Minnesota Timberwolves vs. New York Knicks: Game Grades and Analysis for Knicks
After erasing a 23-point deficit and coming to within two in the fourth quarter, the New York Knicks (1-2) were simply unable to complete the comeback against the Minnesota Timberwolves (3-0), eventually losing the game by a final score of 109-100.
A late 17-5 run cut the lead to 100-98, but a technical foul shot and three-pointer by Kevin Martin helped the Timberwolves pull away once more.
Leading the way for Minnesota was two-time NBA All-Star Kevin Love, who finished with a double-double of 34 points and 15 rebounds. Martin also had 30 points of his own, including a perfect 5-of-5 from three-point range.
A poor effort in the first quarter sealed the fate of the Knicks right off the bat, as the Timberwolves outscored New York 40-19 while shooting 66.7 percent from the field.
Once again, turnovers were a major storyline for the Knicks. They turned the ball over 16 times in total, leading to many easy baskets for the Timberwolves. New York has now turned the ball over at least 15 times in each of its first three games.
The New York Knicks will now host the visiting Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday night, then travel to Time Warner Cable Arena on Friday to face them once again.
*All grades are based on in-game performance, final statistics and impact on both offense and defense.
Point Guard: Raymond Felton
Raymond Felton's 12 assists was his big number of the night. He looked to drive the lane and attack the basket early in the first quarter, but his shot simply wasn't dropping.
He finished with just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting.
Felton was a pest on defense, stealing the ball on three occasions, including a couple of key swipes late in the fourth quarter.
However, his defense on Ricky Rubio in the first half left a lot to be desired, as the young Spaniard had little to no trouble penetrating and getting past Felton. It got better in the second half, but if there were a scale of which point guard had the better night, it would certainly be leaning in favor of Rubio, if only by a little.
Final Grade: B-
Shooting Guard: Iman Shumpert
Foul trouble continues to haunt Iman Shumpert, as the third-year pro picked up four fouls in his first 17 minutes. That was also a problem against the Chicago Bulls, as Shumpert had three fouls in the opening half in that outing.
A silly carrying call during the home stretch of the game was a costly turnover, but he immediately made up for it by hitting a three-pointer from the corner.
As sound as he is on the defensive end, Shumpert needs to make better decisions with his aggression and when the best time is to go after the basketball.
Work smart, not hard.
The Knicks need him on the court, so silly fouls and overzealous defending can't happen.
His jumper is looking much better, so not only can he guard the perimeter, but he can also be trusted to shoot from 15 feet and beyond. He hit five of eight shots, including two three-pointers.
Final Grade: C+/B-
Small Forward: Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony struggled to get into rhythm in the first quarter, going 1-of-5 while picking up two early fouls, thus forcing him to the bench.
Entering this game, Anthony was shooting just 37.5 percent. Sunday night's numbers didn't help his cause at all, as he went just 8-of-21 from the field.
Failing to contribute much on offense, Anthony would put in a tremendous effort crashing the boards, grabbing 17 rebounds, including five on the offensive end.
Don't let his 22 points cloud your judgement. Anthony rushed many of his shots when he didn't necessarily have to. He was extremely inconsistent, and he didn't give his team that final boost a franchise player should to get it over that final hurdle.
His line of 22 points and 17 rebounds looks great on paper, but when you really dig into the meat and potatoes of his performance against Minnesota, you won't like what you find.
Final Grade: C-
Power Forward: Andrea Bargnani
Surprisingly enough, Andrea Bargnani was one of the lone bright spots for the New York Knicks on this most unmemorable of nights.
After shooting just 20.0 percent from three-point range through his first two games in New York, Bargnani found his shots falling in the opening half, nailing two from long range, leading to 12 points. He's been more effective shooting from mid-range, so it was nice to see the big Italian hit a couple from behind the arc.
The Knicks played more small ball in the second half to contend with the speed of the Timberwolves, so Bargnani found himself on the bench for the most part during the final 24 minutes.
This is a game that "Il Mago" can look to build off of. He's never going to be a force on the glass, but if he can consistently hit shots with range to keep the defense honest, New York will be better off because of it.
Final Grade: B
Center: Tyson Chandler
The Tyson Chandler vs. Nikola Pekovic matchup down low was won by the 27-year-old Montenegrin, as Pekovic simply had his way in the paint with little hindrance on Chandler's part.
His final stat line of 10 points and nine rebounds isn't terrible, but it's not mind-blowing either. Chandler was fairly quiet throughout the night, with a couple of alley-oop and putback dunks being his most noteworthy moments.
Through two games, Chandler was averaging 4.5 blocks, but on this night, he was unable to get his hands on the basketball.
His offensive game is coming around, especially with his development in shooting away from the basket, but his bread and butter comes on the defensive end.
It just didn't click Sunday night.
Final Grade: C+/B-
Sixth Man: Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr. made an impact as soon as he entered the game, drawing a crowd in the lane and throwing up the lob to Tyson Chandler for the alley-oop.
The rookie out of the University of Michigan has been a pleasant surprise for the Knicks with J.R. Smith still serving a suspension, averaging 7.5 points through his first two games. He finished this game with six points on 3-of-12 shooting (0-of-7 from behind the arc).
Better shot selection is something he absolutely has to work on. He took several ill-advised attempts, even air-balling a jumper while his teammate Chandler was open under the basket. Hardaway Jr. also took a quick three-pointer off the catch as the Knicks were trying to build momentum in the third quarter.
Two quick fouls during the final minutes of the third quarter also caused many a headache in the stands of Madison Square Garden.
He's not shy shooting the basketball, which is fine, as long as it's going in. There's a lot to learn, but his issues are easily rectified by putting in more work during practices and continued playing time throughout the season.
A couple of highlight-reel dunks were a nice touch, but his dreadful shot selection brings him back down to earth. It hurt the Knicks in a big way.
Final Grade: D+
The frustrations of the New York Knicks manifested itself through veteran's Kenyon Martin and Metta World Peace, as both forwards picked up technical fouls in the first half.
World Peace did his best impression of a human defibrillator in the second quarter, attempting to bring his team back from the dead after a miserable opening 12 minutes. He chipped in 12 points in the first half, including two three-pointers and a couple of rebounds.
He also tried to reinvigorate his teammates with some solid perimeter defense, which ultimately led to one steal and some forced shots from Minnesota. World Peace finished with 17 points and four rebounds.
Pablo Prigioni played crucial minutes in the fourth quarter, helping facilitate the basketball and even hitting a key three-pointer.
Martin also provided energy and toughness off the bench, scoring six points and grabbing six rebounds.
It appears that Mike Woodson will be alternating his use of both Martin and Amar'e Stoudemire, if only to keep Stoudemire healthy and his knees fresh.
Final Grade: B+