The Knicks’ dominant win over the Sixers is further evidence that the OG Anunoby trade raised their ceiling

On a night full of explosions on the other side N.B.A, the New York Knicks had the most impressive result of its kind. They went to Philadelphia and defeated the 76ers 128-92, their most lopsided win in over a full calendar year. Since taking over from OG Anunoby, they have gone 3-0 in one year Blockbuster trading late last month.

At the time of the deal, the Knicks had lost four of five games and decided to act before things got any worse. While everyone expected Anunoby to be on the move at some point, the Knicks outpaced the rest of the league and came out on top Blockbuster deal of trade deadline season.

Whether or not they overpaid by waiving RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley is still up for debate, but the benefit of adding an elite fullback while creating a better roster fit around Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle was too tempting to forego it. Anunoby is an elite 3-point shooter from the corner – 44.9% on the season – which is a big part of the Knicks’ offense. He also doesn’t need the ball in his hands and can guard the other team’s best offensive player. Meanwhile, the trade freed up more minutes for shooters like Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride, the latter of whom signed a three-year extension in the hours after the trade.

Their dominant performance against the Sixers was the most emphatic performance yet from this new group.

Neither Randle nor Anunoby could buy a basket – they were 4 of 22 from the field overall – and yet the Knicks scored almost at will against the league’s second-ranked defense. That was thanks in large part to their 3-point attack, led by Grimes and McBride. The young people took advantage of their expanded roles and scored four three-pointers each.

As a team, the Knicks hit 18 of 41 from downtown in the win, tied for the third-most points in both makes and attempts in a game this season. Since the trade, they are making 39.8% of their 3s on 37.7 attempts per game, up from 37.5% on 34.4 attempts before the deal. That’s a small sample size, but the numbers are positive. With more spacing and better shooters on the field, the Knicks should not only make more threes, but also create more space for Brunson and Randle.

Defensively, they kept the SIxers’ strong attack going until their most inefficient game of the season. Philly had an offensive rating of 92.0 in this game; Their previous low, including all games Embiid missed, was 100.0. Embiid was kept in check and as a team, the Sixers shot 40.9% from the field and turned it over 14 times.

Anunoby was a big part of this as he spent most of the game chasing Tyrese Maxey, but it was a true team effort the entire time. They streamed toward Embiid in the zone and finished hard at the 3-point line. The Sixers had few answers as the Knicks finished their transition game, which led to 16 first quarter points.

Since the trade, the Knicks have now beaten two of the league’s top five teams (they beat the Timberwolves on New Year’s Day), have the league’s best defense during that time, and have a net rating of plus-19.1. There’s still a long way to go, but early evidence suggests the Knicks have raised their cap with the bold move of bringing in Anunoby.

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