The Minnesota Timberwolves came out of the gates strong once again and dropped 40 points on a New York Knicks defense that looked simply, dreadful. After the first quarter the Wolves held a demanding 21-point lead as the Wolves shot 67% from the field.
Kevin Love had 13 in that first quarter and Kevin Martin added another 11. A big part of the success was holding Carmelo Anthony to just two points and getting him in early foul trouble that had him sitting early with two personal fouls.
The teams played it pretty much even over the next two quarters, the Knicks outscored the Wolves 24-30 in the second quarter and it was 29 points for both teams in the third quarter.
Adelman used Corey Brewer, Dante Cunningham and Derrick Williams against Carmelo Anthony throughout this one. On many of Melo's catches, a number of Wolves' defenders clamped down on him and he had to make quick passes out of the double and sometimes triple teams. There were a few times he didn't pass out of those situations and he actually took shots against a triple team! I don't doubt that Anthony is a gifted player, but he makes some pretty poor decisions and takes a lot of bad shots.
At halftime, Anthony had just 4 points, but Metta World Peace and Andrea Bargnani each had 12 points apiece to lead the Knicks. The Wolves were led by 18 from Love, 13 from Martin and another 9 from Nikola. Pek actually had 9 points and 11 rebounds at the half--though he did play 21 of 24 minutes (with no Ronny Turiaf).
After three quarters the Wolves still led by 15 points, but it was in the fourth when the Knicks went on a big run. New York went on a 25-7 run to make it a two-point game (100-98) with just under five minutes to play. However, over the final 4:45 the Wolves went on a 9-2 run (4pts from K-Mart, 4 from Love and 1 FT from Brewer) to close out the game 109-100 for the nine-point victory and the first 3-0 start in 12 years (2nd in franchise history).
Kevin Love scored 9 of Minnesota's 16 fourth quarter points to finish with 34. The other Kevin (Martin) had 30 on the night. Martin came into this game averaging just 13 points, but at halftime he had his 13 and in the third quarter he added another 13!
The Wolves did well against Anthony through the first two quarters, but he had 9 in the third quarter and another 7 in the fourth, scoring 16 of his 22 in the second half. With no J.R. Smith, we knew the Knicks would have to look elsewhere for points, I assumed they'd look to Ray Felton & Tyson Chandler for those points, but they finished with 8 & 10 apiece. Instead it was 14 from Bargnani and another 17 from World Peace.
Let's take a look at the full box score...
The Wolves' big advantage came at the free throw line, they had 38 attempts to New York's 13. The Wolves also held a 23-14 advantage in fast break points, that advantage was much bigger at halftime (15-2).
The big story was the great play from Kevin Martin. K-Mart struggled in his first two outings as a Timberwolf--he did have 23 in that win over Orlando, but he didn't do it efficiently. Tonight he poured in 30 points and did so VERY efficiently: going a perfect 5-for-5 from deep, 7-for-9 from the line and missing just 3 field goals all night. 30 points and he took just 12 shots!
It's clear that the Timberwolves are A LOT better than they were a year ago, but they still have A LOT of work to do. Tonight was another example of building a big lead only to let it slip away in the second half. They've done that too many times to count over the past couple seasons and already twice this season--luckily they were able to close both of the games this season out with wins.
The Wolves are back in action tomorrow night (6pmCT) in Cleveland vs. the Cavaliers. We'll have a full gameday preview up tomorrow afternoon. Thanks for reading & GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!