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WAMC Sports Report 1/26/24: Anunoby, Brunson lead surging Knicks to 122-84 rout of Nuggets

New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby, right, drives to the basket against Denver Nuggets guard Reggie Jackson (7) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/AP
New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby, right, drives to the basket against Denver Nuggets guard Reggie Jackson (7) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)


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. 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. 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.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 27 points, Anthony Edwards added 24 and the Minnesota Timberwolves held on for a 96-94 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Minnesota led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter and was still ahead still ahead by 10, midway through the fourth quarter. Cam Thomas’ free throws with 1:11 left tied the game 94-94. Rudy Gobert put down an alley-oop from Towns with 58 seconds remaining to put the Timberwolves back in front. Gobert finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Thomas led the Nets with 25 points and Bridges had 21.

Jayson Tatum scored 26 points, Kristaps Porzingis had 19 before spraining his left ankle and the Boston Celtics made 22 3-pointers on the way to routing the reeling Miami Heat 143-110 on Thursday night. Jaylen Brown scored 18 points, Jrue Holiday had 17 and Derrick White 15 for the NBA-leading Celtics. They improved to 35-10 and are 2-0 this season against the team that beat them in last season’s Eastern Conference finals. The 143 points were the most Boston ever scored against Miami, and the 33-point margin represented Boston’s most-lopsided win over Miami in 172 meetings between the franchises, including playoffs. Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro each scored 19 points for Miami. The Heat have lost five straight.

Lauri Markkanen scored 29 points and the Utah Jazz beat Washington 123-108 on Thursday night, spoiling Brian Keefe’s debut as interim coach after Wes Unseld Jr. was moved to the Wizards’ front office. The Wizards announced earlier in the day that Unseld was out as coach midway through his third season with the team. Washington dropped to 7-37. It has lost six in a row and 12 of 13. John Collins added 22 points and 16 rebounds to help Utah snap a three-game losing streak. Kelly Olynyk and Jordan Clarkson each had 19 points and Collin Sexton added 11. Kyle Kuzma led Washington with 26 points.

Indiana newcomer Pascal Siakam had 26 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his first triple-double since November 2022, leading the Pacers to a 134-122 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night. Joel Embiid had 31 points and seven rebounds just three days after breaking the 76ers’ franchise record with 70 points. Philadelphia had won six in a row. Embiid, the NBA’s reigning MVP, was one of the starters announced Thursday for All-Star Game on Feb. 18 Indianapolis for the first time since 1985. The Pacers snapped a three-game losing streak and gave Siakam his first win since joining the team last week in trade with Toronto.

Domantas Sabonis made a go-ahead dunk with 22 seconds left, Harrison Barnes had 39 points with back-to-back baskets in crunch time, and the Sacramento Kings held off Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors 134-133. De'Aaron Fox added 29 points and five assists for Sacramento, which beat Atlanta 122-107 at home on Monday night to end a four-game losing streak. Curry scored 33 points with six 3-pointers on a night the teams combined to hit 41 from long range. Jonathan Kuminga scored a career-high 31 points.

LeBron James had 25 points and 12 assists a few hours after being named to his record 20th NBA All-Star team and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Chicago Bulls 141-132 on Thursday night. D’Angelo Russell hit eight 3-pointers and scored 29 points, Anthony Davis had 22 points and Austin Reaves added 20 points and eight assists. The Lakers hit 60.9% of their shots in their fourth win in six games.The Lakers’ 141 points were a season high, as were the Bulls’ 132. DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points for the Bulls, who have lost the first two on their three-game West Coast trip.

LeBron James joined yet another exclusive club, and he’ll have plenty of familiar faces alongside him at the NBA All-Star Game. James is an All-Star — and an All-Star starter — for the 20th time, with the league unveiling the results of this season’s starter balloting on Thursday night. James is the first 20-time All-Star in NBA history. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whose career scoring record was broken by James last season, was a 19-time selection. This year’s game is Feb. 18 in Indianapolis. The other starters are Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the Western Conference and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid, Tyrese Haliburton and Damian Lillard in the East.


Sean Monahan scored his second goal of the game with 2:12 remaining, lifting the Canadiens to a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders and spoiling Patrick Roy’s return to Montreal. Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield each had a goal and an assist for Montreal, which snapped a three-game skid. Sam Montembeault stopped 43 shots. Mathew Barzal and Bo Horvat each had a goal and assist and Kyle Palmieri also scored as the Islanders fell to 1-2-0 under Roy. The Hall of Fame goaltender helped lead the Canadiens to Stanley Cup victories in 1986 and 1993. He was hired as the Islanders’ coach last Saturday.

