NEW YORK -- The last time the Minnesota Timberwolves started a season 3-0, Chauncey Billups and Terrell Brandon played guard for them and Joe Smith was still a promising prospect for a team that featured Kevin Garnett as its rising star.
The Wolves, with a 109-100 victory at New York, reached that modest threshold Sunday for the first time since that 2001-02 season and for only the second time in the franchise's 25-year history.
They got there by opening the season with Wednesday's heart-stopping overtime victory over Orlando, Friday's thumping of Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City and by holding on Sunday to withstand Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks.
Kevin Love led the Wolves again with another double-double -- a 34-point, 15-rebound performance -- and Kevin Martin provided his first breakout offensive performance of this young season, scoring 30 points after he struggled with his shot in the first two games.
Martin hit nine of his 12 shots, including 5-for-5 on three pointers, and hit seven of his nine free throws.
Anthony had 22 points and 17 whopping rebounds for the Knicks.
As they did Friday against the Thunder, the Wolves again built a 20-something point lead -- as many as 23 points in Sunday's second quarter -- but this time gave the Knicks life, allowing them to get within two points with 4 minutes, 45 seconds left.
Anthony led the Knicks rally with his scoring and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. helped as well, bringing New York back from 20 points behind in the third quarter's final minute with a 25-7 burst over the next nine minutes.
When Iman Shumpert's three-pointer pulled the Knicks within 100-98 with less than five minutes left, the Wolves answered. They did so with the two Kevins scoring the Wolves' next eight points to push the Knicks away for good.
Each Kevin had four in their stretch, Martin providing a clutch three-pointer for a 104-98 lead with 4:25 left and then Love's tough bank shot that made it 106-98 with 3:18 left.
The Wolves outscored the Knicks 9-2 the rest of the way after Shumpert's three.
(c)2013 Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
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