Scouting Report: Wolves (30-29) vs. Knicks (21-40) | March 5, 2014
Timberwolves vs. Knicks | 7:00 PM — Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
Wolves’ fans have been waiting for a playoff push for quite some time… Well, fans, here it is. Minnesota sits at 30-29 overall, good for 10th place in the Western Conference. According to Basketball-Reference.com, the Wolves have a 22.6 percent chance to make the playoffs, which is the highest it has been in quite some time. The game against the Knicks starts a four-game home stretch that looks to be winnable for the Wolves. After the Knicks, Minnesota will have Detroit, Toronto and Milwaukee – all winnable games on paper. The Knicks are in a bit of whirlwind right now, having lost seven straight games and sitting 6.5 games back from the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. If the Knicks want to have any chance of making the playoffs (0.8 percent as of now), it has to start now. They will have to play mistake-free basketball the rest of the way out.
The Wolves and Knicks last battled on Nov. 3 in New York. Minnesota came away with a 109-100 win behind 34 points, 14 rebounds and five assists from Kevin Love.
Kevin Martin added 30 points, while shooting a perfect 5-of-5 from the 3-point line. Big man Nikola Pekovic had 11 points and 12 boards, while Corey Brewer added 10.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 22 points and 17 rebounds. Metta World Peace (now a free-agent) led the bench with 17 points. Andrea Bargnani had 14 points, while Iman Shumpert finished with 12 points.
The Wolves made 29 free throws compared to New York’s mark of 11.
This Week’s Results
March 5, 2014
Minnesota is 4-1 in its last five games.
New York has lost seven straight games. The last came on Monday in Detroit as the Knicks fell 96-85 to the Pistons.
Anthony led the Knicks with 28 points, but had six turnovers in the process. Amar’e Stoudemire added 22 points, while J.R. Smith pitched in with 16. New York’s bench contributed with just seven points.
What To Watch: Carmelo Anthony vs. Kevin Love
The 2013-14 season for the Knicks has been a nightmare. The team is losing its grips on a playoff appearance in a very weak Eastern Conference. That doesn’t have anything to do with Anthony, though.
Anthony is averaging 28 points per game, while playing a career-high 39.1 minutes per game. He also has a career-high 8.5 rebounds per game while shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from the 3-point line. Many categories suggest Anthony is having one of his strongest seasons as a pro… the only one that doesn’t is the win-loss column.
With a depleted lineup due to injuries and a lack of chemistry, Minnesota will need to focus on stopping Anthony, who has proven in his career that he can put up 50 just like that.
Love, on the other hand, has his team going in another direction. The All-Star starter is averaging a career-high 26 points per game to go with 13.2 rebounds per game. He’s also dishing out a career-high 4.1 assists per game. The big man is shooting 46.2 percent from the field (his highest mark since 2010-11) and 38 percent (highest since 2010-11) from the 3-point line.
He should be in consideration for Player of the Month, which will be released later today. If he can play like he did against the Knicks in their first matchup (SPIKE LEE!), the Wolves have a good shot to win their fourth straight game.
Wolves center Ronny Turiaf (bone bruise in right knee) is out indefinitely.
New York forwards Andrea Bargnani (torn left UCL) and Kenyon Martin (sprained left ankle) are both listed as out indefinitely.
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Raymond Felton|
|SG||Kevin Martin||J.R. Smith|
|SF||Corey Brewer||Carmelo Anthony|
|PF||Kevin Love||Amar'e Stoudemire|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||Tyson Chandler|