In the end the loss was difficult to take but not hard to explain.

The New York Knicks have Carmelo Anthony, a star, tailor-made to fill the go-to role late in games. And that's something the Timberwolves, at least until Kevin Love dons a uniform again, are lacking.

Friday night at Target Center, Ricky Rubio looked like his old self, Luke Ridnour at times looked unstoppable and Derrick Williams looked to be taking another step as the Wolves forged an 11-point lead with 7 minutes left.

But then Anthony took over. He scored 12 of his 36 points in the final 6 1/2 minutes of the game as the Knicks took a 100-94 victory.

The Wolves expressed frustration at having lost for the 14th time in 16 games, expressed skepticism at the calls Anthony got at one end down the stretch and the calls the Wolves didn't get at the other. But the fact is, one team had a closer and the other didn't.

"He's one of the best scorers in the NBA, if not the best," said Williams, who scored 19 points while attempting -- along with Mickael Gelabale and Dante Cunningham -- to slow Anthony. "You just try to battle him the whole time. I tried my best. Myself, Mickael, DC, we all did. But in the fourth quarter they just kept going to him."

This after the Wolves had taken control of the game. Ridnour had 12 of his 20 points in the third quarter, including eight as the Wolves finished it with a 10-2 run and took a 76-70 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Knicks pulled within four early in the fourth, but Williams had six points -- including a slam off a pass from Rubio -- and the Wolves used a 9-2 run to go up 87-76 on Williams' 17-footer with 7:16 left.