Timberwolves overcome by starving Knicks, Carmelo Anthony
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kurt Rambis spent two largely forgettable seasons as the head coach in Minnesota, battling former boss David Kahn and losing 100 more games than he won before being fired.
Even though he wouldn't admit it, it had to feel a little extra special to get his first victory as the New York Knicks' interim coach against the team that tried to make him the scapegoat for all of its problems.
Carmelo Anthony had 30 points and 11 rebounds and the Knicks snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 103-95 victory over the Timberwolves on Saturday night.
"It's nice to win anywhere," said Rambis, who was 32-132 with the Timberwolves. "I don't care where you're at. It's just nice to win anywhere."
Robin Lopez had 26 points and 16 rebounds to give Rambis his first victory since taking over for the fired Derek Fisher three games ago. The Knicks outrebounded Minnesota 51-31 and led by 24 points early in the fourth quarter for their first victory since Jan. 29 against Phoenix.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and eight rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins scored 24 points for the Timberwolves. Ricky Rubio had 16 assists, but they dropped their second straight out of the All-Star break after winning three of four going into it.
Shabazz Muhammad scored 20 for the Wolves, but Anthony's shot-making in the second half more than made up for an off night from Knicks star rookie Kristaps Porzingis, who had six points and four rebounds while battling foul trouble all night.
Towns thoroughly out-shined fellow rookie standout Kristaps Porzingis, who has seen his production level off some over the last few weeks as it does with most rookies in a long season.
Towns has seen no such issues with the "rookie wall," blowing through it, playing more minutes and making a bigger impact as the season has gone on. It was more of the same on Saturday night, with Towns carrying the offensive load for the Wolves in a night when Wiggins got off to an 0-for-5 start.
He scored 10 straight for the Wolves in the second quarter to wake them up, but he made just 10 of 23 shots on an uncharacteristically inefficient night.
"It's not even missing a shot, it's more that shots were going in and out," Towns said. "That's the most upsetting part. You can fix misses. You can't fix in-and-out."
While Porzingis was limited to 12 minutes, Lopez had his way with the Wolves down low, especially in the best quarter of his career. He got the Knicks off to a great start with a career-high 16 points in the first quarter after entering the night averaging just 9.3 points per game.
"For me it's more my teammates are confident throwing me the ball, confident in watching me go to work," Lopez said. "Staff, coaches, it's a lot easier to perform when you're in a situation like that."
Anthony battled a sore left knee in the first half of the season, but said he is starting to feel better now. He played 37 minutes in the loss to Brooklyn on Friday night and 41 against the Wolves, scoring 10 of his points in the fourth quarter.
"Whatever I got to do try to get these wins up I'm going to do it," Anthony said.
The highly anticipated rematch between Towns and Porzingis -- the two clear front-runners for the rookie of the year award -- never really materialized. Porzingis had just six points and two rebounds and was limited to 12 minutes by foul trouble.
"I made some fouls in the beginning and couldn't find my rhythm, but at least Karl had a good game," Porzingis said. "He's been doing great for his team, and that's great to see a rookie is doing that well in his first year for his team."
Knicks: Anthony became the 30th player to score 22,000 career points on a jumper in the fourth quarter. . . . The 20-rebound advantage was a season-high for the Knicks.
Timberwolves: Towns, Wiggins and Zach LaVine were recognized for their accomplishments at All-Star weekend. Wiggins scored 29 points in the Rising Stars game, LaVine won MVP of that game and his second straight dunk contest and Towns won the Skills Challenge. . . . LaVine finished with 14 points.
Knicks: Host Toronto on Monday.
Timberwolves: Host Boston on Monday.