Sam SpiegelmanThe New York Knicks snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 118-106 victory on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. At the midway point it looked as if the Knicks were simply going to cruise to their first victory in two weeks, but the second half proved otherwise.
The Knicks (22-40) led 66-55 at the half, but the Minnesota offense behind Ricky Rubio woke up in the third quarter. The point guard scored nine of the team’s 31 points in the frame to outscore New York by nine and cut the deficit to two entering the fourth.
Thanks to Amare’ Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, that rally was put to rest. The front-court tandem engineered the Knicks on a 15-2 run and put together a 30-point quarter to run away with the game and, of course, the win, which snapped a long losing streak and put the Knicks 5.5 games back of the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 8 seed in the East.
“We have to (keep winning),” said Anthony, who scored a game-high 33 points. “We have no choice but to do that.”
All five Knicks starters — including J.R. Smith, Raymond Felton, Tyson Chandler, Stoudemire and Anthony — scored in double figures.
Chandler had a double-double (15 points, 14 rebounds) and the ninth straight double-digit rebounding total. Stat continued his recent offense surge with 18 points, and Felton, who has averaged 6.0 points per game over the past five, broke out with an 18-point, eight-assist night.
“It seems like tonight we really stuck with our game plan and we utilized all of our weapons,” Chandler said.
The win marked the 300th in the coaching career of Mike Woodson and perhaps his decision to keep Felton in the lineup — despite all over the off-the-court drama regarding his weapon possession charges — finally paid off.
“I wasn’t going to take him out of the lineup, but I wanted to make sure that his head was in the right place for playing,” Woodson said. “We just have to continue to help him and get him through this process.”
“Even though I’m dealing with a lot of stuff off the court, I got a lot to play for right now,” Felton said. “I just tried to clear my head tonight, come out and play, and have fun. This is a place where I can come and just be free.”