(Photo credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports)
The Minnesota Timberwolves will return from a successful five-game road trip to host the New York Knicks on Monday night in Minneapolis.
Minnesota won four of those five games and has won nine of 12 to start the season. Each of the Timberwolves' last four wins has come by single digits, and the mood is positive in the locker room.
"It's early," Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said after his team's 121-120 win over New Orleans on Saturday. "We've got to keep doing it. But we've got a lot of guys who play hard, (who) play for each other."
Next, Minnesota welcomes a Knicks team that is riding a three-game winning streak. New York has won six of its past seven games, including a decisive 122-108 victory over Charlotte on Saturday.
This marks the finale of a five-game road trip for New York, which is 3-1 so far.
Like Finch, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau is cautioning his team not to get overconfident because of the early wins. There is a lot to like about the start, he said, but only 13 games have passed, with New York winning eight.
"There's still a lot of room for growth, and that's the important thing, to understand there's a lot of things we have to do better," Thibodeau said. "The wins are important, and hopefully we're learning as we go. I'd prefer to learn from a win than a loss, but overall I think the unselfishness offensively has been terrific."
Jalen Brunson leads the Knicks with 24.2 points per game. RJ Barrett is next at 21.6 ppg, and Julius Randle (19.4) and Immanuel Quickley (15.5) round out the top four scorers.
Anthony Edwards leads Minnesota with 26.0 points per game. Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging 21.7 points, and then there is a drop-off to the third- and fourth-highest scorers, Naz Reid (12.6) and Rudy Gobert (11.7).
Gobert heaped praise on Towns after his most recent game. Towns finished with 29 points on 10-for-11 shooting, and he was responsible for the game-winning bucket with 5.2 seconds to go.
"I feel like he's grown a lot from last year, and even this year from Day 1 (during) training camp," Gobert said. "(Against the Pelicans), I thought was one of his best games I watched him play. He was 10-for-11. Insane. ... He made the right play and let the game come to him."
Meanwhile, Brunson has earned his teammates' accolades for his continued success with the Knicks. He has posted 32 points and seven assists in each of his past two games.
"I would love for him to get an All-Star berth," Donte DiVincenzo said. "I think he is (an All-Star). I think we have two All-Stars on this team (with Brunson and Randle)."
The Knicks and Timberwolves split their two meetings last season. The Knicks cruised to a 120-107 win on Nov. 7, 2022, in Minneapolis, and the Timberwolves returned the favor with a 140-134 win on March 20 in New York.
--Field Level Media