Knicks-Timberwolves Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 07, 2013
The New York Knicks had trouble defending a young point guard in their last game. Now they'll be up against a passing wizard. Ricky Rubio has totaled 25 assists in his last two games for the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves heading into Friday night's home matchup with the Knicks. New York (31-16) had a five-game win streak snapped with Wednesday's 106-96 loss at Washington. The Knicks had trouble defending John Wall on the pick-and-roll, with the Wizards guard finishing with 21 points and nine assists. "It all works hand in hand," coach Mike Woodson said. "Perimeter guys have to do their job, our bigs have to do their job. That's how you become a good defensive team and you win." The Knicks now seek a split of this two-game trip and fourth straight win over Minnesota (18-28), which has numerous injured players unavailable in Kevin Love (hand), Chase Budinger (knee) and Brandon Roy (knee). Rubio is not among them. The flashy second-year Spanish guard is not the scorer that Wall is, but he's a better passer as evidenced by how he has matched the best two-game assist total of his young career. His passing skills haven't translated to victories, with the Timberwolves losing eight of nine. Still, the club likes what it has seen from Rubio this week in a 14-assist performance against Portland rookie Damian Lillard and an 11-assist effort versus San Antonio's Tony Parker. "He's been playing really well lately," center Greg Stiemsma said. "His pace of the game, his playcalling, everything is elevated. It's fun to see, fun to be a part of." Adding to Minnesota's lengthy injury list is forward Andrei Kirilenko, who is doubtful after he missed Wednesday's 104-94 loss to the Spurs with a bruised right quadriceps. The Wolves aren't making excuses. "We can't worry about who is not here," coach Rick Adelman said. "We have to play with the people we have." The Knicks don't want to overlook Minnesota, which fell 94-91 in New York on Dec. 23. "Any team can beat you in this league if you're not mentally and physically ready to play," Woodson said. Carmelo Anthony scored 33 in the first meeting and his teams have won 15 of their last 16 games against Minnesota, including all seven visits to the Target Center - where he has not played since joining New York. It has been more than two seasons since Amare Stoudemire last faced the Wolves on Dec. 6, 2010. Stoudemire has been finding a rhythm off the bench, averaging 18.4 points on 67.6 percent shooting over his last seven games. Knicks center Tyson Chandler had his streak of 20-rebound games end at three after he grabbed 13 against the Wizards. Emerging Wolves center Nikola Pekovic has totaled 42 points and 30 rebounds in his last two matchups against Chandler and New York. The Knicks are second in the NBA in 3-point shooting at 38.4 percent but went 6 for 26 (23.1) in the first meeting for their third-worst mark of the season. Minnesota is last in the league at 30.2 percent.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Teams believe Browns somehow will get Trubisky

JJ Watt offers to help pay Rockets owner’s fine

WATCH: Birthday boy Aaron Judge homers and makes spectacular catch at Fenway

Predators rookie Kevin Fiala carted off and hospitalized after gruesome collision

Warriors invite members of ‘We Believe’ team to playoff game

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Emails suggest no foul play in Eli Manning memorabilia case

Report: Adrian Beltre not close to return to Rangers

Rockets owner Leslie Alexander fined $100,000 for confronting official

Pirates call up Gift Ngoepe, first MLB player from African continent

Genie Bouchard: Maria Sharapova is ‘cheater,’ should be banned for life

Browns’ Joe Thomas: ‘I’m already seeing memory loss’

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

The 'Bonehead blunder that watered down the 1931 AL home run crown' quiz

Draft prospects we're most excited to see in the NFL

Stanley Cup Playoffs: The West is full of surprises

Box Score 4/26: NFL Draft eve

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Paul Millsap needs a twin phone

Perfect matches: Handpicking players for certain teams in the 2017 NFL Draft

NFL Draft do-overs we'd most like to see

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

The 'Bonehead blunder that watered down the 1931 AL home run crown' quiz

Draft prospects we're most excited to see in the NFL

Stanley Cup Playoffs: The West is full of surprises

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Paul Millsap needs a twin phone

Perfect matches: Handpicking players for certain teams in the 2017 NFL Draft

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker