Knicks takeaways from Saturday’s 121-112 preseason loss to Timberwolves, including RJ Barrett’s 23 points

Following their victory over the Celtics in the preseason opener, the New York Knicks faced the Minnesota Timberwolves at MSG on Saturday night, resulting in a 121-112 defeat.

The Knicks started with their potential opening night lineup, featuring Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes, and Mitchell Robinson.

Key Takeaways…

– The Knicks made an 8-0 run at the beginning of the game, with Grimes and Barrett attacking the basket. Barrett secured a couple of and-ones, rewarding his aggressive play. The team drew four personal fouls within the first four minutes.

The T’Wolves struggled to score early on but managed to cut the Knicks’ lead with a few runs. New York maintained their aggressiveness and earned 14 free-throw attempts. Minnesota closed the first quarter with a 4-0 run, trailing the Knicks 30-28. The starters played most of the quarter, with Josh Hart making his preseason debut and delighting the MSG crowd with a hustle play to save a loose ball. Hart’s energetic style of play has earned him a dedicated fanbase.

– In the second quarter, the Knicks’ secondary unit saw significant playing time. Donte DiVincenzo showcased his defensive skills, while Evan Fournier knocked down some shots. Fournier scored 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-4 from the three-point line. However, the Timberwolves’ relentless offense led them to take a 57-54 lead at halftime.

Barrett led the Knicks with 15 points, shooting 4-for-8 from the field. He also made 7-of-8 free throws in his 14 minutes of play. Randle struggled with his shot, scoring only one point on 0-for-5 shooting. However, he contributed with five rebounds and three assists in 15 minutes. Brunson scored nine points on 1-of-5 shooting, but his free-throw shooting was perfect, going 7-for-7.

– The Knicks entered the third quarter with only three made three-pointers. However, Randle found his rhythm midway through the quarter, hitting consecutive threes. Barrett added a three-pointer to cap a 9-2 run, giving the Knicks the lead after the Timberwolves took control due to poor defense and missed shots.

Despite Barrett’s efforts, Minnesota responded with a 6-0 run, building a significant lead with two minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Timberwolves’ ball movement countered the Knicks’ defensive aggressiveness, resulting in both teams being tied at 84 at the end of the third.

– In the fourth quarter, Minnesota’s Naz Reid started with a three-pointer, his fifth of the game, followed by another three-pointer during a 6-0 run to begin the final frame. The Timberwolves extended their lead to double digits, leading to both teams clearing their benches and bringing in their third and fourth units.

Isaiah Roby showcased energy on both ends of the floor for the Timberwolves, while Miles McBride became the Knicks’ top offensive option, knocking down three-pointers. The game turned into a fast-paced affair with little defensive effort as players from both teams tried to impress their respective sides with their skills.

– Although the Knicks displayed an impressive offensive performance, the Timberwolves stood out for their three-point shooting. They made 20 of their 48 attempts, while the Knicks went 13-for-35.

As for the usual rotation players, Brunson did not play in the second half. Randle finished with seven points, eight rebounds, and four assists on 2-of-8 shooting in 23 minutes. Barrett was the driving force for the Knicks, scoring 23 points in 26 minutes, shooting 6-of-15 from the field and 9-of-12 from the free-throw line.


Upcoming Game

The Knicks will face the Celtics in Boston on Tuesday, Oct. 17, with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.


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