New York Knicks vs Minnesota Timberwolves Prediction: The 2022 Thibs Bowl

Tom Thibodeau faces his old team in a huge game for the Knicks, while the Pistons carry a respectable recent stretch into Golden State.
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New York Knicks vs Minnesota Timberwolves Prediction: The 2022 Thibs Bowl

New York Knicks vs Minnesota Timberwolves Prediction

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Every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in…

Perhaps the rule for the 2021-22 Knicks should be this: anytime they threaten to get too far away from mediocrity in either direction, pick the result that sends them back in the other direction.

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After they had won eight of 11 games, including arguably their two best wins of the season in consecutive outings leading into yesterday’s Hornets game, it was reasonable to think the good times would continue. After all, not only were they winning, but they were getting back to their bread and butter, sporting the league’s second-best defense over their successful stretch.

They now have the NBA’s second-best defense over the last 12 games after holding Charlotte to their third-lowest point total of the season, but that stat is less impressive considering LaMelo Ball was sidelined with an illness. More to the point, the Hornets put up 34 points in the first quarter and took a lead that New York could never recover from. It was the latest reminder that whatever the special sauce was that elevated last year’s Knicks to something greater than the sum of its parts, they haven’t yet found it this year. Until further notice, they’re simply another middling team.

The Wolves are another proud member of that club. At first glance, Minnesota is a mirror image of New York – a team hovering around .500 that has been defined by inconsistency. Looking a bit deeper though, the Wolves are nearly two points per 100 possessions better for the season, and even over the last dozen games, have a positive 4.3 net rating to New York’s positive 2.0 figure.

That statistical profile hasn’t produced as many wins as it should, but they’ve been close, as four of their last five losses have been by single digits, while three of their last four wins have been by at least 18 points. It’s why they’re getting points on the road here.

Given how inconsistent both of these teams have been, this is probably a stay-away. New York has moments where they come up huge when you least expect it, and given how they came out yesterday, you’d expect a great performance tonight. Then again, the Knicks have defied expectations in every way since opening night. Give the points if you must.

New York Knicks vs Minnesota Timberwolves Line Movement

New York Knicks vs Minnesota Timberwolves Pick

Detroit Pistons vs Golden State Warriors

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Steph is back, Draymond is out, and the Warriors have suddenly become a team that’s difficult to count on from game to game. They have five losses in their last seven by an average of nearly 16 points. They’ve also offset that with a 14-point win against the Cavs and a 42-point drubbing of the Bulls in Chicago.

In other words, they’re like basically every other NBA team this season: maddeningly inconsistent and impossible to rely on 100 percent.

The Pistons, to their credit, continue to make a late-season push to respectability. They have a winning record in their last nine games, doubling their win total and looking like a competent team on some nights. At the same time, even with five wins in nine games, they have the second-worst net rating in that span, which speaks to just how far they still need to go.

This seems like a ton of points given how healthy the Pistons are and how inconsistent Golden State has been, but sometimes the better team just needs a get-well game, and this would seem to be that for Steph & Co. Give the points on the road.

Detroit Pistons vs Golden State Warriors Pick

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insightpicks

Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.

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