Knicks 118, Wolves 106: Hey Look, A Win!

New York Knicks 118 FinalRecap | Box Score 106 Minnesota Timberwolves
Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 31 MIN | 8-18 FG | 2-3 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | +17Can someone from the Knicks’ brass please be sure to send a gift basket to kindly ol’ Doc Emmett Brown early tomorrow morning? Forget microfracture surgery, platelet-rich therapy in shockingly clean German uber-clinics, or any other newfangled remedies that have failed to adequately attend to STAT’s lingering ailments–stick to the flux capacitor. Amar’e drifted through the time-space continuum to not only produce one of his better outings of the season, but also somewhat remarkably emulate his former self, seamlessly blending a mélange of plucky pick-and-pops, spectacular swats, irrelevant goaltends, and characteristically entertaining defensive lapses. For once, Amar’e can go to bed at night without having the prophetic words mouthed by Christopher Lloyd repeated over and over again like a particularly bleak mantra: “There’s that word again. ‘Heavy.’ Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth’s gravitational pull?”

Carmelo Anthony, SF 43 MIN | 14-27 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 33 PTS | +14Carmelo Anthony continued to be Carmelo Anthony, cranking out yet another verse in his free-form epic prose poem of excellence. Melo hastily dispatched anything and everything that the Minny threw at him, blowing by the Wolves’ wings with regularity. It was as if Rick Adelman intended to poke the proverbial bear by keeping poor Corey Brewer on the Knicks’ All-Star forward, defiantly hoping that his speed and athleticism could at least contain a portion of Anthony’s multi-faceted offensive arsenal. It was not to be, as Melo registered his nineteenth 30 point game of the season. Fun fact: it was also the 27th time he’s connected on at least three treys. Yes, yes, we’ll still worry about his impending/possible escape from New York (See what I did there?), but on nights like tonight, it’s enough to make one forget all that, and just enjoy watching him roll.

Tyson Chandler, C 35 MIN | 6-8 FG | 3-3 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +2Despite putting forth a tangible defensive presence for what seems like the first time in ages, the siren song of the obligatory technical foul proved to be too enchanting for the Knicks’ everlastingly frustrated middleman. He even threw a jab in Kevin Love’s direction in a halftime interview with the MSG crew, asserting, “He can’t play D.” Chandler was clearly in a feisty mood, and got T’d up for ill-advised flying elbow on a moving screen that would’ve done Macho Man Randy Savage proud. Of course, we (and presumably, he) will take the fine as the cost of doing business if it means a return to the 2011-ish form for Tyson. I mean, Kevin Love failed to convert a field goal in the entirety of the third quarter, so that’s something, right?

Raymond Felton, PG 31 MIN | 5-8 FG | 6-8 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +21Bizarrely, the “only a matter of time before they blow this lead. I can’t believe this is happening again. Dear God, no. Please, Oh Lord, not again” collapse by the ‘Bockers coincided with Felton’s foul trouble and subsequent exit early in the 3rd. Raymondo-Felton led the team with a startling +21 in thirty-one minutes of floor time, and was able to stop Ricky Rubio from netting a new career-high in scoring or puppy-dog looks or doe eyes or any thing. That’s an achievement in and of itself, really. The tell-tale sign for this game came down the stretch in the final quarter, where Felton found himself pirouetting out of traffic and straight into his flailing floater motion. This time, he splashed the improbable-looking fling through the net, helping to steady the ship that so often encounters bumpy waters. Nice game, Ray.

