Knicks back in NBA cellar with OT loss to Timberwolves

By on March 20, 2015

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TIMBERWOLVES 95, KNICKS 92 (OT)

The Garden was more about March badness on Thursday night.

The Knicks had posted a rare win over defending champion San Antonio in their previous game, but they ultimately helped restore their draft standing with a 95-92 overtime loss the equally undermanned Timberwolves − who entered with the same terrible record − to regain the worst mark in the NBA.

“In the first half I don’t think our guys brought the right energy and a level of desire to win the game from the start,” coach Derek Fisher said. “We were really just kind of coasting and going through the motions. I thought that had a lot to do with why it was difficult for our guys to find some rhythm.

“Our bench guys gave us a lift …but it seemed like they wanted the game more.”

The Knicks (14-54) on Friday will visit lowly Philadelphia (16-52), another team they are vying with for the most Ping-Pong balls in the upcoming draft lottery.

“You can’t practice losing, so if at any point you embrace losing, I don’t think that works out very well for you,” Fisher said before the game.

Already without Carmelo Anthony for the season following February knee surgery, of course, the Knicks long ago perfected the art of losing this season. With Tim Hardaway Jr. (wrist), Cleanthony Early (ankle) and Jose Calderon (Achilles tendon) also sidelined, the Knicks finally filled their 15th roster spot − vacated by Amar’e Stoudemire’s buyout last month − by signing 22-year-old guard Ricky Ledo out of the D-League to a 10-day contract.

“He’s a talented young player, very skilled, can handle the ball really well, can make shots off the dribble as well as catching and shooting the basketball, and from speaking with him yesterday I think he’s looking forward to the opportunity,” Fisher said of Ledo, who did not play. “I can’t judge or speak to his experiences on other teams and why that has or hasn’t worked out.

“Every team is different. I think on other teams he’s been on, whether it’s been experienced guys or other guys that are just in the wheelhouse prior to him or before him, he just hasn’t gotten a chance.”

Ledo was recruited to play college ball at Providence but never appeared in a game for the Friars due to academic ineligibility. The 6-foot-7 swingman was drafted in the second round of the 2013 draft by Milwaukee and then traded to Dallas, but only appeared in 16 games over two seasons. He averaged 15.1 points per game this season for the D-League’s Texas Legends.

“I understood it’s a business and (the Mavericks) want to win now for Dirk (Nowitzki) and guys like that on their last leg, older guys, and I feel like this was the year to do it for them and they didn’t have time to develop me,” Ledo said. “It really wasn’t much of a chance … I just want to prove that I belong in the NBA and that I can help a team win.”

The Timberwolves were without Ricky Rubio, Kevin Garnett, Nikola Pekovic, Gary Neal, Justin Hamilton and Anthony Bennett. They also had to dip into the D-League to sign guard Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day deal just to have eight eligible players Thursday.

Langston Galloway scored 21 points and Alexey Shved added 20 for the Knicks, who trailed by eight at the half before rallying to tie in the third quarter. Kevin Martin netted a game-high 22 and Zach LaVine (20 points) sank two free throws late in overtime to lift Minnesota (15-53), which also got 20 from Andrew Wiggins. 

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