Knicks, with OG Back, CRUSH 76’ers. NY 106 Philadelphia 79

OG Anunoby was finally back after the surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow, and the Knicks looked like the juggernaut they looked like before he went out — CRUSHING the Philadelphia 76ers on a Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, 106-79. A nationally televised game on TNT.

The Knicks took an early 10-point lead, led by 18 at the half, withstood an early 3rd quarter Philly rally that pulled them to within 10, then blew Philly off the ever-living court — leading by 28 before the 3rd quarter was over and upping the lead to 31 points in the 4th.

The Knicks did it with a scintillating Defense — frenetically hounding Philly at all times all over the court. OG was a big part of it as was Josh Hart who had another triple double — his 4th of the season — with 20 pts, 19 rebounds, and 10 assists. And Jalen Brunson rebounded from the poor shooting game he had on Sunday against this same Philly team — scoring 20 points on 7-12 shooting (4-8 from 3).

Philly is still without Joel Embiid, and the Knicks are still without Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson. Tyrese Maxey was back for Philly after missing 5 games with a concussion.

It was the Knicks 3rd straight game of holding a team under 80 points.

“Twenty years ago that really was the style of play,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “To be able to do it in today’s game is a credit to the team. You have to be tied together, and you have to be working together, and you have to count on each other. And I think that’s the way our team is playing and we had to use that most of the year — when you’re down players; you’re not replacing Julius, you’re not replacing Jalen and OG — but we can do it with our team.”

“We can do it with our team defense; we can do it with our team rebounding; we can do it by taking care of the ball,” continued Thibs. “That puts you in position to win regardless of who you have, who you’re playing, or where you’re playing. So if we hang onto those 3 things — some nights we don’t shoot it as well as others; I think that holds true for every team in the league. But you’ll be in position to win if you do those 3 things.”

NY improves to 38-27, in 4th place in the East, 3 games back of Cleveland and 4.5 behind Milwaukee. Philly drops to 36-29.

1. Knicks Jump Out to 10-Pt Lead

OG Anunoby was back and made an instant impact — dishing to Josh Hart for a jumper for the 1st points of the game, then dribbling to the left corner and knocking down a J to give NY a 4-0 lead.

The Knicks Defense was Intense from the start — as it had been against this same Philly team 2 nights earlier on Sunday night in a trench-warfare of a game.

But this time the Knick offense was crisper and deadlier. Isaiah Hartenstein dunked off a Jalen Brunson pass, then Brunson hit a floater, Donte DiVincenzo hit a 3, Anunoby nailed a 3 from the corner, Brunson hit a 3, and Josh Hart scored twice inside and NY raced out to a 20-9 lead.

Precious Achuiwa came off the bench to join the scoring with two buckets inside, and NY upped the lead to 26-14 at the end of the 1st quarter.

2. Knicks Take 18-Pt Halftime Lead

The Knicks were clicking on all cylinders offensively — intent to make up for the prior game on Sunday night vs Philly. Miles McBride nailed a 3 early in the 2nd quarter, then hit Anunoby for a corner 3, and then Alec Burks hit a J and NY was up by 15 points.

Philly made a mini run — pulling to within 7 on a Buddy Hield 3, a massive Kelly Oubre Jr dunk-and-1 that lit up the TNT announcers, and then a Hield drive.

Out of a timeout the Knicks answered — tightening the D — Jalen Brunson picking up a steal, and feeding Anunoby for a dunk.

“It all started on the defensive end which gets the Knicks in the transition game and Jalen Brunson makes a great pass and the unselfish play which rewards OG Anunoby for running the floor hard,” summed up NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “Always run the floor hard and take nothing for granted.”

Tight D and Rhythm 3’s

The Knicks continued to rachett up their D which led to rhythm 3’s in the other direction. Donte DiVincenzo followed with a 3, which was followed by back-to-back Jalen Brunson 3’s and NY was back in command, up 13 at 47-34.

Consecutive 3’s by Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson gave NY an 18-point halftime lead.

3. Knicks CRUSH Philly Comeback Attempt in 3rd

Philly made one more run — early in the 3rd. Kelly Oubre Jr hit a 3, Tyrese Maxey broke free for a bucket, Tobias Harris hit a J, and Maxey hit a 3 off a Kyle Lowry assist, to pull Philly within 10. Knicks timeout.

Out of the timeout the Knicks ratcheted up the D again, and that led to more drives and rhythm 3’s.

DiVincenzo hit a 3, Brunson hit a drive-and-1, and then OG Anunoby made a pretty spin move in the lane for a 69-53 Knick lead.

Hartenstein dunked off a Brunson assist, Brunson made a drive off a Josh Hart assist and the Knicks were high stepping.


Josh Hart was ALL OVER THE PLACE with Rebounds, hustle plays, assists, and scores.

“Want to watch a winning player that is fearless and unselfish, then watch Josh Hart,” exuded NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “Josh will get every 50/50 ball, defends, he beats you on the glass by outworking you and wanting it more, finds the open man, his effort never changes and you don’t have to run anything for him. Winner.”

Anunoby Caps It Off

And then you turned around and OG Anunoby stole the ball at midcourt for a SLAM and NY was up by 28 points, 83-55.

“That’s the beauty of Josh and OG — both can play all three wing positions, and they’re interchangeable,” said Thibs afterwards. “That was one of the big reasons we wanted OG — what he would bring to the team. I think it’s a huge plus for us.”

4. NY Relentless in 4th

The Knicks continued to play the frenetic defense throughout the 4th quarter. Brunson and the starters rested but the 2nd team came in and did not let up — carrying a 25-point lead throughout the period and upping it to a 31-point lead.

Miles McBride and Precious Achiuwa added to the scoring. Everybody ate.

Jericho Sims was the odd man out with OG back — Sims got 6 minutes. Hartenstein is on a minutes limit due to the achilles, and played his normal-at-this-point 20 minutes.

The Boxscore

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