Wolves vs. Knicks Gameday

Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

Final: 102-94 Knicks
The Wolves could not overcome a shorthanded roster tonight at the Target Center. After Minnesota grabbed the lead at halftime, New York outplayed the Wolves in the third and fourth quarters. Robinson poured in 16 points in the second half and Chandler finished with 24 points lifting the Knicks to their 28th win of the season. In the late stages of the game, Minnesota seemed to execute on the offense end of the floor but could not get a defensive stop, which led to its 46th loss of the year. Gomes turned in another solid performance with 28 points and Telfair finished with 22 points.

More postgame coming soon…

Third Quarter: 74-69 Knicks
Telfair got the Wolves off to a good start in the third period with a couple of fading jumpers. With 16 points in the game, Telfair helped Minnesota maintain the lead for the first five minutes of the quarter. Once again, Gomes is the best offensive option for Minnesota and has now reached 23 points. New York continues to push the pace and is crushing the Wolves on the fast break 22-4. Harrington scored six points in the period while taking advantage of Cardinal on the offensive side of the floor. The Knicks shooting percentage dipped to 39.7 percent with improved half court defense from Minnesota. Robinson leads the Knicks with 16 points and Lee has grabbed 10 boards.

Second Quarter: 48-46 Wolves
Head coach Kevin McHale is facing the difficult challenge of adjusting to the miss matches the Knicks present. In the second quarter, Bobby Brown entered the game and provided a nice change of pace for the Wolves. Gomes added 11 points in the period while knocking the Knicks lead down to three points at the seven minute mark. Minnesota continued to fight back and eventually grabbed the lead after a Robinson technical foul with 1:36 remaining in the quarter. Robinson was whistled with his third foul and has been held to nine points on 3-for-9 shooting. The Wolves took all the momentum to the locker room as Telfair drained a 3-pointer to give the team a two-point advantage.

First Quarter: 25-19 Knicks
The Knicks attacked from the opening tip to a tune of 14 fast break points. With a frantic style of play, New York tried to take advantage of every opportunity in the open floor. The Knicks pushed Minnesota back on its heels with a 13-5 run, just five minutes into the game. Hughes was aggressive early and finished the quarter with nine points on 4-for-8 shooting from the field. The Wolves struggled from the field by only hitting 31.8 percent of their perimeter shots. Telfair led Minnesota with five points and Miller grabbed four boards as the Wolves face a six-point deficit.

Pregame News and Notes: 6:55 PM
The Wolves will only suit up nine players tonight. Here is the breakdown of injuries:
Kevin Ollie - had to return home due to an illness in the family
Randy Foye - out with a sprained right ankle
Rodney Carney - out with a abdominal contusion
Jason Collins - out with flu-like symptoms

Wolves Shootaround Audio
Kevin McHale

Jonah Ballow with Sebastian Telfair

Jonah Ballow with Craig Smith

Knicks Shootaround Audio
Head coach Mike D'Antoni

John Focke with Nate Robinson

Scouting Report
Head coach Mike D'Antoni has the Knicks playing a fast pace brand of basketball and within a game and a half of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. After New York fans suffered through the coaching regimes of Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas, the Knicks seem to be on the right path to rebuilding the franchise. In the middle of a five-game road trip, New York won back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday. The 116-111 victory over Detroit two days ago was a crucial step towards the push to the postseason. As seen in Phoenix, D'Antoni's system allows for a free-flowing offense and the Knicks now average 106.3 points per game, the fourth highest in the league. Due to the fast pace style, New York launches quick shots, which results in a poor 44.6 field goal percentage.

Minnesota ended a 13-game losing streak against New York in the first meeting on December 26. Rashad McCants scored 23 points in a surprising performance to help the Wolves capture a road win at Madison Square Garden. The Wolves were fantastic from the field by hitting 51 percent of their shots and 54 percent from the 3-point line. While Minnesota allowed New York to score 107 points, the Knicks were held below 40 percent from the floor.

Nate Robinson is proving he is more than just a dunk contest sideshow. At the All-Star Weekend, Robinson vaulted over Dwight Howard both literally and figuratively for the 2009 Dunk Championship. After the All-Star festivities, Robinson has been lighting up the league with five games over 30 points. Most recently, the 5'9 guard recorded back-to-back big performances off the bench for the Knicks. Robinson uses his incredible vertical leap to create space for his jump shot. The Wolves backcourt should be aware of Robinson's ability to emotionally lift the Knicks second unit and change the momentum of the game with his intensity. Chris Duhon takes the floor as the starting point guard, averaging 7.6 assists this year. New York presents a challenge with the rotation of Duhon, Larry Hughes, and Robinson in the backcourt. Minnesota will hopefully welcome back Randy Foye to the lineup after he missed the Wednesday game with a right sprained ankle. Foye was extremely mobile at practice on Thursday and would instantly lift the Wolves offense tonight.

David Lee is quietly becoming one of the best big-men in the East. Questions surrounded Lee after he was drafted late in the first round out of Florida. Lee has improved his scoring average every year since the 2006 season and now posts a double-double on a nightly basis. Wolves fans at the Target Center should be excited to watch Lee battle Kevin Love in the paint tonight. Both players love to attack the glass and look for second chance opportunities around the rim. In contrast to Love, Lee uses his athletic ability to sky above the rim to grab boards. Love has an innate ability to rebound, which is evident by his 20 double-doubles this season. At the power forward spot, Al Harrington is a proven scorer in this league but is fairly inconsistent. The Knicks have not been able to use Harrington as the go-to-guy on the offensive end of the floor. The Minnesota frontcourt should focus on winning the battle of the boards and controlling second chance points.

The Knicks are just 9-22 on the road and allow the third most points in the NBA. With Foye possibly returning to the lineup, Minnesota will look to carry the momentum from the Memphis victory into tonight's matchup. New York has lost 12 of its last 15 against the Wolves. Tipoff set for 7 PM.





Projected Starters
New York Knicks
Chris Duhon
PPG: 11.8
RPG: 3.5
APG: 7.6
Larry Hughes
PPG: 16.2
RPG: 2.7
APG: 2.8
Wilson Chandler
PPG: 13.7
RPG: 4.9
APG: 2.0
Al Harrington
PPG: 20.9
RPG: 6.4
APG: 1.3
David Lee
PPG: 16.4
RPG: 12.1
APG: 2.0
Minnesota Timberwolves
Sebastian Telfair
PPG: 8.8
RPG: 1.7
APG: 4.5
Mike Miller
PPG: 9.8
RPG: 6.1
APG: 4.2
Ryan Gomes
PPG: 12.5
RPG: 4.6
APG: 1.6
Kevin Love
PPG: 9.9
RPG: 8.8
APG: 1.1
Jason Collins
PPG: 1.7
RPG: 2.2
APG: 0.4