The Minnesota Timberwolves and the New York Knicks met back on December 23rd. A game in which the Wolves squandered a late lead and had A LOT of whistles against them (with none for them) as the Knicks escaped with a narrow three-point victory on the back of a 19-point fourth quarter from Carmelo Anthony.
Tonight the Minnesota Timberwolves jumped out to a double digit lead late in this game only to be disappointed...once again.
The Timberwolves had some questionable calls go against them and had some questionable no-calls against them (though, I'm not talking about that block by Felton on Ridnour in the final seconds...that was a clean block). But, it was clear Carmelo was getting the 'superstar treatment' from the refs and he capitalized on that, leading his team with 12 of his 36 total points in the final quarter. The Wolves did miss some key free throws late (0-for-2 from Rubio and 1-for-2 from Williams) in the fourth that would've extended the lead from 5 to 8 and that 1-for-4 mark was one of many factors that doomed the Wolves late.
The Wolves finish that length 6-game homestand 1-5, with their lone win coming in a blowout vs. the Hornets. With each loss, it's more and more likely that we see the Wolves involved in a deadline deal that likely finds a couple TWolves with new homes. Let's hope Kahn can finally see the glaring need for a true shooting guard on this roster--someone who can defend fairly well and knock down open shots...plain and simple.
The Wolves played this one even through the first half. The Knicks found themselves with a slim lead at halftime (45-52). Carmelo had 16 of his 36 points in the first half, while Steve Novak added 9 and both J.R. Smith & Jason Kidd had 7. The Wolves were led by eight points each from a trio of players: Rubio, Ridnour & Shved.
The third quarter came and the Wolves went on a tear to outscore the Knicks 31-18 in the quarter. The Knicks went 7-for-20 from the field and 1-for-5 from deep in the quarter, while Minnesota countered with 12-for-20 from the field and 1-for-2 from deep while out-rebounding the Knicks 11-8. Luke Ridnour had 12 of his 20 and Pek added 9 of his 16 to take a 76-70 lead through three quarters.
Unfortunately the Knicks went to work in the fourth led by Anthony (12) and J.R. Smith (8). The Wolves had their chances down the stretch, but those missed free throws, some suspect D and poor offensive execution led yet another letdown. Derrick Williams was the lone bright spot in the fourth as he scored 11 of his 19 points, but was sent to the bench late in favor of Dante Cunningham. The Wolves also didn't get the ball to Pek in the post, even though he had a big three quarters with all 16 of his points.
MISC. PLAYER STATS: Luke Ridnour tied a season-high with his 9 made field goals. Greg Stiemsma tied a season-high with his 2 offensive rebounds. Mickael Gelabale set a new season-high with his 2 assists. Ricky Rubio had another great all-around game, he set new season-highs in points (18), field goals made (6), field goals attempted (14) and minutes played (39), he also tied a season-high with 1 made three and tied a career-high with his 9 free throw attempts.
MISC. TEAM STATS: The Wolves set new season-lows in three-pointers made with 1 and three-point percentage at 7.7%. The Wolves' 10 team turnovers also ties a season-low. The Knicks were held to the second-lowest fast break points total of the season for a Wolves opponent at 5.
The Wolves are now 18-29 on the season and will travel to Memphis for their first matchup of the season on Sunday evening. That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!