The Minnesota Timberwolves won their second game in 24 hours by beating the New York Knicks while Karl-Anthony Towns sat out with a knee injury.
For the second time in 24 hours, the Minnesota Timberwolves came away with a home win over a poor Eastern Conference opponent.
And for the second time in just over two weeks, the Wolves defeated the New York Knicks despite not having Karl-Anthony Towns at their disposal. It was an ugly game overall, although there were several impressive individual performances on the Wolves side of things.
The first quarter was beyond sloppy, which was to be expected from two squads who had played on Saturday, and the Wolves were using a makeshift starting lineup with rookies Josh Okogie and Keita Bates-Diop and Taj Gibson attempting to matchup with the massive DeAndre Jordan at center.
But Minnesota carried a lead of the slimmest of margins into the second quarter, and they gradually gained separation as the frame wore on. The Wolves’ second unit was impressive, with Tyus Jones and Gorgui Dieng stepping up alongside a series of teammates that they haven’t spent much time on the court with.
In a complete reversal from a horrendous 2-for-14 shooting night on Saturday, Jeff Teague keyed the Wolves all night long. He hit a 3-pointer from the edge of the center-court logo with 0.6 left on the clock before halftime, stretching Minnesota’s lead to 10 points at the break.
Minnesota effectively put things away in the third quarter, leading by as many as 20 points before settling for a 15-point lead heading into the final frame.
The Knicks got to within 10 points but never closer as Taj Gibson and Bates-Diop combined to do plenty of dirty work down low and a Teague-Tyus backcourt continued to play well. (Derrick Rose didn’t play in the second half after seeing just eight minutes in the first half, and the presumption here is that he aggravated one of his recurring injuries.)
It was obviously a must-win for the Wolves, although they still sit a full six games back of the Spurs for the No. 8 spot after San Antonio upset Milwaukee on Sunday night.
The rest of the players
Cameron Reynolds played 18 valuable minutes once again, hitting a key 3-pointer that extended the Wolves’ lead right after the Knicks had cut it to 10 with a few minutes left in the game.
In Towns’ absence, Gorgui Dieng played 18 minutes and finished with four points and five rebounds.
Jerryd Bayless played three second-half minutes to spell Jones and Teague in the absence of Rose in the second half. Two-way players C.J. Williams and Jared Terrell each played two garbage-time minutes.
The Timberwolves head to Denver to take on the Nuggets on Tuesday night. The game will be on TNT and has a late tip-off of 9:30 p.m. CT.