Brad Marchand scored at 1:48 of overtime and the Boston Bruins beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2. David Pastrnak and Trent Frederic also scored for the Atlantic Division- and Eastern Conference-leading Bruins. Jeremy Swayman stopped 35 shots. Thomas Chabot and Vladimir Tarasenko scored for the Senators. Joonas Korpisalo made 20 saves.

Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and an assist, leading the Carolina Hurricanes past the New Jersey Devils 3-2. New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff was struck in the face by a puck during the second period. He stayed behind the bench initially, but didn’t come out for the third. Associate coach Travis Green ran the team the rest of the way. Jordan Staal also scored for the surging Hurricanes, who have won three of four. Antti Raanta made 23 saves. Justin Dowling and Jesper Bratt scored New Jersey’s goals in the third period. Dowling was making his Devils debut in his first NHL game this season. Devils goalie Nico Daws was pulled after Carolina’s third goal early in the second period.

Nikita Kucherov had a goal and two assists to take the NHL lead in points and Steven Stamkos recorded his 1,100th career point as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-3. Brayden Point had a goal and an assist, Mitchell Chaffee scored his first career NHL goal and Darren Raddysh and Luke Glendening added scores for Tampa Bay, which won its fifth straight home game. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 17 shots. Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist and defenseman Sean Durzi scored his eight goal of the season for Arizona. Connor Ingram allowed six goals on 37 shots.

Roope Hintz scored twice as the Dallas Stars downed the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 on Tuesday night. Jamie Benn, Mason Marchment and Esa Lindell also scored for Dallas, which has won seven games in a row over Detroit (4-0-3). Wyatt Johnston had three assists. David Perron, Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Larkin and J.T. Compher had goals for Detroit. Jake Oettinger made 30 saves in the Stars net. Red Wings goaltenders Alex Lyon and James Reimer combined to stop 33 shots.

Thomas Harley scored 38 seconds into overtime and the Dallas Stars beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Miro Heiskanen tied it midway through the third period in his return to the Dallas lineup after missing 10 games with a lower-body injury. The Stars have won their last 11 home games against the Ducks since October 2015. Ducks goalie John Gibson stopped 40 shots in regulation, but the only Stars shot in overtime was Harley’s wrister from about 30 feet. It was the 22-year-old defenseman’s 10th goal this season, and his second OT winner. Jake Oettinger made 21 saves in the Dallas net, needing only one in overtime.

Alexandre Carrier and Filip Forsberg scored 35 seconds apart to open a three-goal third period, Juuse Saros made 22 saves and the Nashville Predators came back to beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2. Roman Josi added his 10th goal of the season and had an assist, while Ryan O’Reilly had two assists for Nashville. Joel Eriksson Ek scored his team-leading 21st goal of the season for Minnesota and Matt Boldy got his 16th. Filip Gustavsson stopped 25 shots for the Wild, which had its three-game winning streak stopped. Minnesota had been 14-0-1 when leading after two periods.

Connor McDavid had two goals and an assist, backup Calvin Pickard made 27 saves for his fifth career shutout and the Edmonton Oilers won their 15th straight game with a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Zach Hyman also scored and Leon Draisaitl had three assists for the Oilers, who are just the fifth team in NHL history to win 15 or more consecutive games. The Oilers are 23-3-0 in their last 26 games and have gone a franchise-record 13 consecutive games allowing two or fewer goals. Petr Mrazek stopped 31 shots for the Blackhawks, who have lost 19 consecutive road games. Chicago has dropped its last three overall.

Alexandre Texier scored Columbus’ first short-handed goal this season and the Blue Jackets beat the skidding Calgary Flames 5-2. Yegor Chinakhov, Damon Severson, Dmitri Voronkov and Adam Fantilli also scored for Columbus. The Blue Jackets improved to 4-2-2 in their last eight road games. MacKenzie Weegar and Connor Zary each had a goal for the Flames, who have lost four straight — all at home. Daniil Tarasov made 28 saves for the win. Jacob Markstrom stopped 27 shots for Calgary. Columbus was the only NHL team without a short-handed goal this season.


The Atlanta Falcons have hired Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as their new head coach after an exhaustive search that included six-time Super Bowl winner Bill Belichick. Morris is a familiar name in Atlanta, having served as the Falcons’ interim head coach for the final 11 games of the 2020 season after the firing of Dan Quinn. He previously coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for three seasons. The Falcons interviewed 14 candidates to replace Arthur Smith, who was fired after three straight 7-10 seasons. They settled on Morris, who has a record of 21-38 as a head coach.

Lamar Jackson is one star AFC quarterback whom Patrick Mahomes has never run into in the postseason. Jackson could match Mahomes this season with his second MVP award. But he's only now making his first appearance in the AFC championship game. Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are in it for the sixth straight year. They'll take on Jackson's Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. The Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl champions. The Ravens have the NFL’s best record this season. It’s a fascinating matchup made even more so by the presence of Mahomes and Jackson.

