Knicks-Timberwolves Preview

BY foxsports • February 20, 2016

The New York Knicks hit a new low during a dismal stretch this week, but maybe a matchup against one of the NBA's worst teams will help.

Of course, it could also result in another rock bottom.

The reeling Knicks seek only their second win in the last month when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.

New York (23-33) followed six straight losses before the All-Star break with Friday's 109-98 defeat at Brooklyn, the club's seventh straight road loss to the Eastern Conference's second-worst team.

The seven-game overall skid is the Knicks' longest of the season and drops them to 1-11 since a 118-111 overtime win over Utah on Jan. 20.

The drought resulted in the firing of Derek Fisher on Feb. 8, though interim coach Kurt Rambis insists the Knicks still have playoff aspirations this season. They have plummeted six games back of Charlotte and Chicago for the eighth seed in the East.

Performances like Friday's won't help as New York's 16 turnovers turned into 21 points for the Nets, who dominated inside with a 48-32 scoring advantage in the paint.

"That's the game right there," said Carmelo Anthony, who finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists. "We can't be giving away games like this. It's crunch time now."

It's hard to pinpoint if it's the offense or defense that has resulted in New York's demise. The Knicks' 42.2 field-goal percentage and 97.1 points per game since Jan. 22 each rank toward the bottom of the league, and their opponents are shooting 46.4 percent in that stretch, including 40.8 from 3-point range.

New York might soon get a shot in the arm offensively, but it won't come in this game. The Knicks announced Friday that they plan to sign guard Jimmer Fredette to a 10-day contract on Monday.

Fredette is a former college player of the year at BYU and has played well for New York's Development League team, though he has averaged just 6 points for three NBA teams since Milwaukee took him with the 10th pick of the 2011 draft.

Rambis has lost both his games since taking over for Fisher and faces his former team on Saturday. He coached the Timberwolves to a 32-132 record from 2009-11.

Minnesota (17-38) entered the break with wins in three of four games but returned with Friday's 109-104 loss at Memphis.

The Timberwolves, who have won four of six at Target Center, have averaged 109.7 points over their previous six games overall but allowed 110.5 in the same span.

Turnovers also doomed the Wolves in their latest loss with their 22 against the Grizzlies marking their most since matching that number Dec. 26.

"We were a little careless with the ball and the outlet passes," said Zach LaVine, who made 4 of 6 from 3-point range and scored 22 points. "We were making some dumb passes. You know, just not the right ones."

The Knicks' 107-102 win at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 16 snapped Minnesota's two-game streak in this series.

Anthony fell one assist shy of a triple-double with 20 points and 15 rebounds, while Ricky Rubio had 12 assists, 10 boards, nine points and eight steals for the Wolves.

Arron Afflalo had 29 points for the Knicks, and Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota.

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