New York City’s LL Cool J rang in the New Year from Times Square, December 31st. Rocking the bells to end the 50th anniversary of hip-hop from its NYC birthplace.
The afternoon after, the New York Knicks started 2024 off right with a win in the Mecca of Madison Square Garden.
They couldn’t have done it against a much better team. Beating a snarling Anthony Edwards, Karl Anthony-Towns and the West best Minnesota Timberwolves.
Live from New York City, BasketballBuzz was there.
A lot has changed in New York since the last time we were here. The iconic front of The Garden has been built upon, and the popular Hotel Pennsylvania across the way is now a demolition site awaiting the next high-rise. Oh yeah, and the Knicks are actually good now.
As was Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Jon Stewart, Julianne Moore, ‘Barbie’ director Greta Gerwig and many more in a sold out, star-studded MSG crowd.
MVP chants rang out for All-star Julius Randle, who dominated with 39 points and 8 rebounds. Rebounding from a couple of air balls down the stretch like his former Laker teammate Kobe in his rookie year, to own the paint. Flexing with a winning mentality.
Yet the Knicks wouldn’t have come away with the W without its newest star. Especially with the best in the league, floor general Jalen Brunson struggling with his shot.
Former Toronto Raptor O.G Anunoby had 17 points and 6 rebounds in 35 minutes and one seamless debut. Similar to how quickly role player extraordinaire Josh Hart fit in when he came aboard.
Both players hustled hard, especially the Knicks’ new OG. Right after being traded for star RJ Barrett, who now truly becomes the Maple Mamba in the 6.
New York also lost sixth man Immanuel Quickley in the deal. But they quickly rebounded with a 112-106 win over the Wolves. Even if they almost did blow a blowout lead.
Blame it on the New Year’s hangover. The city was still cleaning up confetti from the streets of the world’s most famous calendar change celebration, just a few blocks away.
“I felt good,” the brand-new Knick and 3-and-D Anunoby told press after the game. “I felt good. Just trying to help the team on both ends. Just talking to guys on defence and them talking to me, helping know where to be, and stuff. Felt good.”
The Madison Square faithful were feeling him too. Decked out in his new jersey which only became Woj official on Saturday.
Last season, O.G led the league in steals. Many who call the Garden, “Eden”, see this deal as a steal. Although losing Barrett and Quickley is big, this feels like a better fit. Especially for Toronto, too, who have their very own Canadian star in RJ.
Now it’s time to get Shai.
Precious Achiuwa, who was also acquired in the trade alongside guard Malachi Flynn (DNP-CD), made his debut for NYK. However, the spotlight was on O.G. Anunoby, who revealed that he spent New Year’s alone in a hotel room, preparing for the game and how to guard the T-Wolves’ best player, Anthony Edwards.
It sure paid off, even though Edwards was putting up figures (33 points) like the number of people in Times Square.
O.G may have missed the ball drop, but by the time it went up for the Monday matinée game, he was ready.
Now, for the second-half of the season, it looks like the Knicks are too.
Happy New, New York.