NEW YORK • New York Knicks rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis has been the new fan favourite at Madison Square Garden.
But free-agent acquisition Arron Afflalo also made his case on Wednesday in the Knicks' 107-102 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Afflalo, an eight-year pro acquired from Portland Trail Blazers, poured in 29 points and was calm from the free-throw line down the stretch as the Knicks let a 20-point lead shrink to single digits.
The shooting guard was eight- for-eight from the line in the last two minutes for the Knicks (12-14), scoring 12 of his team's 29 fourth-quarter points. It was the second time this season that Afflalo had led New York in scoring.
"I'm trying to play within the rhythm of our offence and take advantage of some of the double teams and the way we moved the ball," he said.
"The goal is to be efficient. It is not always about volume.Sometimes, it is about taking advantage of the opportunity."
Forward Carmelo Anthony recorded a double-double, scoring 20 points and grabbing a season-best 15 rebounds. He fell one assist shy of a triple-double.
Porzingis, last month's Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month, broke out of his three-game, Western Conference road-trip slump by scoring 11 points, grabbing six rebounds and blocking a season-high seven shots.
The Knicks posted a team-high 28 assists, with 10 players registering at least one assist.
Rookie centre Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota (9-16) with 25 points and tied for the team-high with 10 rebounds.
Guard Anthony Wiggins scored 23 points despite having a poor shooting night (eight-for-22), and guard Zach LaVine added 19 points off the bench.
Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio finished with nine points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists and eight steals.
The Spaniard was a point and two steals short of becoming the fifth player in NBA history to record a quadruple double.
Towns struggled in the first half, making just three of his nine shots from the floor and committing two turnovers.
"The problem with us is sometimes we need to start playing 48 straight minutes," he said. "We seem to like playing catch-up."