Knicks vs. Wolves – Madison Square Garden
When: Sunday| 5:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG Networks
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York: Following a loss to Chicago on Friday, the Knicks relinquished their lead in the Eastern Conference. At 19-7, New York suffered its second loss of the season at home and faces some challenges with injuries along the frontline. Rasheed Wallace has a stress reaction in his left foot and he is listed as day-to-day. New York’s veteran center joins Marcus Camby on the sidelines while Amar’e Stoudemire continues to work through rehab with no official timetable for his return. At the conclusion of Sunday’s contest, the Knicks will board a plane for Los Angeles and prepare for a three-game road trip starting with a matchup against the Lakers on Christmas Day.
Minnesota: Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and a revamped roster has the fans in Minnesota thinking about a return to the postseason for the first time in nine years. The team acquired Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger, Andrei Kirilenko, Dante Cunningham, Louis Amundson, Greg Stiemsa, and Alexey Shved as part of a major overhaul this offseason. Unfortunately, the Wolves have dealt with a myriad of injuries to key players. Rubio just returned from a serious knee injury suffered last year, Roy is struggling with his knee and out until late December, Budinger will not return until March, and Love (eye) has been ruled out of Sunday’s game. Remarkably, Minnesota has weathered the storm while compiling a 13-11 record by winning its last five of seven games.
Last Time Out
New York: Four were ejected and the Knicks fell 110-106 in a wild contest at the Garden on Friday night.
Minnesota: The Wolves notched one of their biggest wins in recent memory with a 99-93 triumph over the Thunder on Thursday night.
The Numbers Game
The Knicks average 104.9 points per game in 13 home contests and they own an 11-2 mark this season at Madison Square Garden.
Match-up to Watch
Tyson Chandler vs. Nikola Pekovic
Pekovic may have exceeded the Wolves expectations as he continues to impress in his third season in Minnesota. The big man is averaging a career-best 16 points and 7.9 rebounds per game this year. With Tyson Chandler patrolling the paint for New York, this specific matchup will be intriguing on Sunday night. Chandler will have to force Pekovic out of the box and limit his second chance opportunities. Additionally, the Knicks Defensive Player of the Year needs to stay out of foul trouble, especially with the lack of frontcourt depth on the New York bench.
What to Look For
Love’s absence is a serious setback for the Wolves. He is the team’s leading scorer, rebounder, and the reigning 3-Point Contest champion. Without Love in the lineup, Minnesota will look to find a rebounding presence at other positions as they rank No. 5 in the entire league by ripping down 45.6 boards per game. The Wolves have several offensive weapons and gifted passers, including Rubio and Shved, an up-and-coming guard tandem in the backcourt. The real issue for Minnesota will be its ability to match the Knicks on the offensive side of the floor. New York will be highly motivated to end the long homestand on a positive note after falling to Chicago on Friday. The Knicks are averaging 102.9 points per game this season and expect a big offensive performance from the home team and Anthony.