Timberwolves Shred Knicks in 2nd Half. Minnesota 117 NY 100

The Minnesota Timberwolves pounced on the Knicks at the start of the 3rd quarter for 11 straight points to turn what was a close, physical game into a double-digit lead and never looked back, beating NY 117-100 on a Monday night in Minnesota.

NY fought hard to stay in it, but couldn’t hit 3’s and even their layups inside kept rolling in and out. The Knick sharpshooting guards could not hit the 3 — as Quentin Grimes (0-6), Donte DiVincenzo (1-6) and Immanuel Quickley (1-7) shot a combined 2-19 from 3.

“The first half we played pretty well,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “The 3rd quarter they hit us — it was 9-0 to start. I thought their ball pressure to start the 3rd put us back on our heels. We had a crack to get it back but couldn’t get it inside 10.”

“We missed some bunnies inside and then we missed some wide-open 3’s,” continued Thibs. “You gotta make some shots. The first half we played pretty well; but the 3rd quarter was a problem. The penetration was good; the kick-outs were good; but we gotta make and we didn’t make.”

“The rebounding was good,” added Thibs. “The turnovers were good; other than — the turnovers that we had were costly at the start of the 3rd — and that’s what gave them the cushion to get away from us. We fought to get it back inside 10 and couldn’t get it done.”

NY fell to 8-6. Minnesota remains undefeated at home this season, and improved their overall record to 10-3.

1. Hard-Fought, Physical 1st Half

The Timberwolves are one of the best teams in the NBA this season. The big trade they made before last season — acquiring Rudy Gobert — is finally working out as it gives them a powerful inside presence on defense and allows Karl-Anthony Towns (who missed a good chunk of last season) to move over to power forward. Anthony Edwards is playing at near superstar level, and veteran Mike Conley is running the team at the point.

Minnesota is getting good play off the bench from players like 6’9 Naz Reid, and they are well coached by Chris Finch (who was assistant coach to Nick Nurse in Toronto).

The two teams banged back and forth in a physical game in the 1st half. Julius Randle vs Karl Anthony-Towns was an interesting game-within-the-game matchup, as was RJ Barrett vs Anthony Edwards.

Minnesota came on strong in the 2nd quarter to take a 7 point lead and looked to be taking control of the game. But the Knicks banged right back and took a 54-53 lead on a Julius Randle drive with 2:22 left in the half.

It felt like Minnesota had come out to impose their will, and the Knicks took their best punch and came right back.

2. Timberwolves Pounced at Start of 3rd Quarter

But it wasn’t Minnesota’s best punch. They reared up and pounced on the Knicks to start the 3rd quarter, as Anthony Edwards hit a pullup, Karl-Anthony Towns hit a 3, Anthony Edwards drove to the bucket for free throws, and then hit a pullup and Minnesota had 9 straight points.

Rudy Gobert made it 11 straight points by grabbing an offensive rebound and putting it back in for a 70-58 Minnesota lead.

RJ Barrett pulled NY back with a 3, but Anthony Edwards answered with a drive and 1 and Mike Conley popped a 3 and Minnesota was up by 15.

Jalen Brunson answered with a 3 and Julius Randle kept attacking the basket for points but Anthony Edwards scored right back and late in the quarter, 3’s by Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Naz Reid gave Minnesota a 19-pt lead. They would lead by 20 before the quarter was over.

3. Knicks Did Not Give Up

The Knicks didn’t give up — Brunson and Randle and Mitchell Robinson kept taking it to the hole in the 4th, even with Gobert there — and NY pulled to within 12 points on Donte DiVincenzo free throws with 5:46 left — 103-91 Minnesota.

But a Kyle Anderson drive and 1, a Karl-Anthony Towns 3 with 4:26 left, and a Brunson turnover that led to an Anthony Edwards dunk with 4:14 left was ballgame — as Minnesota was back on top by 19.

4. NY Could Not Hit the 3 — or the 2

NY just could not hit enough 3’s in the 3rd or 4th quarters to stay in it or win it — even chippies by Immanuel Quickley on drives were rolling in and out.

RJ Barrett (3-4 from 3) and Jalen Brunson (3-6 from 3) were the only Knicks with the Knack from long range; as a team NY was 9-38 (23%). Minnesota was 11-34 (32 %).

5. Knicks Outrebounded Wolves

The Knicks outrebounded the Timberwolves, 50-42. Despite the presence of Rudy Gobert, Mitchell Robinson had 11 rebounds — 7 offensive — to give the Knicks second chances all night. Randle had 15 rebounds, RJ Barrett had 7 rebounds, and Isaiah Hartenstein 4 rebounds in 14 minutes.

Rudy Gobert had 7 rebounds and Towns had 5. Anthony Edwards led the Wolves in rebounds with 10.

The Boxscore


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