The New York Knicks have lost seven straight contests, including an ugly showing in Motown on Monday night against the nearly-as-hapless Detroit Pistons.
In other words, this is not a game that the Wolves can afford to drop, or really even allow the Knicks to hang around. This is an opportunity to jump out and pull away early, to allow the starters some rest and a chance to prepare for the rest of the long homestand.
New York is a sorry excuse for a professional basketball team at this point, and Minnesota needs to take advantage of that. Allowing a team to hang around like they did with Denver on Monday on the road is not an option, and the Wolves should dominate positional match-ups all over the floor.
In the Knicks game against the Pistons, Andre Dummond went for 17 points and 26 rebounds. Over Kevin Love’s last four contests against the Knicks (spanning the past three years due to injury), he’s averaging 32.5 points and 20.5 rebounds. Of course those numbers are skewed a bit by the historical 30-30 game, but you get the picture.
The Knicks aren’t about to stand in the way of a monster tandem performance by Love and Nikola Pekovic, even given the state of Pek’s conditioning and limited minutes. Normally, Tyson Chandler would be a huge obstacle to any success in the paint, but he simply hasn’t been his defensively-dominating self in 2014. The Wolves should be able to get what they want, when they want tonight.
New York still has Carmelo Anthony and now Amar’e Stoudemire in the starting lineup, but that isn’t enough. Raymond Felton has been bad, and J.R. Smith has fallen of a cliff since signing his big off-season contract. Ricky Rubio should run circles around Felton’s rotund figure, and as long as the Wolves rebound the ball and don’t have many rotational lapses, the Knicks offense should stagnate.
Offense won’t be a problem against the Knicks, and the Wolves have been rolling on that end of the floor of late anyway. Look for another high-scoring affair, but hopefully without the furious comeback in the final minutes like we had to endure on Monday.
Tip is at 7:00 CT, and we’ll meet back here afterwards for thoughts and a brief recap.