Knicks V Timberwolves: Main Takeaways from pre-season loss

NBA: Preseason-Minnesota Timberwolves at New York Knicks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks encountered a setback in their preseason journey, falling 121-112 to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a game that demonstrated both their resilience and areas needing enhancement. Now standing at 1-1 this preseason, the team reflects on their performance.

Close Contest Reveals Knicks’ Vulnerabilities

The game, tight from start to finish, slipped away from New York as they struggled to contain Minnesota’s perimeter shooting. The Timberwolves’ impressive 20-48 shooting from beyond the arc spelled trouble for the Knicks’ defense.

Naz Reid’s standout 22-point performance, punctuated by five three-pointers, propelled Minnesota forward, complemented by star player Karl-Anthony Towns’ 17-point contribution. In contrast, the Knicks managed 13 of 37 from three-point territory, a shooting effort overshadowed by the Wolves’ relentless offense.

Standout Performances Amid Team’s Struggle

Despite the team’s shooting woes, RJ Barrett emerged as the game’s standout for the Knicks, racking up 23 points — 15 of which energized the team in the first quarter. His 6-15 shooting and a significant 9-12 success rate at the free-throw line highlighted a notable upswing in the 23-year-old forward’s game.

Evan Fournier maintained preseason momentum, with his 60% shooting yielding 15 points, marking his second consecutive double-digit scoring game. While Fournier’s spot in the regular season rotation remains uncertain, his offensive contributions are sure to catch the attention of head coach Tom Thibodeau despite concerns over his defensive play.

Rookie Miles McBride’s flawless offense also turned heads. Though limited to garbage time, he delivered 16 points in a mere 11 minutes, including 4-4 from three-point land, demonstrating his potential offensive value to the team.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson underwhelmed, combining for a meager 16 points with a 3-13 shooting struggle. Immanuel Quickley, following his robust 21-point preseason opener, fell to a nine-point game, hitting just 25% from the field.

Adding to the mix, Josh Hart debuted this preseason, contributing a three-pointer during his eight minutes on the court.

Looking Ahead: Knicks’ Continued Preseason Battle

While the loss serves as a learning curve, the preseason’s true value lies in understanding players’ offseason developments. The Knicks have shown promising signs on both ends of the court, even as they identify areas for improvement.

The team’s preseason campaign continues Tuesday, Oct. 17, with a face-off against the Boston Celtics at 7:30 p.m. EST at TD Garden, a game fans can catch on NBA TV. This matchup will be a further test for the Knicks’ evolving roster and an opportunity for players to solidify their roles.

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