Nothing is new under the sun for the New York Knicks, playing the same boring, dull and predictable basketball, relying Tyson Chandler to hold the fort on defense and Carmelo Anthony to supply the points. For the Minnesota Timberwolves, still without a loss, things are quite different with Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love.
The Timberwolves kicked off the season with two wins, including one by 19 points over the Thunder, limiting Kevin Durant to only 13 points and showing that besides their very exciting style they have the defense that might be able to shut down at times even the best scorers in the NBA.
Kevin Love has started out the season with 27.5 points and 14.5 rebounds per game, while Ricky Rubio has also been doing very well in the double double department, showing an increased affinity to score on his own, even outside the paint or from three, averaging 13.5 points with 10.5 assists per game so far, while the return of Corey Brewer to the lineup has been extremely helpful on both ends of the floor.
However, it’s been a while since the Timberwolves beat the Knicks in New York (over four years), and it’s been quite a while since they’ve been able to quiet down Carmelo Anthony. He’s averaging 20.5 points per game this season, but he has a combined 69 points over the last two matchups against Minnesota, and has averaged 31.6 over his last five home games against the Wolves.
The keys for the Knicks to make this game a bit easier will be Tyson Chandler’s ability to handle both Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love in the paint with some help from Kenyon Martin and possibly Amare Stoudemire, while hoping that Anthony gets enough help from a second and third scorer, which means big games for Raymond Felton who will have his hands full with Rubio or Kevin Maertin and the same goes for Iman Shumpert.
Prediction – Anthony has his way with mismatched defenders, but even a bit Anthony game can’t hide the problems on this Knicks team, relying too much on his scoring ability until J.R. Smith comes back or Shumpert steps up. The Timberwolves have a bit more offensive weapons, all firing on all cylinders at the moment.