Anunoby shines in debut as Knicks top Timberwolves

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NEW YORK — OG Anunoby received a nice ovation as he walked to the bench after fouling out of his strong debut with the New York Knicks.

Julius Randle made sure the fans were still cheering at the end.

Randle scored 39 points, Anunoby had 17 in his first game with his new team and the Knicks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-106 on Monday.



Jalen Brunson added 16 points and a career-high 14 assists for the Knicks, who snapped a three-game losing streak after putting Anunoby into the starting lineup for his first game since coming from Toronto in Saturday’s trade that sent RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to the Raptors.

Anunoby only arrived Sunday and was still having things explained to him during the game, but went 7 for 12 from the field and helped the Knicks deliver a solid defensive effort against the Western Conference leaders.

“I thought first game, impressive, really just to be ready and to kind of figure it out like on the fly,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said.

The Timberwolves cut a 22-point deficit down to four midway through the fourth quarter, but Randle rescued the Knicks by scoring their next 11 points, including a three-point play that made it 110-102 with 23 seconds remaining.

Anthony Edwards scored 35 points, his third straight game above 30. Karl-Anthony Towns snapped out of a recent scoring slump with 29, but the Wolves had a dismal second quarter after making 10 of their first 15 shots in a good start to the game.

“I thought our energy just kind of dipped,” coach Chris Finch said. “I thought our start to the game was good, we made some shots, we got a few stops, but I didn’t think our energy was super high and it kind of maintained that level. They found another gear and we didn’t respond.”

The Knicks outscored the Wolves 38-17 in the second quarter to take a 61-49 lead, then broke it open with an 8-0 run in the third that gave them a 19-point advantage.

Donte DiVincenzo and Anunoby hit consecutive 3-pointers to give the Knicks their largest lead at 83-61 later in the quarter, and it was 94-78 headed to the fourth.

Shortly before the game, DiVincenzo appeared to be pointing out some things to Anunoby as the Knicks were warming up.

“Even during the game, they were telling me: ‘Go here. Do this,’” Anunoby said of his new teammates. “They were helping me out for sure, a lot of them and I’m thankful for it.”

Minnesota scored the first 10 of the final period to make it a six-point game before Anunoby’s 3-pointer from the corner stopped the run. The Wolves kept coming, but Randle wouldn’t let them come all the way back.

He acknowledged after the game that it felt different playing without longtime teammates Barrett and Quickley.

“But that’s part of the league,” Randle said, “just change and adjustment.”

Anunoby said he arrived in New York on Sunday and had been trying to learn some of the Knicks‘ plays and terminologies they use. He can become a free agent after the season, but wasn’t ready to think about his future with his present so unsettled.

“I have to find out where to live,” he said before the game. “I don’t know anything. I’m just trying to figure it out.”

UP NEXT

Timberwolves: Host New Orleans on Wednesday.

Knicks: Host Chicago on Wednesday.

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