The Knicks again try to take out their frustrations on the hapless Timberwolves on Sunday night at the Target Center.
After a 106-104 loss to Toronto on Thursday, New York (18-28) was hoping to bounce back Saturday at Southeast Division-worst Washington. Instead, the Knicks were outplayed, falling behind by as many as 18 points en route to a 106-96 defeat.
The loss was tough to swallow, but wasn’t New York’s most embarrassing defeat of the week.
Last Sunday, the Knicks suffered the most lopsided home loss in franchise history, falling 128-78 to Dallas. They didn’t stay down for long, bouncing back Tuesday with a convincing 132-105 win over the Timberwolves (10-38) at Madison Square Garden.
New York, which led by as many as 36, matched a season high in points and made a season-best 17 3-pointers. David Lee(notes) led the way by shooting 12 of 17 and finishing with 28 points and 10 rebounds, while Al Harrington(notes) added 26 points and 10 boards.
Lee, who found out this week he didn’t make the All-Star team, had 24 points Saturday against the Wizards, but fell one rebound shy of recording his eighth straight double-double.
Harrington, New York’s second-leading scorer with an average of 17.9 points, sat out Saturday with a sore right knee and is also expected to miss this game.
After being routed by the Knicks, the Wolves dropped their fifth in a row Wednesday, falling 109-95 at Cleveland. Minnesota returned home Friday and ended the skid with a 111-97 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Searching for a spark, coach Kurt Rambis tweaked the starting lineup to make his first and second units more balanced. Damien Wilkins(notes) went to the bench and Ryan Hollins(notes) started at center.
The adjustment seemed to work for the Wolves, who scored the game’s first nine points and led 19-5 after seven minutes en route to just their third win in 17 games.
Hollins matched a career-high with 19 points, shooting 7 of 11 as Minnesota made 52.4 percent of its attempts from the field - the first time this month it made more than half its shots.
Whatever happens Sunday, it can’t be much worse for the Wolves than in Tuesday’s meeting with the Knicks.
Minnesota trailed 40-16 after one quarter en route to its 11th loss of the season by 20 points or more. Love finished with season lows of six points and five rebounds, while Al Jefferson(notes), who averages a team-best 17.7 points, had a season-worst four points on 2-of-8 shooting.
The Wolves are trying to avoid being swept by the Knicks in a season series for the first time since losing both meetings in 2000-01.
It likely won’t be easy. Minnesota has won consecutive games only once this season, beating New Jersey and Washington - teams with a combined 20-71 record - on Dec. 23 and 26.