Taurean Prince Ruins Julius Randle’s 57-Point Night. Minnesota 140 NY 134

Taurean Prince had the game of his life — shooting 12-13 from the floor and 8-8 from 3, to ruin Julius Randle‘s unconscious 57-point effort, and lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 140-134 victory over the Knicks at MSG on a Monday night.

Prince was helped by Jaden McDaniels, the 6’9 scoring forward who also was hard to stop — 18 points on 6-12 shooting, and old man Mike Conley, who scored 24 on 6-11 shooting.

Minnesota came out hitting every shot and jumped out to a 17-point lead in the 2nd quarter. The Knicks were hitting their shots too — just not at the clip the Wolves were. Julius Randle had 26 points under the radar at the half and then really caught fire in the 3rd quarter to lead the Knicks back to a tie. NY took a 5-point lead in the 4th quarter and looked on the way to a win — but Prince and McDaniels kept hitting shots.

NY was burned by a bad ref call with 30 seconds left and the Knicks down 3, when McDaniels pushed off for an offensive foul that wasn’t called. It would’ve been NY ball with a chance to tie — instead the Wolves scored underneath to ice it.

“42 points first quarter; they got going,” said Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “Good offensive team. Hard to shut them off once they get going like that. They’re a big 1st quarter team. We talked about that going into the game. They got everything.”

“They had their way,” continued Thibs. “We got into a big hole. We fought to get out of it. Came up short in the end. But we were playing with fire the whole game. They shot the 3. Give up 14 threes. 68 points in the paint. 32 free throws. Allow 60 percent. We scored the ball fine but it’s hard to win like that.”

The loss drops NY to 42-31, 2 games ahead of Brooklyn for 5th place in the East. It was a huge win for Minnesota, which had lost 3 in a row — they improve to 36-37, in 8th place in the West. The Wolves were without Anthony Edwards, and Karl Anthony-Towns (whose been out for months) — Prince, McDaniels, Conley, and Rudy Gobert and team stepped up.

1. Minnesota Came Out FIRING

The Timberwolves came out FIRING and HITTING. They were helped especially by the WIDE screens being set by Rudy Gobert, which allowed their guards like Michael Conley to penetrate and kick outside for 3’s.

The Knicks weren’t having trouble scoring either — especially when Gobert took rests. It became a free-frolicking up-tempo game with both teams racing up the court as fast as they could, making NBA-level passes, and scoring at will. The Knicks were not able to apply defense that worked against Minny.

2. Randle FIRED BACK

Down 17, the Knicks started to find a way — and cut the lead down to 9 by the half — 79-70 — with both Randle and Jalen Brunson missing 3’s in the last 5 seconds of the half that would’ve cut it to 6.

Randle — under the radar and the fierce Minnesota scoring onslaught — had 26 points in the first half.

But at start of the 3rd quarter, Minnesota started to hit the 3 again, and score — and within minutes NY was down 16 again.

And that’s when Julius Randle really got going. He started hitting 3’s from EVERYWHERE.

Wally Szczerbiak called it the most incredible performance he ever saw live at Madison Square Garden.

Randle had 52 points by end of the 3rd quarter, and NY had tied and gone ahead before falling back behind 109-108 to end the period.

3. Knicks Took Late Lead

Randle took his normal rest at start of the 4th quarter — while Josh Hart, RJ Barrett, Isaiah Hartenstein and Immanuel Quickley took care of the scoring — gaining NY a 5-pt lead, and 3-pt lead when Randle came back into the game with 7:29 left — NY up 123-120.

NY led by 5 — 129-124 — with 4:41 left.

4. Wolves Wouldn’t Go Away

But Minnesota just wouldn’t go away.

NY led 129-126 when Josh Hart stole a pass from Jaden McDaniels and raced down court on the fast break — but Minnesota players were all over him and he missed the fast-break layup — the ball went the other way and McDaniels hit a 3 to tie the score.

A HUGE play.

  • With 49 seconds left and NY down 137-131, Immanuel Quickley was fouled driving to the lane — but Minnesota challenged and won the challenge — Quickley got hammered across the body but a split second before Conley touched the ball so it was ruled a steal.
  • But ball don’t lie — the Knicks stole the ball and Randle drove for an and-one and 137-134 game.

  • McDaniels got away with an offensive foul on a pushoff with 21 seconds left — but missed the shot and Randle had the rebound with 18 seconds left — but lost the rebound — Kyle Anderson grabbing the ball away from him.
  • Conley then found Prince down low for a score with 10 seconds left and 139-134 Minny lead. Randle was PISSED at himself and drew a technical. Ballgame.

“It’s a shame to waste a performance like that. He scored the ball. Can’t ask for anything more,” said Thibs of Randle’s performance. “Big free throw discrepancy in the 2nd half. We’re up 3 with 3 minutes to go; breakaway we don’t score; they came down hit a 3 and then we scrambled the rest of the game.”

“We were careless with the ball,” added Thibs. “We turned the ball over. They got obviously great size. All we had to do is keep making the simple play.  We have to make better decisions.”

5. Other Knicks

Besides Randle’s 57 points on 19-29 shooting (8-14 from 3; 11-13 in free throws):

  • Jalen Brunson had 23 points on 9-18 shooting,
  • RJ Barrett had 13 points on efficient 4-8 shooting (2-3 from 3),
  • Quickley added 19 off the bench (6-16 shooting),
  • Hart had 10 points,
  • Obi Toppin had 5 pts on 2-2 shooting in 11 minutes,
  • Quentin Grimes took 1 shot (a 3) and hit it.
  • Mitchell Robinson took 1 shot and missed it — 0 points but 9 rebounds and 2 blocks in 28 minutes.
  • Hartenstein had 5 points and 8 rebounds in 20 minutes.

The Boxscore


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