It’s an inter-conference contest in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The New York Knicks are on the road as they travel to face the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night. New York fell 122-119 in double overtime to the Bulls Wednesday night for their fourth loss in five games. Minnesota won their third straight as they downed the Thunder 104-88 at home Wednesday night. The Knicks hold a 32-22 advantage in the all-time regular season series between the teams and have taken the last four meetings.
Line: Minnesota -9
New York Knicks Try Again to Win on the Road
New York failed to capitalize on a rare home game in this stretch of the schedule as they fell in double overtime to the Bulls. The Knicks now have to go back on the road, where they are 4-14 this season, as they try to get back on track. New York led by four entering the fourth quarter before getting pushed to overtime when they inevitably ran out of gas. The Knicks shot an even 50 percent from the field, hit 10 of 22 three point attempts and went 13 of 21 at the free throw line. New York was hurt by 18 turnovers in the contest: Michael Beasley led the Knicks with 26 points off the bench in the loss.
The Knicks are 20th in the league in scoring as they average 103.6 points per game. New York is 7th in the league in rebounding with 44.8 boards per contest while standing 17th with 22.5 assists per game. The Knicks are 11th in scoring defense as they allow 104.3 points per game. Kristaps Porzingis averages 23.7 points, 6.7 boards and 2.26 blocks a night to lead the team. Enes Kanter chips in 13.4 points plus 10.1 rebounds per night, Tim Hardaway Jr. adds 17.8 points a contest while Kyle O’Quinn chips in 6.9 points plus six rebounds per contest. Hardaway Jr. is still out with a stress injury in his left leg. Ramon Sessions, Courtney Lee (13.6 points), Doug McDermott, Ron Baker, Michael Beasley (12.4 points, 5.1 rebounds), Jarrett Jack and rookie Frank Ntilikina have to contribute for the Knicks to have any success. The Knicks are 8th in field goal percentage as they shoot 46.5 percent as a team. New York is 30th with 7.6 threes per game while ranking tied for 18th in three point shooting as they hit 35.8 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Minnesota Timberwolves Seek to Stay Hot
Minnesota is playing well at the moment with three straight wins, all by double figures, as they dropped the Thunder in a matchup of the top two teams in the Northwest Division. The Timberwolves opened up a four game lead in the division race with the win with Portland moving into second place. Minnesota was tied at the half but took control of the contest with a 29-18 edge in the third quarter to roll to the win. The Timberwolves shot 48.8 percent from the field, hit seven of 20 three point attempts and forced 19 Thunder turnovers in the win. Jimmy Butler led Minnesota with 26 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, four steals and two blocks in the win.
The Timberwolves come into this game 7th in scoring with 108.3 points a game. Minnesota is 20th in rebounding with 41.9 boards a night and 15th in assists by dishing out 22.6 dimes per contest. The Timberwolves are 13th in scoring defense as they allow 104.7 points per game. Andrew Wiggins is third on Minnesota with 17.8 points plus 4.1 boards a game. Karl-Anthony Towns averages 20.2 points plus 11.9 rebounds, Jamal Crawford adds 9.7 points a night, Jimmy Butler kicks in a team leading 21.6 points and 5.4 rebounds while Jeff Teague adds 13.4 points plus 7.3 assists a contest: he returned to the lineup January 10 after missing seven games with a sprained MCL. Minnesota has to get production from Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad, Taj Gibson (11.8 points, 7.8 rebounds), Tyus Jones and Nemanja Bjelica as their bench group. The Timberwolves are tied for 5th in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 47.5 percent from the floor. Minnesota is 29th in the league in threes with eight per game and is tied for 24th in the league in three point shooting as they’ve hit 35.1 percent of their attempts from downtown.
- Knicks are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
- Timberwolves are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games
- Timberwolves are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game
- Timberwolves are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
The Knicks are struggling on the road and they are in danger of falling further back in the playoff race. New York has to go to Minnesota and face a Timberwolves team that has dusted the Pelicans, Cavaliers and Thunder by at least 16 points in successive games. The Timberwolves are on a roll right now and they’re at home, where they have strung together a 16-6 mark on the year compared to New York’s 4-14 road mark. It all adds up to a Minnesota victory, at least on paper.
Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves -9
New York continues to struggle as they have dropped nine of their last 12 heading into this one. That has dropped the Knicks to 10th in the Eastern Conference, two games behind the Pacers for the final playoff spot. It’s also a bad matchup as they face Minnesota, who has won three straight by double figures and five of their last seven games, on the road. The Timberwolves are getting production throughout their rotation as they have opened up some ground in the Northwest Division. Minnesota seems poised to break their playoff drought, which has reached 13 seasons since their run to the Western Conference Finals back in the 2003-04 season.
The under is 4-1 in the Knicks’ last 5 games playing on 1 day of rest, 6-2 in their last 8 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game and 11-4-2 in their last 17 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. Minnesota has seen the under go 7-1 in their last 8 overall, 6-1 in their last 7 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game and 5-1 in their last 6 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game. Look for this one to stay under the total as the Timberwolves have been improving defensively of late.