The San Francisco 49ers have been waiting a year to get back to the NFC championship game after last season’s disappointing loss. The wait for the Detroit Lions and their fans has been far longer. The success-starved franchise is one step away from their first Super Bowl appearance. Either the Niners will avenge title game losses the past two seasons or the Lions will win in their first appearance on this stage in 32 years when the teams meet in the NFC championship game Sunday.

Lamar Jackson, Christian McCaffrey and Dak Prescott are finalists for The Associated Press 2023 NFL Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year awards. The winners will be announced at NFL Honors on Feb. 8. A nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league completed voting before the playoffs began. The Cleveland Browns have finalists in four categories: Myles Garrett for Defensive Player of the Year; Kevin Stefanski for Coach of the Year; Joe Flacco for Comeback Player of the Year and Jim Schwartz for Assistant Coach of the Year.

The Carolina Panthers have agreed to terms with Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales to become their new head coach Thursday in hopes that he can end a six-year playoff drought. The Panthers are 31-68 since 2018, tied with the New York Jets for the worst record in the league during that span. Canales becomes the seventh head coach to lead the Panthers since owner David Tepper took over in 2018. He inherits a team that went 2-15 last season and does not have a first-round draft pick in 2024. The 42-year-old Canales has spent only one season as an NFL coordinator.


Jannik Sinner has upset Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open to end the 10-time champion’s long unbeaten record in semifinals at Melbourne Park. Sinner broke Djokovic’s serve twice in each of the first two sets and missed a match point in the third before securing a 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3 victory that earned him a place in a Grand Slam final for the first time. Djokovic’s bid for a record-extending 25th major title will have to wait. He hadn’t lost a match at Melbourne Park since 2018 and was on a 33-match winning streak at the season’s first major. Sinner was playing just his second semifinal at a Grand Slam. He lost his first in straight sets to Djokovic last year at Wimbledon.


Maine 81 UAlbany 73

OT: UVM 72 UMass Lowell 65

Jordan Pope hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Oregon State an 83-80 victory over No. 9 Arizona on Thursday night, with the Beavers’ fans storming the court to celebrate the upset. Pope scored a career-high 31 points and made four second-half 3-pointers, the last a 22-footer from the left wing over KJ Lewis as time time expired. Pelle Larson made two free throws for Arizona (14-5, 5-3 Pac-12) to tie it at 80 with 11.2 seconds left. Oregon State (10-9, 2-6) elected not to call a timeout, trusting Pope to deliver on the final shot. The Beavers snapped a five-game losing streak, and a seven-game skid against Arizona. Tyler Bilodeau added 22 points for Oregon State. Caleb Love led Arizona with 23 points.

Bree Hall made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:14 remaining, and No. 1 South Carolina rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat ninth-ranked and defending national champion LSU 76-70. Chloe Kitts scored 14 points to lead the Gamecocks, who beat the Tigers for the 15th straight time and snapped LSU’s 29-game home winning streak. Hall finished with 10 points, eight in the final seven minutes. Aneesah Morrow had 16 points and 13 rebounds for LSU. Angel Reese had 15 points and eight rebounds but fouled out with 4:02 left and the Tigers clinging to a 67-65 lead. LSU made only one basket the rest of the way.


UAlbany 54 Maine 47

Syracuse 79 Notre Dame 65

Canisius 53 Iona 43

UVM 62 UMass Lowell 53


A former WWE employee has filed a federal lawsuit accusing executive Vince McMahon and another former executive of serious sexual misconduct. Janel Grant worked in the company’s legal and talent departments. Her lawsuit filed Thursday also includes allegations that McMahon forced her into a sexual relationship in order for her to get and keep a job and passed around pornographic pictures and videos of her to other WWE employees. McMahon stepped down as WWE’s CEO in 2022 amid an investigation into allegations that match those in the lawsuit. He did not immediately comment. WWE’s parent company says it is taking the allegations seriously.


College football has always been a what-have-you-done-lately business, but these days — fueled by nonstop hot-seat coverage and constant social-media scrutiny —- a coach’s stock rises and falls like a roller coaster. When Jim Harbaugh took a pay cut from Michigan after the 2020 season, getting another chance to be an NFL head coach seemed like a long shot for him. Now, coming off a national championship, he has landed one of the best NFL jobs available. It is doubtful Kalen DeBoer would have even been considered as a replacement for Nick Saban a year ago. Now he's the Alabama coach.

The New York Racing Authority says tickets for the relocated Belmont Stakes Festival go on sale at 10 a.m. om February 15. The Festival begins June 6th and continues through June 9th. The Stakes themselves will be run June 8. NYRA says the relocation allows the construction of a new Belmont Park to continue unimpeded.

© 2024 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.