J.R. Smith, SG 27 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +2Earl had a nicely efficient, reasonably subdued outing, dialing up a few from downtown, dishing when called upon, and like his stout, callipygous backcourt mate, banged home an unlikely off-the-dribble heave above the outstretched arms of Chase Budinger that doused any misguided Minnesotan’s hopes for victory. When those shots are falling, well… Yes, they’re falling.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 16 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -11It’s not a tremendous reflection of Pablo’s evening that the Wolves’ whittled the lead down to two when he entered the fray, or that Ricky Rubio – yes, that Ricky Rubio – just straight strolled down the lane past Pablo, wrapping many “dinkers and dumpers” around, through, and above the aforementioned Knick backup point for Pekovic. It’s not every day that you get to see Rubio finishing at the rim, with heavy contact no less, so I guess we have Señor Prigioni to thank for that.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 27 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +3THJ’s impact, at least on the offensive end was minimal, but a pair of timely perimeter heaves swings the pendulum in the opposing direction, in this instance, the corner trey that he splashed when the Knicks were pulling away in the 4th. He did find himself on an island (on the low block) guarding Kevin Love for about seven consecutive seconds in the first half, which was more than alarming. Fittingly, Minnesota couldn’t capitalize on said mismatch, though.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Prior to this game, the Wolves had registered an 8-1 record on their home floor against teams from the lowly Eastern conference, with their sole loss coming against Miami on December 7. Given that the Knicks entered with a road record of 9-20 and a mark of 6-25 against above-.500 outfits, this was no throwaway win. Wait, scratch that – the Knicks are still 22-40.
  2. Look for Mike Woodson to use this game (and this game only) as ample justification for big lineups from here on out. Neither of the Knicks 10-day contract fliers saw the floor (see: Clark, Earl, and Brown, Shannon) while Woodson stuck to a strict eight-man rotation, until the foulest-smelling odors of garbage time had reached his nostrils. Pablo Prigioni (sixteen minutes) was the low-man for minutes in the regular rotation crew, with Woody grimly riding the starters for all of their worth in classic, stubborn, woodpecker-ish fashion.
  3. This loss delivered a crippling, potentially fatal blow to the Timberwolves’ playoff aspirations. Minny had only just crept above .500 and arrived at the Target Center having won six of their previous seven contests. If not for the serious poop that they left on the floor in the first half (conceding 66pts to the team ranked 29th in the league for pace of play), their postseason outlook and streak of successes may not have been so jarringly and surprisingly derailed.
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5 thoughts to “Knicks 118, Wolves 106: Hey Look, A Win!”

  1. No mention of Imam Shumpert’s 21 minutes? He scored 2 points (1/4 with 0/2 from distance), grabbed one rebound and had two steals. He was +9.

    Iman’s defense was paired with Stat and Hardaway and that worked last night.

    Shumpert attempted a viscous dunk late and missed badly. He might have gotten the call on Love with the body, but it was clean up top. Shumpert is the only player who I have ever thought needs remedial fast break and dunk training. Put him on the And1 tour this summer and make him practice 200 finishes a day. Right now, it is a glaring weakness.

  2. I don’t have a problem with this starting lineup because it’s what I’ve wanted to see all year. I never thought that Bargnani, KMart or Prigioni should be starting. I do admit that I would have started Shump over JR to add some perimeter defense to the starting 5 but the others were best used off the bench.

  3. Nice cap!

    I think you may have missed an opportunity to use the Travolta Name Generator on the Knicks in honor of breaking the losing streak. In case you were wondering….

    Michael Dean Woodson – Marcel Doon
    Carmelo Kyam Anthony = Catherine Kzing
    Amar’e Stoudemire = Aimee Stewaeert
    Tyson Chandler = Tristan Crarter
    Pablo Prigioni = Preston Parkinsmack
    Raymond Felton = Roman Farster
    Iman Shumpert = Irvine Smurphy
    JR Smith = Jay Smoith
    Cole Aldrich = Crawford Allorn
    Jeremy Tyler = Jennifer Tayzlor

  4. God, I sort of hated myself for enjoying that. A few stray thoughts:

    This game reminded me a lot of last year – the offense was ticking for the most part and the defense rode it’s luck just enough. It wasn’t good, but Minny missed a ton of makeable 3s, especially Mr. Love, and that was enough. Seems like that happened all the time last year, and this year those 3s have been going in more often than not.

    Hard to believe the Wolves didn’t give Love the extra year to leave the supermax for Rubio. What an epic, Knicks-level fuck up that’s proving to be. Love wasn’t great last night, but Rubio just isn’t good, period. Not even an average starter.

    You just knew that this season was going to linger like a stale fart until the last possible moment. The Knicks couldn’t even show us the respect of bowing out of the playoff “race” gracefully. With the Jazz, Cavs, Sixers, Bucks and Celtics coming up we’re about 2 weeks away from the posts about how everyone counted this team out too soon and the Pacers are looking pretty beatable all of the sudden. I’m already dreading it.

  5. Kevin Martin has scored more than 20 in each of the past two games, so it helped that he was cold until late.
    If he is hitting his shots, I his game ends badly, particularly because the Knicks tend to wilt in crunch moments when the opponent hits bigs shots.
    Neither Love nor Martin were effective. I’d love to credit the Knicks D, but that’s a fools errand.

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