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NY Post
New York Post
6 Jan 2024

NextImg:OG Anunoby’s defensive impact at forefront of Knicks’ thrashing of 76ers

In an imperfect offensive game for OG Anunoby, the newcomer demonstrated how he still impacts winning. 

Guarding multiple Sixers players across the height spectrum in Friday’s blowout win over the Sixers — including, at times, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey — the forward helped limit the home team to just over 40 percent shooting. 

The Knicks outscored Philadelphia by 20 points in Anunoby’s team-high 37 minutes.

Tom Thibodeau is officially happy with the 3-0 start since dealing for Anunoby, who shot just 3-for-11 with 11 points. 

“I think we have a good core that’s been together for a while now. So I think that can absorb people coming in and then a guy like OG is very serious,” Thibdoeau said. “He wants to do well, and I think his mind is open. He plays incredibly hard on every possession, so even if it’s not perfect right now, it’s still gonna be good. 

OG Anunoby, left, looks to get shot up as Joel Embiid defends during the Knicks’ 128-92 win over the 76ers. AP

“Your hustle can make up for a lot. And that’s really what he’s doing. And each day, he’ll get better and better and guys are starting to figure him out, as well. So that takes a little bit of time. But help where you can, hustle, be in passing lanes, get deflections, help out on the boards, play physical, run the floor, move without the ball.

“Those are things that he does great. And then as time goes on, he’ll find more places where he can get scoring opportunities, too.” 

New York Knicks' OG Anunoby (8) tries to get a shot past Philadelphia 76ers' Kelly Oubre Jr.

OG Anunoby puts up a shot as Kelly Oubre Jr. defends during the Knicks’ blowout win. AP

Malachi Flynn made his Knicks debut Friday but is also out of the rotation. 

Before Flynn managed just one minute of garbage time, Thibodeau labeled the guard “situational,” a term the coach uses to describe players who aren’t in his nine-man group. 

Flynn, a point guard who was acquired from the Raptors last week, arrived with an ankle injury and was inactive his first two games.

Miles McBride, who recently signed a three-year contract extension, is the backup behind Jalen Brunson and caught fire Friday with 15 points. 

“We’ll see how it works out,” Thibodeau said. 

Jericho Sims, who started at center after Mitchell Robinson fractured his ankle, is also out of the rotation after the trade. He logged two minutes of garbage time against the Sixers.

Isaiah Hartenstein is starting and newcomer Precious Achiuwa is the backup. 

“Just stay ready,” Thibodeau said. “[Sims] willl get another opportunity as we go along here.”