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T-Wolves Record: 7-25
Lay-ups and 3′s. Rinse and Repeat.
I can’t say that was the Spurs game plan coming into the game but it sure was their bread and butter last night. Why not, too, when the Wolves couldn’t get back on D in transition and when their wing defenders left their man if Tony Parker merely looked at the hoop after crossing the half-court line.
Here’s what Graydon over at 48MoH wrote:
On nearly every possession, the Wolves defenders were drifting off their man, offering reasonably open perimeter shots even before they had committed to any sort of help defense. The least bit of penetration caused defenders from every direction to collapse on the ball. During the second half there was one particular play in which Parker had only made it to the free throw line by the time all 3 perimeter defenders had abandoned their man, leaving Ginobili, Mason, and Jefferson wide open. I believe Parker hit Jefferson, who casually sank the three, but at that point the target of his pass seemed arbitrary- three out of the five Spurs on the floor were prepared to catch and shoot, possibly with a short nap in between.
If you are wondering why the Timberwolves have lost 25 games this season, look no further than the two (BIG) holes in their defense: behind the 3 point line and next to the hoop. Sure the Wolves are better than average in the league at defending 10-23 footers. That of course doesn’t help much when it’s been shown that the best team defenses in the league defend two areas well: beyond the 3 point line and at the rim. (Also look here at HoopData if you want to see some of the math behind it)
Another thing that I noticed was the Wolves assisted field goal numbers. In wins (and when they play well) the Wolves assisted field goal numbers are right around 24. In losses and when they play poorly it’s closer to 14. Last night: 11. Keep this number in mind as it is usually a pretty good indicator at how the Wolves are running the triangle.
One last thing I’ve noticed over the last couple weeks: Corey Brewer… is…. dare I say it… looking improved. Ok there I said it. It’s out and I can’t take it back. 60-123 (49%) from the field over the last 10 games is pretty respectable for a shooting guard. He still needs to cut down on the turnovers (2.0) and either start converting or pass up more shots behind the arc (4-15), but I can honestly say he is doing a much better job of letting the game come to him in the triangle offense.