Who needs Love?
The Knicks didn’t need Kevin Love Wednesday night, as Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler were just fine as they showed rare pride in whipping the Timberwolves, 118-106, at Target Center to snap a seven-game losing streak.
Indeed, it seemed like a Miracle in Minnesota with the Knicks showing resilience in holding off the Timberwolves in the fourth quarter as their expensive Big 3 finally looked the part.
The Knicks stomped on the Timberwolves from the get-go and, after getting their 17-point first-half lead cut to two after three quarters, they didn’t fold as per custom. The Knicks started the fourth on a 17-4 run to improve record to 22-40 — 5¹/₂ games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference with a soft schedule ahead.
“When they made their run, we didn’t buckle,” said embattled Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who picked up his 300th career NBA win. “We made defensive stops and offensive shots. As I told them this morning, until someone tells us we aren’t making the playoffs and have no shot at it, we got to keep playing. Stranger things have happened.”
Anthony racked up 33 points on 14-of-27 shooting. After hitting a pull-up midway through the fourth to put the Knicks up 15, he glared at the Minnesota bench. The swagger was back — for one night.
“I think it was more backs being against the wall,’’ Anthony said. “Coming out fighting and really focusing in on basketball, not worrying about making shots or not. You saw that from the jump ball.
“We looked like a team out there today. Hopefully this win can spark something.’’
Meanwhile, Love, the Knicks’ 2015 free-agent target who averaged 32 points and 20.5 rebounds in his previous four meetings against them, was way off his game — weak on defense and scoring just 19 points with eight rebounds. He shot 6-of-17, making just 3-of-10 from 3-point range.
“We played Love about as well as anyone has played against him this season,” Woodson said.
The Knicks also contained burly Nikola Pekovic (17 points, eight rebounds) who usually causes problems for them inside.
Who needs Love?