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Timberwolves at Knicks: Game #25

The Wolves are in New York to face the Knicks tonight, return home for a game, then head right back to play in Brooklyn and Boston Sunday and Monday. Yay scheduling!

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Wolves at Knicks
6:30 CST
FS North

Lets see. At Knicks on the 2nd night of a back to back. Back home for a game, then in Brooklyn and Boston Sunday and Monday. Terrific scheduling.

Anyway, this could be a fun one, with the Towns vs. Porzingis match up on everybody's radar. Both teams have been slipping and need a win.

Cause I already wrote about this in the game preview, here's some copy and paste cause that's how I'm rolling today:

On the surface, these are similar teams. Both are getting outscored by about 2 points a game. Both are a little below average both offensively and defensively, but not on the extremes. (Knicks are 19th and 16th respectively, Wolves 15th and 20th). Neither team takes or makes a ton of threes, and both struggle to shoot efficiently (27th and 22nd in efg% respectively).

The Knicks do a better job contesting shots (5th best efg% against in the league), but the Wolves (surprisingly) are a better defensive rebounding team and force more turnovers. Both teams get to the line well, but the Wolves are 1st in the league in FT/FGA.

Both start Spanish point guards who are long time teammates on the Spanish national team--Jose Calderon and Ricky Rubio. That should be a fun little match up.

On the wing, Andrew Wiggins get to match up with a player he's often compared to: Carmelo Anthony. Melo continues to carry a 30% usage rate for the Knicks, but appears to be declining from his best days, as his 2P% is down as is his FTr. He's taking more threes than ever (and hitting them at a career average 34.5% rate), but getting to the rim a lot less (barely 20% of his shots are within 3 feet compared with a 34% career average), and converting there at a career low 50% (59% career). It seems clear that his athleticism has diminished to the point that it's affecting his ability to get to the basket and finish.

The headliner tonight though is the match up between Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis. These are by far the two best rookies in the league this year, and both have impressed observers with their variety of skills at such young ages. Towns is a bit ahead of Porzingis in the Rookie of the Year race (I think), but Porzingis has been much better much earlier than I anticipated.

He's struggled a bit the last few games, culminating in an 0-6, zero point outing against Portland, but perhaps a few days rest will see him rejuvenated for this one.

He's averaged 18 and 11 per 36 minutes with 2.4 blocks added in. He's shot the three well (over 35%), but his 2P% is a poor 46%. Still, he's been very impressive doing a variety of things including hitting the offensive glass, making three pointers, making free throws, and being a positive force for the Knicks at age 20. He looks like a star.

We all know what Towns has been doing: Playing terrific ball in all facets. The players actually have quite a few statistical similarities. The big differences are that Porzingis takes a lot more threes, but Towns is way more efficient with much higher raw fg%, efg%, and TS%.

It should be a fun one.

Expected lineups


Jose Calderon
Arron Afflalo
Carmelo Anthony
Kristaps Porzingis
Robin Lopez

Wolves: Who knows? KG might sit, and the hinted at change might take effect.

Ricky Rubio
Kevin Martin
Andrew Wiggins
Adreian Payne
Karl-Anthony Towns

Our blogging buddies are over at Posting and Toasting, be excellent.

No pics gifs links to illegal streams.

Enjoy. Chat. Go.