Written by William Lee
The Timberwolves jumped out to a 40-19 lead in the first quarter, and never looked back, winning tonight’s game 109-100. The scoring prowess of the two Kevins from the Minnesota Timberwolves proved to be too much for the Knicks to handle. All Star Kevin Love finished with 34 points 15 rebounds and 5 assist. And Kevin Martin was extremely efficient, going 9-12 from the field, including a perfect 5-5 from beyond the arc, finishing the game with 30 points. (He had the best +/- of any player, +26) Both Kevins were in double digit scoring by the end of the first quarter, combining for 24 points. The Timberwolves were looking to push the pace all night, running off of makes and misses from the Knicks. The Knicks didn’t help themselves, committing six turnovers; the Timberwolves took full advantage, converting on all of them, leading to 12 points off of the turnovers.
With 3:56 left in the first quarter, the Knicks were still in the game, the Timberwolves leading 19-15. The turn of the game came with Carmelo Anthony committing his second personal foul, while trying to deny Kevin Love post position. This was a start to a rough night for Carmelo Anthony, as he finished the game going 8-21 from the field, for 22 points. The Timberwolves shutdown the runner up scoring champion from the previous year, Kevin Durant, forcing him to go 4-11 from the field and committing four turnovers Friday night. And the Timberwolves replicated that same effort tonight on the scoring champion from last year, Carmelo Anthony. Without Anthony, the Knicks offense went stale, the Timberwolves went on an 18-4 run to end the first quarter. The home crowd at Madison Square Garden grew restless, booing the Knicks off the court when the Knicks deficit swelled to 20 points. During this run, it was very evident that the Knicks were missing their sixth man of the year winner JR Smith, who was serving his five games suspension for violating the terms of the NBA’s anti-drug policies. This is where JR Smith’s suspension really hurted the Knicks, as the Knicks had no resemblance of an primary scoring option with Anthony out of the game, and JR Smith could have provided that.
The Knicks cut down on turnovers, and got back on defense in the second quarter, holding the Timberwolves to only three fast break points, compared to 12 in the first. Andrea Bargnani and Metta World Peace both hit a couple of threes, scoring ten and 12 points respectively to help the Knicks close down the deficit to 15, with the Timberwolves leading 64-49. The Timberwolves went on a 12-4 run to start the second half. Helped by back to back Raymond Felton, and Carmelo Anthony turnovers leading to a dunk by Kevin Love, and a three by Kevin Martin, the lead ballooned back up to 20 for the Timberwolves. Carmelo Anthony made a bad pass, committing his forth turnover of the game, with the Timberwolves already leading 76-53 at this point, matching the largest lead of the game. The fed up Madison Square Garden crowd casted down another rain of boos for its hometown team.
The closest the Knicks got was within five points, when they went on an 11-2 run in the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Knicks had a few mini runs in the second half, but it seems every time the Knicks were within striking distance, Tim Hardaway Jr. would take an ill-advised three, to try to close the gap quicker. With the most crucial of the mistakes coming 1:03 left in the game, Hardaway Jr. was blocked, when attempting one of these ill-advised threes, trying to cut into the 108-100 Minnesota lead. Although he was not the only one going for the home run play, as the previous possession Anthony did the exact same thing. The Knicks finished the game shooting an ice cold 28% from the three point line, going 9-32 on the night. The Knicks will look to redeem themselves with a home and home game this week with the lowly Charlotte Bobcats.