The New York Knicks came into tonight's contest losers of 13 in their last 15 outings. Unfortunately for the Wolves' playoff aspirations, Minnesota couldn't contain the 8th-worst offense in the NBA (averaging just 97.3 points per game) as they went off for 118 points led by Carmelo Anthony's 33.
In what was pegged as a showdown of All-Star forwards, tonight's game didn't live up to the billing. Kevin Love had one of his worst outings in a very long time finishing with 19 points & 8 rebounds. It's his first sub 20-point game since he had 15 points vs. the Blazers in a 104-115 loss on January 25th.
It's amazing that a player can go for 19 points & 8 boards and it be considered and 'off' game for him. After you average 34 points & 14.1 rebounds per game in the month of February, it becomes hard to live up to that kind of billing each and every night.
You have to tip your cap to the Knicks' big men, particularly Tyson Chandler, who spent most of the night checking Love. His length and athleticism was certainly bothersome for Kevin.
The Wolves 'shot themselves in the foot' tonight with their sloppy play. Ricky Rubio had 6 turnovers (4 of which came in the first quarter). He did shoot the ball a bit better, going 4-for-6 from the field in addition to 6 rebounds, 8 assists & 2 steals. J.J. Barea followed up his excellent night vs. the Nuggets with a real stinker. Barea shot just 1-for-9 from the field in 15 minutes off the bench.
In most everyone's estimation, Barea played about 15 minutes too many. His night was capped midway through the fourth quarter when Rubio went to the scorers table. Upon seeing Ricky at the table, J.J. made sure to toss up one more, well-contested, terrible shot before reluctantly trudging to the bench. It's night's like these that I'm glad we carry three point guards on the roster so that when Rubio & Barea struggle we can put in Pri....oh....never mind.
Every game counts when you're battling for that final seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The Wolves came into the night 4.5 games behind the 8th seed Phoenix Suns with a chance to put the Wolves 4 games behind. The Mavericks fell to the Nuggets and the Grizzlies got pummeled by the Nets tonight, so a win vs. New York would have been fantastic for the Wolves. Unfortunately they're left treading water with just 22 games to go.
Tonight's box score...
The Wolves turned it over 14 times, allowed the Knicks to shoot 52.2% from the field and 40.7% from deep. The Knicks took a lot of long jumpers courtesy of Anthony, J.R. Smith & Tim Hardaway Jr. All night long, I assumed they'd slow down and start missing those inefficient shots at some point, but it never really happened, they took those difficult shots and they consistently hit those shots, all night.
The Wolves are back at .500 on the season and they remain in 10th place in the West. Unfortunately, instead of 4 games back, they're now 5 games behind Phoenix/Dallas for the 7th or 8th seed. The Wolves are back in action vs. the Pistons on Friday night. That game will tip from the Target Center at 7pmCST, enjoy.
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!