NEW YORK — Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman usually is a man of few words and even fewer expressions — unless you consider a sigh and slumped shoulders much of one -- when he works the sidelines nightly.
But he had plenty to say when he pursued the game officials after Sunday's 94-91 loss to Knicks at Madison Square Garden, and very littlle had anything to do with early Christmas wishes.
Adelman had just watched Knicks star Carmelo Anthony outscore his team 19-18 all by himself in the fourth quarter after the Wolves had led by as many as 11 points.
His players once again positioned themselves to win without injured star Kevin Love until Anthony scored the Knicks' final dozen points and asserted himself in a closing 12-5 run like the guy who has lifted a famed but fallen franchise to a surprising 20-7 record this season.
He scored the last seven of his 33 points on free throws, inspiring Garden fans to chant out three letters even though he made just 10 of 25 shots all night while Andrei Kirilenko and Dante Cunningham disrupted him.
"It was an MVP performance at the end," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said about Anthony's 33-point performance.
At the end, Adelman seethed over a series of calls, including a no-call when center Nikola Pekovic grabbed an offensive rebound and missed a contested layup that would have tied the score with 52 seconds left.
At the end, he pointed out how officials consulted after the final buzzer to determine if the Knicks were due two more free throws in a game already decided.
"I'm glad they got that last call right, and I'm glad they waited five minutes to make sure that the game was over," Adelman said in a terse postgame address that lasted fewer than 30 seconds. "That was good. It really made a big difference, making sure they got that one right. That's all I have to say. I'm not going to get fined, so I'm sorry."
Until Thursday, Kirilenko was called for one or two personal fouls in five of his past six games. Now he has fouled out the past two games trying to defend Kevin Durant and Anthony. He played a season-low 20 minutes Sunday because of foul trouble.
"It's very discouraging when you come on the floor and like next two minutes you got foul, foul, sit on the bench," Kirilenko said. "It's hard to play that way, but I guess it happens."
While Love rested back home because of a poked eye and Kirilenko sat more than he played, Pekovic stepped forth with a dominant 21-point, 17-rebound that would have been more memorable if ... well, if that putback layup had tied the game and things had ended differently.
"I know, what to do?" Pekovic said when asked about the Wolves' bench reaction that yelped for a foul call. "You just keep playing. You can't complain. We need to play through sometimes. We don't get what we want to get [from officials] because we're still a team in process, you know. We're still missing some players. I think when we get to some point where we want to be, we'll be fine."