Knicks 96, Timberwolves 88: Stellar defense leads the way as Knicks pick up 2nd straight win

immanuel quickley, knicks

The New York Knicks picked up their second consecutive win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night. After demolishing the Atlanta Hawks on Christmas Day, the Knicks embarked on a 13 game stretch against teams that currently have a record worse than .500, aside from the Charlotte Hornets.

The Timberwolves were without several star players, including Anthony Edwards, D’Angelo Russell, and Karl-Anthony Towns. Their leading scorer against New York was power forward Jaden McDaniels, who posted 18 points, and Malik Beasley, who recorded 20 points.

While the Knicks only dispatched 96 points on the evening, it was their defense that showed up big against Minnesota. They held the Timberwolves to just 18.4%, shooting from three-point range and 40% from the field. The Knicks hit 40% from three-point range and 41.1% from the field, hitting just 37.5% from the free-throw line.

Tom Thibodeau’s team has been quite poor at the line, but their three-point percentage has increased recently. Nearly all five of the starters recorded double-digit points, with RJ Barrett just missing the mark with eight. Kemba Walker strung together his fifth consecutive performance with double digits, recording 10 points, two assists, and four rebounds.

However, Mitchell Robinson made a tremendous impact on the game with his 14 points and 18 total rebounds, six of which were offensive. Robinson has been great inside lately, posting five blocks against Atlanta this past Saturday.

Rookie guard Quentin Grimes also had an efficient performance, playing 31 minutes, more than both Evan Fournier and Barrett, who is still working his way back from Covid. Grimes posted 11 points, two assists, and two rebounds, shooting 33% from deep — Grimes’s defensive qualities have seen his stock skyrocket, helping him finish with a +6 +/-.

Grimes is quietly stealing minutes from Evan Fournier, who recorded 13 points over 25 minutes. The Houston product’s defense is simply superior compared to Fournier, leaving Thibodeau with no choice but to utilize the aggressive guard.

It was also nice to see Immanuel Quickley back in the lineup, playing 15 minutes, scoring six points, and logging four assists. He hit 2 of 4 shots from range after missing 12 days due to Covid.

The Knicks will now look ahead to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, a team who have only won five games this season and most recently lost to New York only a week ago by 14 points.

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