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Zach Randolph still might have to face Kevin Garnett four times every season. Those contests just won't be against the Minnesota Timberwolves anymore.
Randolph, who should get more room to maneuver inside with Garnett now in Boston, leads the New York Knicks as they face Minnesota in their home opener Sunday night.
Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made New York -9 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 192.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 66% of bets for this game have been placed on Minnesota +9 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
With Portland for six seasons, Randolph would often match up with Garnett and Minnesota as those teams competed in the Northwest Division. But Randolph was traded to New York in the offseason and Garnett was sent to Boston, making them rivals in the Atlantic Division.
After becoming a full-time starter in 2003-04, Randolph averaged 18.9 points and 10.7 rebounds in 14 games against Garnett and the Timberwolves. This will be the first time Randolph won't have to compete with Garnett in the paint in a matchup with Minnesota.
Randolph had 21 points and 14 rebounds in his Knicks debut, but New York lost to Cleveland 110-106 on Friday night.
The Knicks showed how formidable they can be inside, with Eddy Curry finishing with 18 points and seven rebounds to complement the team's biggest offseason acquisition. Curry, however, missed five free throws and New York went 14-of-23 from the line.
"We had to do a better job at the foul line," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "It's the little things that beat you."
New York, looking to take another step forward after improving by 10 games last season, got strong production from its perimeter players Friday. Jamal Crawford had a team-high 25 points and Nate Robinson added 19 off the bench.
Crawford has scored 19 points or more in three of his last four games against the Timberwolves.
Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury had 10 points and five assists against the Cavaliers. He will be pitted against his cousin Sebastian Telfair, who is starting for Minnesota after being acquired from the Celtics in the Garnett trade.
Telfair and the Timberwolves used a 19-2 run in the first 5 minutes to take a 19-6 lead in their first game without Garnett, but couldn't come up with big shots down the stretch in a 99-91 loss to Denver on Friday night.
Telfair finished with nine points, five assists and three steals. Al Jefferson, who was also acquired in the Garnett trade, had 16 points and 13 rebounds while Rashad McCants registered a team-high 23 points.
McCants is one of just three players remaining on the team from just two years ago. Minnesota is a young, hungry squad that was whistled for 28 fouls Friday.
"This team is going to have to earn the respect of the officials (and) other teams," Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman said. "We can't stop going to the basket. We will get those calls. Our guys need to keep putting their heads down and keep going."
Minnesota has won four straight and 10 of its last 12 against New York, holding the Knicks to 91.5 points per game during that span. New York's last win over Minnesota was on Nov. 26, 2003, with Marbury scoring 32 points to lead the Knicks to a 100-87 victory at Madison Square Garden.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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