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Observations from the Knicks’ loss to the Timberwolves

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

Former Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni would have a field day coaching the Timberwolves. He’d love it. They’re young, they like to run and gun, and the personnel they have hitting the hardwood can spread the floor effectively. What’s more, they are speedy enough to outrun most opponents.

Similarly to most of D’Antoni’s teams, Minnesota doesn’t exactly boast many (if any) lockdown defenders. Fortunately for them, that didn’t matter much on Wednesday night.

USATSI_8214917_110579513_lowresThe Timberwolves’ offensive game plan worked to a tee against the Knicks, as the visiting team proved to be quite overwhelmed by Minnesota from start to finish. New York was unable to keep up, as the tempo that the Timberwolves dictated failed to be met. What’s more, coincidentally enough, their defensive effort wasn’t half bad either. They slowed the Knicks down and came up with a handful of key steals. New York may have shot well from the field (56%), but Minnesota limited the number of such opportunities, and subsequently created an eye-popping number of additional opportunities for themselves in the process. The opponent outshot the Knicks by a total of 89 to 69.

Here are some other key observations from the game:

  • Normally a steady performer, Pablo Prigioni failed to come up in the clutch to orchestrate his team’s offense. A cool, calm, and collected floor general, the veteran was unable to help the Knicks meet their opponent’s rapid fire pace.
  • The positive things Iman Shumpert has continued to do on the hardwood this season visibly aid the Knicks. That said, his worst outing of the season dragged the team down. The swingman missed his first five shots, and finished with 3 points on 1 of 11 from the field.
  • In a game that was lost rather early on, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire ended up getting some much need rest by sitting out the entire fourth quarter.
  • On the note of rest, one Knick (Quincy Acy was the exception, with 32 minutes) played more than 30 minutes.

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Knicks’ Execs Mills, Houston Watched Duke, Kentucky Prospects

Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter

It’s never too early to plan for the NBA Draft, especially when your record is 3-10.

So Knicks’ execs Steve Mills and Allan Houston did their due diligence Tuesday night when they went to Indianapolis for the Champions Classic featuring Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and Michigan State.

The event featured 11 of the 30 projected first-round picks in 2015 by Draft, including projected No. 1 pick Jahlil Okafor of Duke and No. 3 pick Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky.

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Recap: Timberwolves 115, Knicks 99

Result: The Knicks dropped the second night of a back-to-back to the rebuilding Timberwovles in Minnesota 115-99.

Need to Know: It was another difficult night for the Knicks, as Timberwolves Kevin Martin torched New York for 37 points in the rout.

The Timberwolves were without three starters in Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic and Thaddeus Young. It made little difference as Minnesota took a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter an extended it to 13 thanks to a 37-point second frame.

Carmelo Anthony had 20 points on 10 shots in 27 minutes.

The Knicks are now 3-10 on the season with their ninth loss in 10 games.

Links: Box score | Recap

Next up: The Knicks will get a reprieve of sorts on Saturday when it hosts the lowly 76ers, winless on the season, on Saturday at MSG at 7:30 p.m.

Tonight’s Game: Knicks at Timberwolves

The Knicks are in Minnesota to play the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. on MSG and ESPN New York.

Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin and Iman Shumpert are expected to start.


Recent Meetings

March 5, 2014

New York jumped out of the gates early grabbing a 38-24 lead after 12 minutes but this time was able to close the game out as they cruised to a 118-106 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center to snap its seven-game losing streak. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 33 points, five rebounds and five assists over 43 minutes. Raymond Felton put together one of his best games of the season with 18 points, eight assists and three rebounds over 31 minutes. This was the first time this season that all five New York starters finished the night in double-figure points. Minnesota was paced by Kevin Love’s19 points and eight rebounds over 36 minutes. Ricky Rubio posted 11 points, eight assists, and six rebounds over 32 minutes.

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Knicks down the stretch report card, presented by Long Island University

Closing things out in crunch time — Grade: C+

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

Having started the season 3-9 (and just recently putting an end to a seven game losing streak), the Knicks continue to struggle mightily on both ends of the floor. The defensive intensity is often lacking, depending on who is on the hardwood. On offense, New York has failed to execute the triangle offense efficiently, and as the team falters, players like J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Amar’e Stoudemire have been known to force things as many revert to an isolation offense.

The team’s glaring issue has been their inability to put together a steady attack over the course of an entire contest. But whereas in past years, the team has been known to start off strongly and then falter with the game on the line, that has not been the case this season. Instead, the second and third periods have proven to be the quarters of doom for the Knicks.

Long Island University SmallBut when searching for a silver lining one can look towards the fourth quarter of games for some promise from the Knicks. Despite struggling through the first twelve games, the team has gone 7-4-1 (the one tie actually came on opening night, during the Bulls’ 104-80 blowout of New York) in fourth quarters this season.

Perhaps such an effort says more about first-year head coach Derek Fisher than anyone else. After watching his teams slip and fall early on in games, he knows how to set the players straight and light the fire under their butts. What’s more, the five-time NBA champion knows how to perform in crunch time. Not one to crack under pressure, Coach Fisher has done a phenomenal job this season in fourth quarters. He doesn’t make many knee-jerk reactions and often saves his time-outs for more opportune chances. He is already grasping which of his guys play well with the game on the line, and otherwise micro-manages when he needs to, while making timely substitutions.

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Observations from the Knicks loss to the Bucks

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

Normally, being evenly matched with the Milwaukee Bucks isn’t necessarily a good thing. But for the 3-9 Knicks, the 6-5 record Milwaukee now owns is something they crave. The Bucks are overachievers, while the Knicks have been underachieving.

New York is struggling. They’re failing to build up a consistent attack over the course of a full game. On Tuesday night against the Bucks, the second quarter proved to be the team’s demise, as the Knicks fell behind as much as 26 points. As desperate for a string of victories as they’ve ever been, the fire was lit under the team’s butt going into the second half. En route to completing one of the best comebacks in franchise history, the Knicks narrowed the gap down to just a one possession game, but in the end, fell short of hitting the mark.

Here are some other key observations from the game:

  • Over the course of the team’s recent seven game losing streak, they were certainly in line for a handful of moral victories, if nothing else. But on Tuesday, they were able to prove something. After a poor second quarter, the Knicks displayed plenty of fight. With the game on the line later on, the players proved to be cool, calm, and collected. They played intelligently. They didn’t crack under pressure. They played well in the fourth. It just wasn’t enough.
  • This stood tall as the bench’s best performance to date. Amar’e Stoudemire, Tim Hardaway Jr., Pablo Prigioni, and Travis Wear combined for 21 of 32 from the field (good for 65 percent), and scored 55 points between them.

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