Knicks 107, Wolves 102: As Advertised


The Knicks had a great first half. The Wolves had a great second half.

There were mistakes throughout the game from both teams, many of them coming from the youth that makes up much of each of these teams. There were bad shots, silly turnovers, and (especially early, mostly from the Wolves) over-anxiousness. Ultimately, the Knicks were able to hold onto the lead, but tonight’s game became very fun as the night went on.

Tonight was slated as a Towns vs. Porzingis matchup, and we got a lot of that all night. In a lot of ways, the players’ differences were showcased pretty clearly.

First off, Kristaps Porzingis is going to be a really, really good player. Past his 7 blocks was the way he instilled fear into the Wolves for most of the game. His presence on the interior made it terrifying for the Wolves to enter the lane. In the 4th the Wolves were able to get past it and get some shots on Zinger, but he has the potential to be a real interior defensive presence. There were moments tonight, especially in the first half, where he made scoring at the rim seem impossible. This play in particular stuck out for me.

On offense, he didn’t shoot well tonight. Early in his career, it’s entirely possible that he’ll be streaky. If you’ve seen his shooting form, though, there aren’t too many that are worried about that being a persistent issue. He needs to work on his shot selection, but his range is insane, and shot selection is much easier to work with And the interior skill is probably coming. He’s a killer on the offensive glass and has decent footwork for 7’3. How much fun is it that a guy that tall can rise like this?

But right now, Towns is a more complete player. He takes smarter shots, hits a higher percentage of them, and has an overall better feel for the game. Maybe it’s bias and maybe it’s unfair, but thus far, it seems apparent that Towns’ grasp of the game puts him in a class by himself among rookies.

He didn’t have a block tonight, but he has proven his worth on defense in the past. He’s, if nothing else, a high-impact player on that end, and had moments tonight, on both ends. Even when the game seemed lost.

Tonight featured a fun game overall, but it was Porzingis’ defense (and nobody guarding Aaron Afflalo for a stretch) made it easy for the Knicks to get the first half lead up to 20. He landed a few early blocks on a driving Andrew Wiggins, and helped get Towns off to a 2-6 start. They also got good production from Langston Galloway and Lance Thomas, who have impressed a lot in New York over most of this year.

It was a coming-home party for Towns, and it showed early on. He was taking a shot on virtually every touch the first 3 minutes of the game, and clearly wanted to impress the section of family that was at the game.

The Wolves fell short, yes, but it wasn’t until the second half where Towns realy calmed downand the Wolves got going.

But first of all, I’d feel silly if I didn’t mention the insanity Ricky Rubio brought tonight. Past his near quadruple-double, he was the reason the first half didn’t get worse than it did (they were up by over 20 at points in the first half).

The steals weren’t gimmes. They came through hustle and high defensive IQ and awareness that few point guards have.

But as Rubio dominated the game without scoring, the youngsters took advantage of the opportunities Ricky gave them.

After Wiggins 1-7 start, he finished the game hitting on 7 of his last 15 shots, and went 7-7 from the free throw line. Instead of settling from mid-range, he was getting to the lane. And this time, he wasn’t letting Porzingis get to him.

Zach LaVine was doing stuff, too. He finished the game 9-20 with a lot of his production coming in the Wolves’ comeback efforts, and a lot of it coming while working with Ricky Rubio off the ball.

Yes, it was a game the Knicks won, in large part due to the contributions from multi-year vets Carmelo Anthony and Aaron Afflalo (and Ricky Rubio for the Wolves). This much is obvious.

But what we can say about tonight’s game is the matchup, Towns vs Porzingis (or even Wolves young core vs Knicks young core) delivered as advertised. We saw fun from the pair of bigs, Wiggins, LaVine and Galloway. These teams were beyond awful last year, and completely incapable of putting forth a fun game like we saw tonight.  In that respect, we should all feel thankful.


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9 Responsesso far.

  1. Marshall Andersen DVM says:

    Again (like the game vs nuggets) the 3s keep killing us. When we miss an easy potential clutch three, the opposing team hits a dagger three on the other end. We have to improve this. Playing defense 48 minutes a game, as opposed to only when we go down big, could also help game management. We have to improve this. Ball movement, as opposed to countless isos, must be something instilled into our players. We have to improve this.

    Overall, I must say I liked what I saw from the young guys today. The growth is evident without a doubt, and its only a matter of time for the mistakes to stop becoming so game defining.

    I also liked our lineup without martin. counting his days as a twolve.

