The Knicks hang on and eke out a win against the Minnesota Timberwolves 103-99. New York led by 21 points in the third quarter before squandering their lead in a sloppy fourth quarter.
Karl-Anthony Towns singlehandedly led the Timberwolves comeback, recording 15 points and 9 rebounds in the fourth quarter alone.
Towns did it all tonight, finishing with 27 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 assists. He had a highlight reel worthy assist to Jaden McDaniels late in the middle of the fourth quarter, tossing the ball over his shoulder and through two Knicks defenders.
This was the seventh game back since Towns was out with COVID 19.
Julius Randle continued to make it look easy, finishing with 25 points and 14 rebounds of his own. RJ Barrett was also essential to New York’s win, scoring 21 points in 34 minutes. The Knicks were +21 with Barrett on the court tonight.
Save for Alec Burks, the Knicks bench continued to come up empty.
Burks scored 13 points and was 6-6 from the line. Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickly combined to shoot 2-13. Quickly got the quick hook tonight, only playing 9 minutes.
Quickly wasn’t the only rookie who struggled, as Obi Toppin was silent in 9 minutes, only scoring two points. The Timberwolves #1 overall pick Anthony Edwards also didn’t have it, scoring 12 points on 3-12 from the field. Edwards continues to look for a level of consistency since being added to the starting lineup.
This was Knicks’ Coach Tom Thibodeau’s first game against the Timberwolves. He was Minnesota’s coach for 3 seasons, highlighted by leading the team to a 47-35 record and to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years (2017-2018).
“We’re striving to become a 48 minute team.” Thiboedau said regarding New York’s inconsistent play. “We have a long way to go. Hopefully we can learn from this.”
Backup center Taj Gibson effectively defended Karl Anthony Towns from posting up in the final seconds of the game, preventing Minnesota from tying it up again and forcing the T-Wolves to foul. Gibson substituted in after starter Nerlens Noel fouled out.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Sunday night was New York’s final game in an empty stadium. Madison Square Garden will allow fans up to 10% capacity beginning on Wednesday night, as the Knicks take on Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the second of a four game homestand.
The fans will rejuvenate the young Knicks.
“Obviously safety first,” Julius Randle said to reporters last week. “We want to do what’s best for everyone and make sure everyone is safe. But getting fans back to Garden at that level is amazing and we’re extremely excited for our fan base to come to the game and feel some of the energy that we felt. So extremely excited and grateful.”
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