Following a disappointing, but promisingly close, loss to the rival Chicago Bulls, the Knicks returned home to Madison Square Garden to face off with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 21 point deficit the Knicks allowed in the first quarter proved to be very costly.
The Knicks allowed Kevin Love to wreak havoc all over the court to the tune of 35 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Another major contributor for the T-Wolves was guard Kevin Martin who finished with 30 points including 5-5 from three point range. The Knicks were sloppy with the ball from the opening tip and finished with 16 turnovers, Carmelo Anthony led the team in that department with five, all of which seemed to lead to very easy baskets for the Timberwolves. You can’t dig a hole to a good team early and expect to make up the difference and win a game, this was very reminiscent of last year’s Knicks team in tough losses.
On the Knicks side of things Tim Hardaway Jr. electrified the crowd with his athleticism in transition with an alley-oop dunk and a terrific one-handed throw down. Aside from that, he shot very poorly from the field including just 1-10 on jump shots and 0-7 from three. He is a rookie so there are bound to be some bumps and bruises in the road this year. Also, Carmelo Anthony’s shooting woes continued with an 8-21 (38%) performance, which included 2-6 from three point range. That has to change if the Knicks have any shot at being a legitimate threat this season.
Along with the shooting woes the Knicks defense didn’t quite hold up it’s end of the bargain. They couldn’t contain shooters on the perimeter and couldn’t secure a ton of rebounds. Accompany that with a ton of turnovers and you spell disaster for a defense. The Knicks seemed to not be able to get back after turnovers which speaks to the athleticism of the Timberwolves.
However, it wasn’t all gloom and doom for the Knicks. Anthony contributed mightily on the boards as he came down with 17 rebounds including five on the offensive end. Andrea Bargnani shot 6-10 from the field including 2-4 from three point range, but did manage to commit three turnovers, which relegated him to the bench after on 18 minutes on the court. Metta World Peace and Iman Shumpert were able to contribute offensively with a combined 29 points, Peace had 17 and Shumpert had 12, but Shumpert spent most of the night in foul trouble after two early ones in the first quarter, much like the game in Chicago on Thursday.
Looking deeper into the numbers and partially on a side note only two Knicks finished positive in the +/-, Carmelo Anthony with a +8 and Metta World Peace with a +17. The worst were Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler who both had a -17 each. Aside from that and on a quirkier note, the Knicks are now 0-2 on this season in the bright orange uniforms, 0-3 if you count the game last Christmas against the Los Angeles Lakers. Maybe it’s time to send these alternates into an early retirement.
The Knicks look like a work in progress and as expected it looks like Mike Woodson will have to do some early tinkering with the lineups to see who meshes with whom. Maybe PF/C Andrea Bargnani would be better off backing up Tyson Chandler as a stretch center on offense, coming off the bench with J.R. Smith to keep the offense balanced. Anyway, the Knicks will look to bounce back Tuesday night against the Charlotte Bobcats at Madison Square Garden. A key matchup in that game will be Raymond Felton vs. Kemba Walker who always seems to give the Knicks fits.
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