February 6, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) looks at the scoreboard against the Washington Wizards in the fourth quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 106-96. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: New York Knicks (31-16) @ Minnesota Timberwolves (18-28)

The New York Knickerbockers are coming to the Target Center for the first time in the post-Linsanity era. Oh, you don’t remember that? Okay. Here’s a refresher:

Wasn’t that great? Ricky’s last minute turnover and the final outcome, aside — mano-a-mano battling wunderkinds on national television in a fight to the end is likely to provide a stark contrast to this evening’s affair.

The Knicks have undone whatever Lin-spired good will they generated last year with this year’s squad being the oldest team imaginable. Out with the too expensive Jeremy Lin and in with the doughy Raymond Felton and 40-ish Graybeards Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Kurt Thomas — even Argentina rookie Pablo Prigioni is 35 years old. They all come to New York to dump the ball in to Carmelo in the mid-post and stand around. They are in the bottom 1/3 in the league in pace of play and assists. They do lead the league with the fewest turnovers, but if you aren’t passing too much or running the break, you aren’t too likely to turn the ball over. It’s the Knicks way: if you’re passing to the hoop, you’re not gonna turn it over.

Knicks probable starting lineup:

PG Raymond Felton

SG Jason Kidd

SF Iman Shumpert

PF Carmelo Anthony

C Tyson Chandler

Like a bunch of old guys playing pickup ball, the Knicks stand around and shoot a ton of 3s. They’re 2nd in the league in accuracy (38%) and 1st in attempts (29 a game). The most accurate team in the league is Golden State and they’re 11th in attempts — 10 less than New York shoots in a geme.

When the Wolves ventured to New York just before Christmas, they got manhandled without a ref bailout. It’s not expected to be the opposite just because the game is in Minnesota, but watch Anthony’s off hand to see how much contact is created by his “offense”.

Wolves probable starting lineup:

PG Ricky Rubio

SG Luke Ridnour

SF Mickael Gelabale

PF Derrick Williams

C Nikola Pekovic

News from Joan Niesen’s Twitter:

The Timberwolves have waived Lou Amundson, signed Chris Johnson and Mickael Gelabale for the rest of the season

And that, folks, is how the Wolves got their starting small forward of (after tonight) the last two games. After 2 10-day contracts, the next is the rest of the season. So if you’ve been jones-ing for some (any?) Chris Johnson, here’s proof hope Rick Adelman doesn’t completely dislike the idea of playing him.

Andrei Kirilenko is out for tonight’s game and fouled out the last time these two teams faced each other. Williams will get first crack at ‘Melo tonight, but Cunningham will most likely spend most of his time guarding him.

Pek destroyed Chandler the last time and will be the Wolves’ best hope this evening. Missed bunnies aside, Pek’s been moving well since coming back from his thigh contusion.

One highlight of the Madison Square Garden game was JR Smith thinking he could punk Alexey Shved like so many Euro rookies and Shved turning around at the end of the game and doing this:


Rumors are out that Ridnour is (finally) being shopped around for a shooting guard. Early speculation is Utah’s Alec Burks, whose .33% 3-point shooting would (sadly) be a plus for the team — although the book on him is he’s more of a slashing guard who wants to get to the rack — or Raja Bell, who would fit in better with the Knicks graybeard collection. Not too exciting, but help and size at the 2 is a nice target to hear the front office is focusing on.

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Tags: Minnesota Timberwolves New York Knicks Pregame Preview

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