The OG Anunoby-Precious Achiuwa combo is the Knicks' secret playoff weapon

Kristian Winfield, New York Daily News on

Published in Basketball

New York wins in overtime, 120-119.

Only moments earlier in the final seconds of regulation, the Knicks shutdown the Bulls’ first attempt at a game-winner courtesy of Mr. Clutch.

It’s the reason Vucevic set the screen in the first place: because Anunoby is an eraser on the defensive end. He neutralizes even the most crafty, capable scorers, even more so when the pressure is on with a game on the line.

Anunoby forced the ball out of DeRozan’s hands twice on the Bulls’ final offensive possession of regulation with the game tied at 109 with under a minute left in the fourth quarter.

Chicago’s offense stifled. Their head coach Billy Donovan called a timeout to draw up a play to get DeRozan the ball once again.

And once again, Anunoby neutralized one of the most clutch performers in basketball history.


“It makes our lives a lot easier. There’s less different actions, more one on one,” DiVincenzo said of Anunoby’s defense. “At the end of the day, we’re living with — one on one — OG versus anyone in the league.”

“He’s a hell of a defender,” Achiuwa said of Anunoby. “I think he plays the same way from tipoff to the end of regulation. His intensity on the defensive end is always the same, and he’s a killer on that side.”

DeRozan started his attack at half court and drove to the right elbow, matched stride-for-stride by the Knicks’ defensive stopper. He tried to post up, but Anunoby was all over that, too. And ultimately, DeRozan settled on a turnaround fading shot which Anunoby’s defensive pressure forced well left of its target.

No luck against Anunoby. No luck after the switch onto Achiuwa. No luck in a hard-fought season finale at The Garden for a No. 9 Bulls team close to stealing a season-ending victory heading for a Play-In bout with the No. 10 Atlanta Hawks.


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