On Friday night — Friday Night Knicks! — at the Target Center in Minneapolis, the Knicks (32-16) defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves (18-29), by the score of 100-94. Box Score
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 36 points on 13-of-26 shooting to go with his nine rebounds, two assists and a block. Melo also scored several key buckets in the fourth quarter.
Amar’e Stoudemire played another nice game off the bench, though he played just a little over twenty minutes in the game, he finished with 11 points and five rebounds.
Ricky Rubio gave the Knicks’ defense fits all night, scoring 18 points, dishing out 11 assists and haunting my dreams. Rubio would have been fun to watch were he not playing for the opposing team.
Raymond Felton scored 11 points on 4-11 from the field but only had one assist with four rebounds and one steal.
The Knicks committed just eight turnovers in the game, though Minnesota committed only nine, as well.
The Knicks shot just a little over 30% from three-point range (8-of-26), but Minnesota was just 1-of-13.
Former second-round pick Derrick Williams went for 19 points and six rebounds in one of his better games this season.
I’m going to start with this because, yes, I think it’s the most important thing: The Knicks won that game. They did. No, seriously, I swear. I know you thought they’d lost it at about six or seven different instances, but in the end the scoreboard did show that New York had scored more points than Minnesota and it was verified by a panel of experts.
There were numerous occasions in which it looked certain that a repeat of Wednesday’s loss to Washington was about to go down, but then it just didn’t. The difference for the Knicks was Carmelo Anthony, as this was one of those fun games in which New York won because they had Melo and the other team didn’t. These are the types of games in which you acquire a player like that for, to ensure victories over bad teams when everything else is seemingly going wrong, and of course for all those other reasons in which it’s cool to have a really good player, but still.
There were a good amount of things you might not have enjoyed as you watched the snow pile up outside your window and the Knicks slowly build a deficit. For starters, it wasn’t Ray Felton’s finest hour, as he generally watched Ricky Rubio pick him apart in a way that John Wall had only a few nights earlier. It was one of those games that make you nervous, where your love of the guy gnaws at that part of your brain that worries about an outing like this coming at the absolute worst time.
The same can be said for Iman Shumpert who suffered through perhaps his worst game since his return. Now, it was only a few weeks ago when we were fretting over a similarly stiff looking Amar’e Stoudemire, whose return from a knee injury everyone gave about two quarters before gnashing their teeth into a fine powder. So now is not the time to bail on Shump as he tries to work his way back into shape after a far more serious knee injury. That being said, the tricky part is going to be managing his game as he tries to get up to speed, without hurting the team in the short term. Theoretically, his defense won’t hurt you, but at the moment almost everything else will.
While we’re on the subject of guards, it wasn’t exactly Pablo Prigioni’s finest hour, as his play was mostly forgettable save for those few moments you wished you didn’t remember.
But that’s all the bad, right? The bottom line is the Knicks didn’t need to impress me this Friday night, they just needed a win, and they got it, mostly thanks to another superlative effort from Carmelo, the team’s best player and offensive savant, which combined with a strong fourth quarter from J.R. Smith was just enough to grab a win. Along with that, the team didn’t play great defense by any stretch — am I being kind? — but when they needed stops they got them, a thing you’ll sometimes see good teams do. You’re not going to put that game in a time capsule, or find a spot for it in the weird scrap book you’ve been keeping this season, but you are going to put it in the win column, and that’s really all that matters.