor, allowed Randle and Brunson to go to work in their own rights. The Knicks host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night and look to improve to 2-0 in the new year. 

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