The Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks are set to clash at Madison Square Garden on Monday evening.
The Knicks, having lost 4 of their last 5 games, aim to break their three-match losing streak after suffering a 126:140 defeat to the Indiana Pacers. In this game, Donte DiVincenzo performed splendidly, scoring 38 points with 15 successful throws out of 21 attempts. Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson also made significant contributions, scoring 28 points each, while Josh Hart added 10 points. Overall, the Knicks showcased a 47% successful throw rate from the game and 17 out of 37 from the three-point line, but their play deteriorated in the third quarter, as they fell 17 points behind. The absence of effective bench players, except for Evan Fournier, who scored 10 points, further complicated the situation.
The Knicks, having not won a championship since 1973, are hoping that 2024 will prove successful for them. On Monday, they will face the Minnesota Timberwolves in New York. The team also concluded a significant trade, acquiring OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, and Malachi Flynn from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley.
The Timberwolves are on fine form, securing 7 victories from their last 9 fixtures and aiming for a third consecutive win following their 108:106 triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers. Anthony Edwards made a significant contribution to this victory, scoring 31 points with 10 successful shots out of 23 attempts, while Naz Reid added 21 points, making 8 out of 11 throws. Mike Conley also shined, scoring 15 points and making 7 passes. The Timberwolves showcased a 50% successful shot rate from the game and 12 out of 34 from the three-point line, putting up a tense battle with the Lakers and starting to pull away in the final quarter. Karl-Anthony Towns scored just 9 points with 5 steals, but Edwards and Reid proved themselves as key players, particularly Reid, who performed effectively from the bench.
In their 35 years of existence, the Timberwolves have never claimed a title. Their success this season is based on defence and their ability to win tight matches. The Timberwolves also boast a high free throw percentage, with Edwards frequently scoring from the free throw line. Head coach Chris Finch emphasised the importance of defence and the ability to make decisive throws in tight matches, as well as Edwards' contribution to the team's successful performance.
Earlier in the season, on November 21, the Timberwolves secured a confident win over the Knicks with a score of 117:100.
The Timberwolves have emerged as one of the strongest teams this season, approaching the upcoming match with confidence, especially following their recent victory over the Lakers. In contrast, the New York Knicks are experiencing a tough period, particularly after their heavy defeat to the Indiana Pacers, despite an excellent performance from DiVincenzo. Taking into account the current form of both teams, I believe the Timberwolves are set to secure a victory again.