NEW YORK – The wheels came off for the Timberwolves, they let go of the rope, whatever metaphor they have used in the past, that's what was happening in the third of quarter of what turned out to be a 112-110 Wolves win over the Knicks.
The Wolves had watched a 10-point lead vanish after the Knicks outscored them 40-25 in the third. As coach Chris Finch said, the Knicks came out with the mindset that they want to get even more physical with the Wolves, and they were successful.
Karl-Anthony Towns said there were plenty of nights the Wolves might have lost this kind of game in a hostile environment after giving up a lead.
"For a young team … we've always found ways to lose games like these," Towns said. "So to have that kind of outcome be different now and we're finding ways to win throughout all the adversity and all the commotion is a sense of growth from a young team."
Added Finch: "We didn't put our head down. We had opportunities to do so but we kept battling and no matter who we shuffled in and out of the lineup they came in ready to play, ready to contribute."
That included Jaylen Nowell, whose 11 fourth-quarter points provided a shot in the arm when the Wolves were struggling.
"I just saw that they couldn't guard one-on-one at the end of the day," Nowell said. "When I was at the top of the key, I knew that I could attack anybody who was guarding me, so I just kept going, kept going and kept going."
Finch talked before the game about not wanting to get into a halfcourt "wrestling match" with the physical Knicks and wanted the team to get out in transition. The Wolves had 12 fast-break points as officials ended up calling 55 fouls on the night. It may not have been the style of play Finch wanted, but the Wolves ended up with the win anyway.
"Proud of our guys for fighting through it, matching the physicality, turning the game back to our favor and coming up and making some great plays," Finch said.
Edwards praises Thibodeau, in his own way
In a moment that was pure Anthony Edwards, he was scanning the postgame box score during his postgame media session when he wanted to pay a compliment to the Knicks' coach.
"The coach, what's the coach name?" Edwards asked.
A reporter replied Tom Thibodeau.
Edwards then said: "Yeah, he played great defense. Credit to him. He played great defense."
Edwards, who had 21 points, didn't arrive with the Wolves until two seasons after Thibodeau was fired as the Wolves coach.
Edwards, who gives some of the most entertaining interviews in the NBA, also memorably didn't know who Alex Rodriguez was when asked about Rodriguez a few days after it was reported Rodriguez would be the Wolves' new owner along with Marc Lore. He's also told a reporter his Irish accent was "tough" and once said, "I'm smarter than a lot of people think. I just look like this," among many memorable postgame sound bytes.