  2. sportsbygreg says:

    I actually live in my hometown of Houston and was unable to watch the game tonight. I honestly became a legitimate Wolves fan as soon as they acquired Andrew Wiggins in the trade from the Cavs. I have NBA league pass answer sometimes catch a game at Buffalo Wild Wings or if my work schudule allowsI said all that to say this: Sometimes when I leave a comment I really can’t get down to the specifics of the forementioned particular game as far as x’s and o’s are concerned, as is the case for the Knicks game. BUT I have followed the Wolves very closely since the beginning of last season and know the pulse of this team, attributes, deficiencies, coaching, ect. So I guess in a lot of people’s eyes tonight was another moral victory. To me it was another mounting loss against another below .500 team. Trust me, I’m a very optimistic person in the game of life, but this excess losing is ridiculous. I dying for the time when I can write on this blog about a bunch of positives about this team, and truly hate to come across as a negative person. This team is just VERY frustrating because it doesn’t have to and shouldn’t be this way. With these losses mounting and counting, my dream of the Wolves as an 8th seed seems nothing more than a pipe dream or unattainable fantasy. The thing that bothers me the most now is that the more I see Sam Mitchell coach, the more the team’s chances of prosperity, seem like a joke. I did not anticipate him being this bad of a coach. Not saying the guy doesn’t know basketball, obviously he does…but some of his decision making and way of thinking is flat out laughable. One example: Again, was unable to watch the game but saw the box score of what I think was the starting line up- Mitchell had warned and stated his plan of success going forward with a line up changes predicated on gearing up the offense with the hopes of staying close in games and seeing if it would lead to defensive efficiency somehow…SO, I’m thinking-“okay were finally gonna see LaVine start at the 2 OR at the very least BAZZ in the starting line up…and this man trots Tayshun Prince(2 points)out there. Wow! And Bazz gives you I think 8 points and 9 boards in just 18 min. Smh. I mean, what is Glenn Taylor waiting on. Milt Newton needs his head examined, too. This team deserves better.

    • Iga says:

      I was hoping for Zach in s5 too, but first – it was impossible to do with K-Mart out and second, with Zach and Dieng in s5 who would score in second unit? And you really wanted to see Shabazz guarding Melo? I am fan of Bazz and I want to see him playing more minutes but you have to know who you’re playing against. With Rubio/Lavine/Wiggins/Bazz/Towns, the second unit would look like Miller/?/Prince/Payne/Dieng. With K-Mart on the bench we have two players capable of playing at SG – Wigg and Lavine. When they’re both playing in starting five who would you like to see at SG in the second unit? Maybe they could go like Miller / Prince / Rudez / Payne / Dieng but man, this would be painful to watch on both sides of the floor.

      • sportsbygreg says:

        I think Bazz could have done a better job on Melo more so than Prince at this point in his career, because he at least would have forced Melo to play defense. Melo had to much energy and was doing otherthings so easily (like rebounding and assisting). I understand about a bench but Prince gives us nothing at this point, honestly not even defense either. At the least should have played Bazz around 30 minutes. Tayshun does not deserve to play that many minutes. They can bring Rudez or Bjelica in at the 3 off the bench. I did not realize Kay Martin did not play at all last night so I kind of get your point in that regard. But moving forward he should be coming off the bench along with Bazz and the other two guys I mentioned. I guess what I’m saying is that guys like Tayshun Prince shouldn’t even be getting 10 minutes at this point. I’m all for Tyus Jones bolstering the bench at back up point gaurd. The guy is a fierce competitor, floor general, and proven winner who knows how to score in a myriad of ways-including the 3 pointer. All these wasted minutes from players who can’t produce is getting old, and it’s not like there presence on the floor is rubbing off on any of the youngsters. Check it out: I love KG and realize he’s one of the best of all time BUT at this point it’s practically a wasted 10-12 minutes a game (that’s a full quarter some young energetic talent can provide some punch). To me Sam just doesn’t divy up his minutes for certain players the right way. His stubbornness and strategy just seems lame. It’s no way in the world LaVine should have games where he’s playing 17 min. This guy should be starting at the 2 and playing 35 a game by now. And Sam really needs to stop sleeping on Tyus Jones.

  3. sportsbygreg says:

    By the way, I know a good bench is very important, but I also believe your best five players should start. He needs to quit over thinking combinations and just play his best players. It’s either that or he just doesn’t recognize talent. Not only couldn’t he be my head coach, most surely wouldn’t be my GM.

  4. sportsbygreg says:

    Oh, I gave I’m just now hearing that Martin may be traded. That would be a step in the right direction. So I guess, unless they get a capable back up 2 gaurd, I wouldn’t mind seeing Bazz sub in at the 2 and/or 3.

  5. sportsbygreg says:

    Typo-Iga I’m just now hearing that Martin may be traded.

  6. Mebert says:

    I watched a clip on ESPN where they talked about who you would rather build your team around. The guy said Porzingis because of his 3 point shooting and blocked shots……… I am ok if you decide on Zinger because I think he is going to be awesome, but that seems like a real poor reason to not go with Towns as he has both of those skills as well.

  7. pyrrol says:

    You know, this is a pretty sunny write up for a team in a losing tailspin that no one can quite put their heads around. I think it’s nice we played well in the 2nd half, came back and even saw Sam make some good/semi-daring lineup decisions in the second half. But as much as that stuff makes this look like a moral victory, getting down by 20 to the Knicks is a bad loss if you don’t come back from it. Losing a winnable game again after the rough two weeks we’ve had and need to pull out of is bad. I think Sam is staring to feel real heat (not just from fans).

    Odd what a huge deal in the national media the TOWNS VS. PORZINGIS thing ended up being. I like Porzingis, and my friend basically said, ‘I’m going to cheer my butt off for this guy’ after the NY fans booed his selection and that rubbed off on me. I think he’s the real deal. That said, I do think he’s going to hit a wall pretty hard at some point he hasn’t gotten to yet and I’d much rather have Towns.

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