NBA: Britain's Anunoby helps new NBA club upset high-flying T-Wolves

AFP , Tuesday 2 Jan 2024

British forward O.G. Anunoby sparkled in his first NBA game for the New York Knicks, helping his new club upset Western Conference leader Minnesota 112-106 on Monday.

OG Anunoby #8 of the New York Knicks dribbles the ball against Anthony Edwards #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second half at Madison Square Garden on January 1, 2024. AFP


New York's Julius Randle scored a game-high 39 points while Anunoby added 17 points and six rebounds only hours after arriving from Toronto in a Saturday trade.

The 26-year-old London-born defensive standout, who won an NBA crown with the Raptors in 2019 and led the league in steals last season, was learning about his new team on the fly after more than six seasons in Toronto.

"Even during the game, they were telling me, 'Go here. Do this'," Anunoby said. "They were helping me out for sure, a lot of them, and I'm thankful for it.

"Everything really. New terminology. Just trying to figure everything out best I can, so a lot of read-and-react today.

"Each day I'm going to get better at everything, learning the plays, learning the terminology, learning the steps. I'll learn every day."

Anunoby's strong showing after arriving at a hotel and getting his physical Sunday night impressed Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.

"I thought, first game, impressive, just to be ready and kind of figure it out on the fly," Thibodeau said.

"Played smart, played off people well, played great defense, hustled, moved without the ball, shot good shots, made good plays, so very good start."

Thibodeau tried his best to keep things simple on the veteran playmaker, who has career averages of 11.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals a game.

"You don't want him overthinking things," Thibodeau said. "Just give him a basic framework and we can add day by day. If you get lost just play."

Anthony Edwards scored 35 points to pace the Timberwolves, who fell to 24-8.

Pacers defeat Bucks
Indiana guard Tyrese Haliburton just missed a triple double in leading Indiana to a 122-113 victory at Milwaukee, where Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo had a triple-double in defeat.

Haliburton had 26 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds for the Pacers (18-14), who also had 25 points and 13 rebounds from Canadian reserve guard Bennedict Mathurin.

Antetokounmpo delivered 30 points, 18 rebounds and 11 assists for the Bucks, who fell to 24-9 and 2.5 games behind Eastern Conference leader Boston.

Defending champion Denver, led by Jamal Murray's 25 points, routed visiting Charlotte 111-93 to pull within two games of Minnesota in the West.

The Nuggets also had 22 points from Michael Porter Jr. plus 13 points and 11 rebounds from two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic of Serbia.

Italian forward Simone Fontecchio scored a game-high 24 points to lead host Utah over Dallas 127-90.

Jazz reserve Jordan Clarkson had a triple double off the bench with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists while Slovenian guard Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with 19 points.

The Phoenix Suns, playing without Kevin Durant due to a sore right hamstring, got 21 points from Bradley Beal and 18 from Bosnian center Jusuf Nurkic in defeating visiting Portland 109-88.

Cameroonian forward Pascal Siakam scored a game-high 36 points to lead six double-figure scorers for Toronto in a 124-121 victory over visiting Cleveland.

After snapping an NBA record-tying 28-game losing streak by beating Toronto, the Detroit Pistons went back to their frustrating form with a 136-113 loss at Houston.

Turkish center Alperen Sengun led the Rockets with 26 points and nine assists.

Kawhi Leonard scored 24 points, Paul George added 23 and reserve Norman Powell added 22 to power the Los Angeles Clippers over visiting Miami 121-104.

James Harden added 15 points and 10 assists for the hosts while Bam Adebayo led the Heat with 21 points and 15 rebounds.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link: