Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
When Karl Anthony Towns hit his first nine shots and scored 22 points in the first quarter, the Knicks knew they were in for a long night. But a timely Carmelo Anthony mid-range jumper with 2.3 seconds left was enough for the Knicks to hold off a 21-3 run from the Timberwolves to take a 106-104 win and get back to .500.
THE GOOD: The Knicks had stretches of excellent ball movement. They started off with every Knick getting an assist in the opening minutes and hitting their outside shots. Brandon Jennings (12 points, 7 assists, 2 steals) was our biggest spark in getting open looks for Porzingis (29 points, 8 rebounds) and Kuzmiskas (14 points, career-high). The team had 24 assists and looked primed for an easy win with a 17 point lead and 7 minutes remaining.
THE BAD: The Knicks also showed their bipolar tendencies by literally collapsing in the last six minutes and allowing the Wolves to go on a game-tying 21-3 run. The Knicks let Karl Anthony Towns live at the line while stopping the clock, didn’t secure loose balls, and gave up open shots. Worse yet, the Knicks stopped attacking and everyone looked scared to shoot, resulting in poor possessions and spacing.
THE UGLY: How bad was the free throw disparity? The Wolves had 39 attempts compared to New York’s 15. Towns had 20 attempts by himself. Speaking of Towns, the man hit a career-high with 47 points, and added 18 rebounds and 3 blocks. Luckily for the Knicks, they outscored the weak Wolves’s weak bench 43-5 to get some breathing after being down 31-28 after the first quarter.
REDEMPTION: Melo only took his first shot with 2 minutes remaining in the first quarter. He was clearly trying to be a faccillitator, and perhaps that was spurred by the boos he heard in Monday’s loss to the Thunder. In the second half, his shot wasn’t there and he ended up shooting a poor 5/16 from the field and was a -17. Nonetheless, Melo reminded us of his clutch gene on that game-winner over Andrew Wiggins.
Let’s be happy we only have to see Towns one more time on Friday.