Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Knicks

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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Wolves (18-28) vs Knicks (31-16) at 7:00 PM, Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

View Timberwolves Game Notes

Got questions during tonight’s game? Send them to Wolves Radio via Twitter using the hash tag #WolvesRadio! After a decisive win over New Orleans, Minnesota has dropped their last two contests. Can they right the ship? They’ll get the chance tonight in the final game of their six-game home stand at Target Center against the New York Knicks. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.

Knicks Breakdown

Carmelo Anthony runs the show in New York, averaging his best scoring average per 36 minutes since 2006. He drops 28.2 PPG and logs the Knicks’ second-most rebounds per game with 6.3. J.R. Smith is serving as a fantastic sixth man, sitting second on the team’s scoring ranks with 16.2 per game—a career-high. Raymond Felton leads New York with 6.5 assists per game, and Tyson Chandler provides a force down low with his double-double of 11.6 PPG and 11.3 RPG.

New York sits first in the Atlantic Division, and their success rests largely on their outside shooting and how well they take care of the ball. The Knicks sit second in the league in 3-point percentage (.384) and first in 3-pointers made (528). Anthony (41%) and bench shooter Steve Novak (44%) lead the charge from deep. Also consider that they’ve only given away 11.5 turnovers per game, tops in the NBA. This is a veteran team with only one player younger than 27, and it shows in their execution.

Last Time Out: December 23, 2012

With star Kevin Love staying in Minneapolis due to an eye injury, the Knicks took advantage and beat the Wolves 94-91 on a Sunday afternoon, two days before Christmas. Carmelo Anthony scored 19 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, assisted by 19 from J.R. Smith and 16 more from Tyson Chandler.

“This was a big game for us. Sunday afternoon game, tough one, Christmas is right around the corner, we're going on the road. These are the kind of games that you lose, that you get lured into," Chandler said. "Minnesota's a tough team.”

Nikola Pekovic had 21 points and 17 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who played without star forward Kevin Love because of an eye injury. Alexey Shved added 18 points for Minnesota.

Wolves Minute: Friday, Feb. 8

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Key Matchup: Tyson Chandler and Nikola Pekovic

Chandler holds down the low post for New York, averaging 11.6 PPG and 11.3 RPG. While the Knicks have experimented with players like Marcus Camby or Chris Copeland complementing Chandler in the paint, they’ve started Carmelo Anthony at power forward for much of the season. Anthony moves inside or out, but Chandler is the lone starter who is strictly stationed in the post.

That means Chandler will be directly competing with Nikola Pekovic for rebounds and positioning. Pekovic, who recently earned his eighth 20 point/10 rebound game against San Antonio, has been speaking lately about needing consistent play and energy from the Wolves. 11 of his points on Wednesday were from the free throw line, and he could be headed towards the charity stripe again if the taller and longer Chandler is not disciplined on defense. Watch this big man match-up as it should go well into the fourth quarter.

Injury report presented by TSR Injury Law

The Wolves will again be without Andrei Kirilenko tonight as he’ll miss his second straight game with a strained right quad. He said on Wednesday he expects to miss 4-5 days, but his time table is still to be determined.

The Knicks currently without veterans Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace, both missing time with foot injuries that could keep them out until mid-February. Veteran guard Baron Davis is likely out for the season with a knee injury.

Tonight's Probable Starters
Position Timberwolves Knicks
PG Ricky Rubio Jason Kidd
SG Luke Ridnour Raymond Felton
SF Mickael Gelabale Iman Shumpert
PF Derrick Williams Carmelo Anthony
C Nikola Pekovic Tyson Chandler

 

 


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com.