Post Game: Knicks 94, Timberwolves 91

On Sunday night at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks (20-7) defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves (13-12) by the score of 94-91. Box Score

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Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 33 points on 10-25 shooting from the field. He added 7 rebounds and scored 19 of the Knicks final 23 points of the game.

J.R. Smith scored 19 points on the bench on 7-15 shooting with a team high seven assists, five rebounds and three steals.

Nikola Pekovic led the Wolves in scoring with 21 points on 7-16 shooting from the field with a game high 17 rebounds. Alexi Shved added 18 points with five rebounds, four assists, but also five turnovers.

Tyson Chandler had 16 points, added a team high nine rebounds and was second on the team with three assists. Raymond Felton had 15 points on 7-15 shooting from the field, but only had two assists.

Jason Kidd and Ronnie Brewer, 40% of the starting lineup only took a combined three shots and scored no points.

The Knicks only shot 26% from three, making only 6 of 26 attempts.

The Knicks allowed 55 points in the first half but only gave up 36 points in the second half, outscoring the T-Wolves 48-36.

Knicks finish the six game home stand 4-2, and are now 12-2 at home this season.

This was the 6th time this season the Knicks have come back from a double digit deficit.

Matthew Falkenbury

With the Jets playing out the string under the big top, and the Giants laying another egg, the Knicks almost made it a triple play of poor games in New York today. But thanks to Carmelo Anthony, and a suffocating defense in the second half, the Knicks pulled out a victory from the jaws of defeat. With the crowd going on a roller coaster ride, as Clyde put it, the Knicks had just enough in the end to get away with a victory. To put it in simpler terms, the Knicks had Carmelo Anthony and the Timberwolves did not. A frustrating game for the most part, but a win is a win none the less. As Wally Szczerbiak put it, you should never complain about a win.

Carmelo Anthony saved the day for the Knicks. The MVP chants raining down from the Garden for Melo were well deserved after watching his performance in the fourth quarter tonight. The Knicks struggled for pretty much the whole game and looked like they were on the verge of heading west with a bad taste in their mouths. But, Carmelo Anthony was not going to allow that to happen. The T-Wolves missed a chance, I think, to put the game away after Coach Woodson was called for a technical foul and they had the ball, up 86-82 after the free throw on the tech was made. A basket on that possession would have been huge, but it did not happen and the Knicks got the momentum back. Melo hits a three, off a great pass from J.R. Smith, to make it 86-85, then after a stop on defense, drives on Andrei Kirilenko and gets the And-1 to give the Knicks a lead they would not give up. Melo, who has his struggles from the line from time to time, also knocked down six straight free throws to help put the game away.

J.R. Smith has been playing very well this home stand and tonight he was making plays all over the court to help give the Knicks energy off the bench. He filled up the stat sheet, including a team high seven assists, and the one pass he made on the Melo three, referenced above, was a textbook definition of “Good J.R.” Now, what would a J.R. performance be without at least some “Bad J.R.” moments. The technical foul and the turnover that led to a Alexi Shved three was four points the Knicks didn’t need to give up. But he has been a great player off the bench and a favorite to be the 6th man of the year. I know with the struggles of Ronnie Brewer in the starting lineup, some people want J.R. to start. I don’t agree, because his energy off the bench is huge and in games like tonight, it was needed.

It is really something when 40% of your starting lineup doesn’t score one point and you still win the game. This is far from a criticism of Kidd and Brewer, but when you think about it, it really is kind of amazing.

The Timberwolves, if they are run properly, and gosh knows some of the moves made by G.M. David Kahn have been simply mind boggling, can be a force in the Western Conference. They played tonight without Kevin Love, and still looked pretty impressive for the most part. They have four players who can run the offense, led by Ricky Rubio, and they have a front line that can be the best in the NBA. The Timberwolves have found their way out of the woods after the Garnett deal and have a bright future. Now, for the Timberwolves fans, they just have to hope that Donnie Walsh’s former right hand man, doesn’t screw it up.

The Knicks finish the home stand 4-2 and though the record through a third of the season is great, on pace for 60 wins, things can certainly improve. The return of players like Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace and Amar’e Stoudemire is going to really help them against big teams like Minnesota or Chicago as the season goes on. Then you factor in that Shumpert’s return is on the horizon, the problems with quick guards could also be a thing of the past. The Knicks are the best team in the East. a title contender and teams, as good as the Knicks have been this year, can play poorly and still escape with a win. That’s what the Knicks did tonight, played poorly and still found a way to win.

Coming up next, the Knicks head on the road for a three game west coast trip,  starting on Christmas Day against, former coach Mike D’Antoni, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and the Los Angeles Lakers. The game will begin at 3:00 pm on Tuesday and will be shown on ABC.

Merry Christmas!