NEW YORK CITY — Karl Anthony Towns “won” his rookie battle against Kristaps Porzingis, but the Knicks, powered by a near triple double from Carmelo Anthony and 29 points from Arron Affalo, held on for a 107-102 victory last night at Madison Square Garden.
Despite the Knicks blowing a 20 point halftime lead and letting the Wolves get within three points in the last minute, you never got the feeling New York would blow the lead. Melo, Galloway and Affalo all hit clutch free throws to ice the game. Moving forward, the first half should be the template for how the Knicks play going forward.
MELO’S BRILLIANCE: This was by far Melo’s best game of the year. When Affalo having the hot hand, Melo focused on defense, rebounding and being a facilitator. His stat line of 20 points (6/15), 15 rebounds and 9 assists shows how much of a two-way threat he can be when his teammates are hitting shots.
AFFALO LESSENS THE LOAD: Affalo was aggressive all night with his outside jumper and slashing to the basket (8/9 from the line). Every game, he contract looks to be an absolute steal.
BENCH PLAY: The Knicks got key contributions from Lance Thomas (14 points, 7 rebounds) and Langston Galloway (12 points, 6 assists). It was great to see Galloway finding confidence in his shot and being locked in on defense. In the crucial final minutes of the fourth, he had a key offensive rebound and a nice chase-down block on Zach LaVine.
PORZINGIS VS. TOWNS: KP was overly excited with this matchup and didn’t shot well (4/14), but his defense was fantastic. The Latvian prince has 7 blocks on the night to go along with 11 points. Towns was a beast all the court wit three-point plays in the post and hitting outside jumpers. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
The Knicks are back in action this Friday against the Sixers.