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Knicks hold off short-handed Timberwolves

Sportsnaut
Dec 28, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New York Knicks guard Evan Fournier (13) works between Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) and forward Nathan Knight (13) to shoot the ball in the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 28, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New York Knicks guard Evan Fournier (13) works between Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) and forward Nathan Knight (13) to shoot the ball in the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Mitchell Robinson recorded 14 points and 18 rebounds Tuesday night for the New York Knicks, who squandered a 17-point, first-half lead before gradually pulling away to earn a 96-88 win over the undermanned Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis.

Julius Randle (13 points, 15 rebounds) also had a double-double as the Knicks won their second straight — their first winning streak since a three-game run from Oct. 26-30. Starters Evan Fournier (13 points) and Kemba Walker (10 points) also got into double figures while Quentin Grimes added 11 points off the bench.

Malik Beasley scored 20 points for the Timberwolves, whose top three scorers — Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell — remained sidelined. Towns and Russell are in COVID-19 protocols while Edwards was cleared from protocols but didn’t play as he looks to regain his fitness.

Jaden McDaniels scored 18 points and Jaylen Nowell had 11 points off the bench for the Timberwolves, whose streak of 100-plus-point games ended at 20.

Grimes and Taj Gibson combined for 10 unanswered points to end a 20-4 run spanning the first and second quarters by the Knicks, who took a 39-22 lead with 9:51 left in the first half. The Timberwolves scored the next seven points before the teams combined to go 5-for-25 with four turnovers following Grimes’ 3-pointer with 6:40 remaining.

The Timberwolves had their own quarter-spanning run — a 12-0 surge bridging the second and third quarters — and took a short-lived lead at 45-44 on McDaniels’ dunk off a steal 1:46 into the third.

Fournier hit a 3-pointer 31 seconds later to give the Knicks the lead for good and begin a 15-3 run by the visitors, who went ahead 59-48 on Walker’s 3-pointer with 5:09 left in the period.

The Timberwolves scored the next seven points before the Knicks ended the quarter on a 13-7 run.

Immanuel Quickley opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to extend New York’s lead to 75-62. The Timberwolves mounted several mini-threats the rest of the way and twice got within four points — the last time at 85-81 on Greg Monroe’s layup with 5:07 remaining — but they shot just 3 of 10 from the field the rest of the way.

–Field Level Media