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Timberwolves 102, Knicks 101: Scenes from the tragic return of crunch-time Elfrid Payton

Come back soon, Derrick Rose.

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

The Knicks have been playing with fire all year at the point guard position, and it burned them big time in the fourth quarter on Wednesday night in Minnesota.

New York methodically built a seven-point lead in the first quarter and then really poured it on against the Wolves bench, running out to an 18-point advantage early in the second. Minnesota quickly went back to the starters, and after a few quick Wolves triples, Thibs did the same. But this time the Knicks starting lineup played like ass on both sides of the ball, particularly on D. The Wolves whittled their deficit down to just one point by halftime.

Suddenly, Knicks fans were in a panic. The team has been coming out of halftime like stanky butt recently. Would they continue the trend against an underachieving Wolves team? Not this time. Elfrid Payton actually pretty well in the third quarter, and RJ Barrett caught fire, as they built the lead back up a but.

Unfortunately, Immanuel Quickley couldn’t make a shot, and Alec Burks was sloppy with the ball early in the fourth quarter. Thibs made the choice to reinsert Elf back into the lineup for his first fourth-quarter minutes in a close game in seemingly forever.

From there, things went pretty much how you’d expect from crunch-time Elf minutes: he almost immediately got his pocket picked, then turned the ball over again, and suddenly the Wolves couldn’t miss.

The Knicks had a chance to win at the end thanks to a clutch steal from Reggie Bullock, but RJ Barrett missed at the buzzer and Minnesota walked away with a one-point win.

This was a cool play from RJ, who had 23 points on the night.

Julius Randle had 26 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists. It didn’t matter.

Recap to come.