It's not very often than an NBA game can be won in the first quarter, but that is exactly what happened at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.
The New York Knickerbockers started off well in the first five minutes of the game as they took an early 11-8 lead. But everything went downhill for the home team, including the defense, as the Wolves would outscore New York 32-8 in the final 7:27 of the first to take a 40-19 lead. The Knicks would get as close as two in the fourth quarter but could not get any closer as the Wolves would outscore New York 9-2 in the final 4:45 of the game for a 109-100 defeat for the Knickerbockers.
"You just can't come out in your homecourt and dig a hole like we did tonight," said Coach Mike Woodson. "A lot of it was on turnovers. We gave up about three buckets behind our defense early on because we didn't have good court balance. It's tough to swallow, especially when you come into the game holding your first two opponents to about 80 points a game."
Metta World Peace had a strong game off the bench as led New York with a +17, and scored 17 points. World Peace looked like the best player on the court for New York as he continued to drive to the rim and score easy baskets. Something that New York didn't do enough of in the second half in order to complete the comeback.
"There were time we settled for the jumper," said Woodson. We've got to put the ball on the floor and try to get to the hole. We got three-point happy after making one or two and cutting the lead. And then we settled."
The home crowd couldn't believe how poor of a start their team had as they booed at the effort given by the team. New York had six turnovers that led to 11 Wolves points, shot 30 percent from the field, and allowed Minnesota to shoot 67% from the field which ultimately put the Knicks in a hole that they couldn't recover from.
Carmelo Anthony had 22 points and 17 rebounds for the Knicks but has had a very poor start to the season in terms of shooting the basketball. Anthony had a dismal first half shooting only 2-9 from the field for only six points. Anthony found his touch in the second half shooting 6-12 from the field for 16 points. He entered Sunday night with only a shooting percentage of 37.5%
"That first quarter got us," said Anthony. "Giving up 40 points in one quarter, not taking care of the baksetball..that came back to haunt us."
Another problem for the Knicks was that they had no answer for Kevin Love or Kevin Martin. Both of them led the way for the Wolves as they combined to score 64 points on 19-31 shooting. Love also added in 15 rebounds and five assists as New York had no answer for him.
"You can't let two guys come into our arena and get 30 points, that can't happen," said Woodson.
Despite the huge deficit, New York was able to get back into the game thanks to a 17-5 run to begin the fourth quarter that culminated with an Iman Shumpert 3-pointer from the corner. But a delay of game call on Pablo Prigioni following the made three pointer ended the Knicks momentum. After the technical free throw, Martin hit a dagger three pointer that pushed the lead up to six within a span of 10 seconds.
"We started playing with some energy. We started feeling desperate," Anthony said. "We dug ourselves a hole. We started fighting out that hole. We gave ourselves a chance to get back in the basketball game."