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Timberwolves 103, Knicks 92: “Poop emoji”

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Even the Minneapolis winter couldn’t hide the stink of this one.

NBA: New York Knicks at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Riddle me this: there’s a car accident. A child is taken by ambulance to the hospital, where the ER doctor sees the victim and declares, “I can’t operate on this patient.”

“Why not?” the EMT asks. “Are you the father? The mother?”

“No. This patient is already dead.”

New York’s 103-92 loss in Minnesota to a Timberwolves team missing Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins contained the legally minimal amount of involvement by the Knicks necessary to qualify as a game. This one was the rare amalgam of rarely interesting and never competitive. The Knicks were wearing their road whites for the 1000th time this season, which I don’t know what their record in is but I’m pretty sure it’s 0-1000 or I’m just sick of the road whites. The Knicks look good in blue. If I’m gonna watch the worst team of a lifetime mostly spent watching losing teams, at least let ‘em look good losing.

The first quarter was Damyean Dotson scoring 13 to keep the Knicks in a game they were looking to drift away from from the get-go. An early indicator of what would come to pass: Jeff Teague doing whatever he wanted. Teague’s been a starter since 2011 and been better than every Knick point guard he’s ever faced. Ever. Teague is a fine NBA player. He shouldn’t own your team at the position de rigeur for almost a decade. Remember when Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra and Miguel Tejada dominated MLB at shortstop? Imagine some poor fanbase every time they played the Mets — for YEARS — shrugging their shoulders after a loss, going “Rey Ordóñez is just too good, yo.” The fuck!

Both teams were on the SEGABABA. There was entirely too much FARTDOG on the part of the Knicks, leading to entirely too much Taj Gibson at the rim. I promise that’s the last acronym in this recap.

A Dario Šarić three and Teague floater put the Wolves up 10. The half ended with Teague draining a three from the edge of the midcourt logo.

In the third Minnesota biggened their lead, then embiggened it. Dotson did his best to keep this a pedestrian loss rather than a blowout, but he was an island in an ocean dotted with other islands that, were they anthropomorphized into NBA players, would be poor shooters.

In the fourth the lead reached 18. If you’re Up With People and people include Dennis Smith, the 11 he scored in the final frame was a young player trying his darndest to rally the team to compete, an encouraging flare of leadership and never-say-die. If you’re down on DSJ, it was no more than stat-padding by the poor man’s Steve Francis. Surely there are shades of gray, but at 3 a.m. I’m not on that frequency.

New York trailed by 10 with 3:30 left after Mitchell Robinson’s fifth block led to a DSJ breakway lay-up. Taj Gibson missed an open jumper and the Knicks had one more chance to declare their intentions.

Gross.

Notes:

  • A good trivia question from MSG tonight: Derrick Rose was the youngest MVP (22) in NBA history (“was” ‘cuz obviously Robinson will break that mark). Who was the oldest?
  • Mitch didn’t commit his first foul until his 19th minute.
  • There’s not much left to root for this year. I wanna see Robinson shoot a three. Just one. What’s your bucket list these final weeks?
  • As bad as this 67th game of the season was, late in the fourth I looked and saw Robinson (20), Knox (19), Dotson (24), Allonzo Trier (23) and DSJ (21) out there. So young. Such room to grow. Compare that to prior rebuilding periods, like game 67 in 2015, when Andrea Bargnani, Lou Amundson and Point God Alexey Shved all played 30+ minutes; Langston Galloway played 47. Or game 67 in 2010, when Toney Douglas played 36 minutes, Al Harrington 30 and Tracy McGrady 25. I feel like looking back at what I hoped and expected this year, I’m almost entirely OK or pleased with how things have gone. I’ve seen worse, yo.
  • Along those lines: the Knicks have announced Frank Ntilikina will be out the entire road trip. Tonight was his 19th game in a row missed due to injury. Frank’s 2018-19 is the most disappointing storyline of the season for me.
  • The Knicks have an unfortunate history this century of rookies finding success that then either plateau or nosedive. You’re right to be excited by the foundation of this team. Take the trio they added last June: one has Sixth Man Of The Year upside, one could average 20 and 8 as a starter for years, and one could be this century’s Bill Russell. That is, potentially, one transfuckingformative night. Here’s hoping Fizdale, Craig Robinson and Co. are up to the challenge.
  • About a year ago, Minnesota was hanging on to the 3-seed in the West, led by Tom Thibodeau, Jimmy Butler, KAT and Andrew Wiggins. Butler injured his knee, they fell to the 8th seed and lost in five to the Rockets. Now they’re sub-.500, playing out the string, and all those dudes departed or are absent. Lotta empty seats at the Target Center. Shit happens, but that is some shit that happened there, man.
  • Not the same player stylistically at all, and Charles Oakley hit higher heights, I say. But Brooklyn-born Taj Gibson reminds me a bit of Oak. He knows his role, knows what the team needs, and always steps up to do what’s needed. He’s a smart, tough and willing player on both ends of the floor. 25 and 8 for the vet tonight. If he’d spent any time as a Knick, we’d all love him.
  • Gibson wears 67 in honor of attending P.S. 67. Did you know no Knick has ever worn a jersey numbering in the 60s? Every other denomination of 10, from 00 to 91, has gotten run. Can you guess the most frequently worn number in Knick history? Hint: there’s someone on the squad now wearing it.
  • Something called Keita Bates-Diop came into tonight 2 of 14 from deep, averaging a tenth of a three per game. So natch he hit two of three.
  • Couldn’t tell you from the eye test, but in 24 minutes Trier scored 15, including four three-pointers, and joined Robinson as the only positive plus/minus Knicks on the night.
  • I can honestly say since 1990 road games in Minnesota are, somehow almost always, oxymoronically, strikingly forgettable. There was one game back in like 1994 when the Knick guards hit their first 14 shots from the field — pretty sure it was Derek Harper, Hubert Davis and Greg Anthony — but I’ve seen this fixture such so often over the years I’d be cool taking this night off every year for the rest of my life.
  • I’m a Knox fan. Regardless of his struggles. But seeing those struggles in game 67, I’m rooting for him to get this season the hell over with, take some time away and come back in September wiser and stronger.
  • MSG said since February 1st, Robinson has 81.4% of all the Knicks’ blocked shots, the highest rate in the league.
  • DeAndre Jordan opened by missing two dunks and a hook shot on the way to missing seven of eight shots. Not sure what’s weirder: the NBA’s all-time leader in field goal % shooting so poorly, or the act of Jordan unfurling a hook shot. While weird, it wasn’t the strangest sight to be found in an NBA game tonight.

Not the weirdest thing out there by far.

  • The two players after Jordan on the all-time accuracy list are Artis Gilmore and Tyson Chandler. Clyde Frazier pointed out the three leading-shooters in NBA history can’t none of ‘em shoot.
  • To say Minnesota head coach Ryan Saunders looks like he’s crossed paths with cocaine could be considered libelous. So let me be clear: Ryan Saunders doesn’t not look like someone who never hasn’t crossed paths with cocaine.
  • Trivia answer: Karl Malone was 35 when he won MVP in 1999.
  • Jersey answer: 27 Knicks have worn the number 5, currently rocked by DSJ.

Quoth Melo’s Bucket Hat Collection: “Gigantic poop emoji.” Truth. Next game is Tuesday night at Indiana. The Pacers are better than the Wolves, they won’t have as many empty seats and they’re fighting for home-court in the first round. It could get ugly for the Knicks. It’s hard to imagine it getting any uglier than tonight. That’s all the light I got for you. Shine on, you crazy die-hards.