A win is a win is a win, as Wally Szcerbiak always tells me. You get it and you move on. But this, to me, was another game for the Knicks that was unnecessarily close down the stretch.
The Knicks held leads of at least 14 points in each of the first three-quarters, but just couldn’t put together enough consistency to put away the young T-Wolves. Remember on Wednesday, the Knicks led by 17 points in the fourth before allowing a late 20-3 run to force the need for a game-winning shot and defensive stop by Carmelo Anthony in the final seconds.
On Friday in the second half of the home-and-home, it took a 13-4 run in the latter stages of the fourth quarter — after Minnesota took their first lead of the game at 102-101 — for this one to finally get under control. Derrick Rose was big in crunch time, with seven points in that run and the Knicks defense came up with big blocks when it mattered most.
Kyle O’Quinn had his best game as a Knick with 20 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks with a +16 in 31 minutes. O’Quinn started again for Joakim Noah (ankle) and perhaps the most impressive stat he can add to his resume this season is the Knicks are 4-0 when he starts.
Two of those games came against Minnesota in this home and home sweep, which was more difficult than it needed to be. But if you’re a team that can collect wins while still figuring itself out, you’ll take it.
And the schedule right now is allowing for some margin of error and that has the Knicks (10-9) over .500 and a dominant 8-3 at The Garden. The schedule continues to offer more opportunity over the next few weeks before Christmas. Of the next 10 opponents, 8 of them have losing records. The other two just happen to be the No. 1 teams in the East (Cavs) and the West (Warriors).
Next up is the road-weary Sacramento Kings on Sunday night at The Garden. The Kings have been on the East Coast since last weekend and are 1-2 on the road so far (with a postponed game in Philadelphia). We’ll have Knicks Game Night — with a crazy stat about recent Knicks history in the next Knicks Fix segment — starting at 7 p.m. on MSG Network.