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Anunoby leads surging Knicks to blowout win over Nuggets

Sarah Stier / Getty Images Sport / Getty

NEW YORK (AP) — OG Anunoby scored 26 points, Jalen Brunson added 21 and the New York Knicks handed the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets their worst loss of the season, 122-84 on Thursday night.

Quentin Grimes had 19 points, Julius Randle 17 and Donte DiVincenzo 16 for the Knicks, who have won five straight and 11 of 13 since Anunoby was acquired from Toronto.

Anunoby shot 10 for 18 from the field and had six steals.

“He’s getting more and more comfortable,” Brunson said. “He played really well tonight. He was aggressive on both sides of the ball. That’s the OG we got, that’s the OG we saw playing against for a while.”

Nikola Jokic had 31 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, whose three-game winning streak ended. Denver went 3-2 on a five-game trip that began with a loss at Philadelphia.

“They were just more aggressive,” Jokic said. “One team basically on the floor today. We were not there today.”

The Nuggets’ previous biggest loss was a 119-93 defeat to visiting Oklahoma City on Dec. 29.

“I thought it was a very disappointing ending to the road trip,” Denver coach Mike Malone said. “You never want to get blown out, which is what happened tonight. And we live to fight another day.”

Malone was not thrilled with the way the NBA set up his team’s schedule for its return home. The Nuggets have Friday off and host the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday afternoon.

“All of our focus right now is getting home, getting some rest tomorrow, and thankful that the NBA gave us a matinee game on Saturday,” he quipped.

New York never trailed and shot 52.9% (45 of 85) from the field and 39.5% (15 of 38) from 3-point range.

Brunson, DiVincenzo and Randle set the tone by combining for 25 points to help New York to a 33-21 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Knicks had a double-digit advantage the rest of the way.

Some might call it a signature victory for surging New York, but Randle didn’t see it that way.

“I am not going to lie to you bro, it’s regular season. I could care less,” Randle said. “I like the fact that we won, first and foremost, you don’t want to be on that end. But we’re building the right habits. For me it only matters in April.”

The Nuggets went 5 of 26 (19.2%) from 3-point range, and Aaron Gordon (12 points) was their only player other than Jokic to score in double figures.


Nuggets: Host Philadelphia on Saturday night.

Knicks: Host Miami on Saturday.