The Knicks took an L from the Timberwolves in the team’s first game back from the All-Star break—and Emmanuel Mudiay’s first contest from an injury.

The New York Knicks (11-48) began the post–All Star Weekend stretch with a loss to the below .500 Minnesota Timberwolves (28-30), falling 115-104. New Jersey native Karl-Anthony Towns was unavailable, but once the Wolves gained a sizable lead, it was simply a matter of time before the Knicks secured their fate.

Here are the key notes of the matchup:



Damyean Dotson was percolating early, scoring the Knicks’ first 11 points. With the hot hand early, he was the go-to option. His five three-point field goals in the first quarter helped him reach 18 points in the period, a season-high for any Knick this season.

Scorching hot, he was doing it all in the first half: he played lock-down, pesky defense, and made key passes that opened up the offense. It was almost like he was channeling another wing from Houston who was giving the Timberwolves a hard time early this season.

Dotson ended the first half with 20 points and didn’t score a point in the second half, but his presence was still felt on the court.

Iso Zo

Allonzo Trier had a consistent, efficient game, giving the Knicks a much-needed lift in the second quarter and continuing this output throughout the game. His second quarter duel against former Knick Derrick Rose was imperative to keeping the deficit within striking distance. Zo ended the game shooting 7-of-11 from the field, 1-for-1 from three, and 5-for-5 from the free throw line. True to his brand, he dished only one assist.

Dennis Smith Jr. vs. Emmanuel Mudiay

Dennis Smith Jr.’s scoring never quite took off against the Timberwolves, but he did have a brain-pulverizing dunk that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Even bigger than that, he finished the game with seven assists and five turnovers in his 21 minutes of action. In the second half, Smith was effectively replaced by Emmanuel Mudiay, Fizdale’s protégé who came back from an injury. Mudiay helped the Knicks mount a futile comeback attempt. He shot 6-of-16 from the field and tallied one assist with four turnovers.

The team looked a little lethargic, and the offense was a little less than well-oiled with him at the helm. Still, Mudiay finished with 15 points.


The Knicks couldn’t stop the Wolves’ outside shooters at all, allowing them to shoot 45.8 percent from beyond the arc.  Anthony Tolliver and Luol Deng specifically frustrated the neophytes by goading them into silly fouls and taking advantage of three-point attempts. Old Man Tolliver ended the game shooting 4-for-5 from three. Dario Saric was 3-of-4, and even Andrew Wiggins shot 3-of-5 on three-point attempts. The 19-4 run by the Timberwolves in the second quarter all but solidified the Knicks’ demise.

The bright side?

  • Kevin Knox had a slow start, but hit a stride later in the game. In the third quarter he hit two three-pointers and converted an and-one. He ended the game 3-of-7 from three and 5-for-14 overall. It’s not great, but it’s a start.
  • DeAndre Jordan had a big game for himself. The big man shot 5-of-8 from the field and 6-of-8 from the free-throw line. He had a 16-point, 19-rebound double-double by the end of the game. His lapses on defense exposed the Knicks’ interior, but at least he has another double-double to show folks he still has…something.
  • Mitchell Robinson couldn’t get much going on offense, but he defended as well as he could in his 13 minutes of action. He ended the game with three blocks.


All-Star Weekend is finished. Play time is over. At this point in the season, the Knicks are playing for pride. The Wolves got the best of the Knicks largely due to experience. Hopefully, the Knicks will be able to best the San Antonio Spurs with the zeal they showed tonight.