The Knicks drop one late after battling back in the second half spoiling Julius Randle’s career-high 57-point night at the Garden.

The New York Knicks (42-31) dropped another home game to the Minnesota Timberwolves (36-37) by a final score of 14-137. Despite a monster game from Julius Randle who scored 57 points, the Knicks could not keep up with Minnesota and their big shooting night.

In the first quarter, the Knicks’ offense looked aggressive as Jalen Brunson sought to collapse the Timberwolves’ defense and allow for his starting unit around him to get open looks as a result. But, their defense was lackluster on the other end, allowing for Minnesota to keep answering back to all of their shots. Taurean Prince was especially lethal for the Wolves, and the team overall did not miss a shot for the first five minutes of the game. New York was struggling to keep up with the pace that Minnesota was setting, but they were still scoring pretty consistently throughout the period to prevent total domination from them. The Wolves went a mind-boggling 10-10 from the field until about the five-minute mark of the quarter. But, even with their first miss, the Knicks did not tighten up on defense and were allowing Rudy Gobert to dominate the paint on both ends of the floor. Despite the barrage, New York was down just ten headed into the second quarter.

The Knicks had to put down the clamps on defense to prevent another high-scoring quarter from the Wolves. To kick off the second, it did start to look like Minnesota was finally slowing down with their shotmaking while New York was beginning to get things going on offense with their bench unit. But, the Wolves were continuing to get into the paint fairly easily, while the Knicks were just starting to take advantage of Gobert-less minutes. Unfortunately for New York, Minnesota only cooled off in a blink of an eye and started to heat up once again from the field. The Knicks, especially once Brunson came back into the game, were crawling back into the game here and there, but the Wolves simply could not miss. They finished up the half down 79-70, and the game was within reach with two quarters to go. The second half opened much like it began, with both teams going back and forth and it never felt too certain that the Knicks would not be able to climb back into the game.

Thanks to Randle who was on a heater, New York was keeping within about ten points every possession or so but was unable to get stops consistently against a determined Minnesota squad. Despite Randle being a human torch, New York could not stop hacking and whacking the Wolves in the paint, which got them in the penalty early and was making it hard to mount a serious comeback. But, after Randle managed to hit his career high in points with a whopping 51, the Knicks had finally tied things up with three minutes to go in the period. They ended the third only down one point, with 12 minutes left to go to close things out at the Garden.

New York had to find offense outside of Randle and cut down significantly on their fouls if they wanted to take the lead and hold it for the rest of the game for a win. With him sitting, the Knicks were relying on their bench to keep things going in the first portion of the fourth. Behind some great finishes from Josh Hart and timely scoring from Barrett, they grabbed a four-point lead quickly. They couldn’t maintain it with Taurean Prince lights out from three-point range for the Wolves, but the bench was battling. As starters started coming back onto the court, including the red-hot Randle, the contest was once again a back-and-forth affair. Things were tied up with just under three minutes to go as the Knicks were appearing a bit discombobulated on offense.

The Wolves suddenly surged back, going up six with just under a minute to go behind yet another Prince three-pointer. Even with a last-minute heroic effort from Randle to get them within three with around 30 seconds to go, Minnesota answered right back with yet another big shot, and they finished the game with the win over the Knicks. Randle, of course, was the team’s leading scorer with 57. He also had four rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Brunson had 23 points, 10 assists, two rebounds, and a steal. Barrett finished up with 13 points, three assists, and two rebounds while Robinson had nine rebounds, two steals, and two blocks, but no points. Quentin Grimes had one three-pointer, two rebounds, and two assists. Quickley led the bench in scoring with 19 points, three assists, and a steal, while Hart had 10 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Isaiah Hartenstein had five points, eight rebounds, and three assists and Obi Toppin had four points and a rebound.

Next Up: New York will be facing off against the sixth-seed Miami Heat on Wednesday night down in South Florida.

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