Losing this game wasn’t a thought until thirteen seconds were left. The New York Knicks were defeated by the Minnesota Timberwolves by a score of 102-101
What went right
Julius Randle shooting the basketball on the right side of the court. The Knicks All Star was looking like vintage Carmelo Anthony. 39 points, 11-20 from the field, 12 boards and 6 assists was Randle’s final stat line. Too many times Randle has put up similar stats in losing efforts. Another valiant effort in vein was from sophomore RJ Barrett, Barrett had 23 points and shot 75 percent from three. Alec Burks won’t get much love for it, but he’s quietly having one of the better bench seasons in the NBA. Burks had 13 points on 5-12, and brought a needed spark for the Knicks. Like Burks, Taj Gibson doesn’t light any stat on fire, but the Knicks need him. After the injury to Mitchell Robinson, Gibson has stepped up and then some. Tonight Gibson only had two points, Gibson did had 7 rebounds in twenty four minutes, and brought his veteran presence out to try and seal the game.
What went wrong
All twelve minutes of the fourth quarter. Elfrid Payton starting games still, is something very wrong. Payton holds this team back. Yes Payton was able to put up 17, be he holds onto the ball too much and slows the offense often. The bench was another aspect that held the Knicks back tonight. Outside of Alec Burks, the bench only put up twelve points. The Knicks bench had 25 points, and the Knicks still scored over 100. From the opening tip, this was a sloppy game for New York. The Knicks had 17 turnovers, and none were more back breaking than RJ Barrett losing the ball with seconds left in the fourth. Even though I said RJ played well, like the rest of the Knicks he struggled in the fourth. Barrett only had two, and didn’t have the killer instinct Knicks fans want to see. Anthony Edwards ran all over the Knicks tonight, and had his way in the fourth. Edwards’ 24 points helped propel the Timberwolves to the win, along with a couple key steals in the fourth quarter.
Knicks take on the Mavericks Friday at The Garden. This is another playoff team the Knicks play in this current gauntlet. If the Knicks want to win, they need somebody besides RJ or Randle to step up. One of the bench guys besides Burks actually needs to contribute. This is a key stretch for New York, and they need another reliable option.