Knicks Too Much Down The Stretch In 100-94 Win Over Wolves
After a frustrating road trip, the Wolves were hoping that this six-game homestand could put an end to their struggles.
Unfortunately, it was more of the same, as the Wolves controlled much of the second half but ended up falling 100-94 to the New York Knicks on Friday night, leaving their homestand at 1-5.
Carmelo Anthony came out of the gates shooting, as the star scorer for New York collected 11 points in the first quarter. Lined up at the power forward spot, the Wolves struggled all night trying to defend him both inside and out.
Wolves vs Knicks
“Only thing you can do is try to contain him,” Wolves forward Derrick Williams said. “You aren’t going to stop him and hold him to 10-15 points. He’s going to get up there, 20, 25, 30, sometimes 40 points in a night. You just have to try and battle with him the whole time.”
Minnesota climbed back in the second and went on an 8-0 run to tied the game at 38-38 midway through the quarter. New York ended the half on a 14-7 run, however, and went into the break up by seven.
After halftime, the Wolves came out to an 11-0 run fueled by three Pekovic baskets. Minnesota went on to enjoy a strong third quarter—something that has been rare this season—outscoring the Knicks 31-18 over the 12-minute span. Luke Ridnour was especially hot, shooting 5-for-5 for 12 points.
The Wolves even built on their lead starting the fourth, as Williams stole the ball and slammed it on a breakaway in the first possession, giving the Wolves their biggest lead of the night. But the Knicks climbed back, thanks to the hot scoring of Anthony and his proficiency from the free throw line.
After Ridnour missed a contested shot with under 30 seconds left, the game was sealed when the Wolves, down two, fouled J.R. Smith on a breakaway lay-up; he made the basket and the free throw, putting the game out of reach.
“I thought it was a foul, but he didn’t see it that way,” Ridnour said. “We didn’t get them, but we battled. We controlled the game for a long time in the second half. I can’t control the officials, they saw what they saw, and we just didn’t get any breaks.”
The loss is the Wolves’ 13th in the last 15 games. But the Wolves shot better than 46 percent and stuck with New York nearly the whole contest. Coach Rick Adelman saw that as a positive.
“Really tough loss,” Adelman said. “But if we keep playing like that we are going to win games."
Anthony finished with 36 points on 50 percent shooting. Stud sixth man Smith pitched in 15 points and eight rebounds, and Raymond Felton, Amare Stoudemire and Steve Novak all scored 11.
Ridnour led all Wolves with 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting, and Ricky Rubio had another double-double with 18 points and 11 assists. Pekovic had one as well, logging 16 points and 11 boards.
Leader of the Pack
Luke Ridnour came up huge for Minnesota in the third quarter, nailing 5-of-5 shots to total 12 points at a crucial point in the game. He finished with 20 on the night, and was nearly the game’s hero; he missed a last-second attempt that would have tied things up.
“I thought Luke made a good decision,” Adelman said of the final play. “He went in the middle. The calls just didn't go our way. We have to find a way to make plays in the (last) three or four minutes.”
Highlight of the Night
With around nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, Ricky Rubio set up an alley-oop play to Derrick Williams. Williams jumped past defender Steve Novak and slammed the ball through with two hands. The Wolves jumped up 81-74, and were en route to their largest lead of the night.
“We don't have a lot of choices right now. We have three guards on the court and that's usually when we play the best. We just have to play with the people we have and find ways to make plays."—coach Adelman
The Wolves will go on a small, two-game road trip down to Memphis and Cleveland, respectively, before coming home to host Utah on the 13th.