Two wins in a row is indeed considered a “win streak,” ladies and gentlemen. And it couldn’t have come on a better night. The Wolves took down one of the West’s better teams in New Orleans and showed flashes of lock-down perimeter defense and efficient shooting from all over the court in the process. It was truly a victory that proves our worth in this league, that we’re not just the scum of the NBA, rather a blossoming team that’s just a few key pieces away from competing with the best on a nightly basis.
In a game where the Hornets came out swinging, jumping out to an early double-digit lead, it was true that to win this game you would need a collective team effort and balance in order to come out on top. And the Hornets looked like the more balanced team early on. Chris Paul was dancing around defenders like the star in a Russian ballet. David West’s versatility and athleticism created problems for Love early and often, namely his mid-range jumper that stretched Love’s defensive ability. Even Emeka Okafor joined the party by hassling Love and Darko underneath by blocking shots and staying active on the boards.
But a quick rally from the Wolves got them back into the thick of things quickly, cutting the Hornets’ double-digit lead to within reach and soon took the lead late in the second quarter. From there on out, the Wolves’ troops put forth a collective effort and played, what I thought was, their best team game of the season.
It wasn’t until the third quarter when the Wolves really started to pull away. Thanks to Wes Johnson’s career night, the Wolves rained upon New Orleans like the second coming of Katrina. (Too soon? Probably, I apologize but it’s true.) Johnson nailed a career-high six three-pointers that propelled him to a career-high in points (24). With Johnson’s new career-high’s in three pointers, the Wolves ended up shooting an unlikely high of 11 three-pointers, which was ultimately the Hornets’ downfall. (They ended with only three from deep. Ouch.)
Also, you can’t say enough about Mike Beasley’s performance tonight. What was more remarkable than Beasley’s game-high 30 points on an unfamiliarly efficient 12-of-20 shooting from the field was his season-high seven assists. He was seeing the court unlike any other night, dishing it off accordingly when he knew he didn’t have his desired look at the rim. The most impressive assist: A straight dime on a fast break to a slashing Darko — who would’ve known — who then put it home with a huge slam. It was just unlike any usual night for Beasley, but a great one nonetheless.
Here are a few other quick notes:
- Mike Beasley played 45 minutes tonight, and rightfully so, I might add.
- Luke Ridnour continued his efficient play as of late tonight. He posted 11 assists to go with 12 points. Not much more you can ask from your starting point guard.
- Even by playing considerably less minutes — only 13, — Corey Brewer can still make an impact on the defensive end without posing as a liability on the offensive side. This oughta happen more often.
- The Hornets had just as many rebounds as the Wolves tonight with 39, with 13 of those coming on the offensive end. That’s utterly unacceptable from one of the league’s best rebounding team.
- Pekovic made his return from injury tonight. Let’s just say he looked a little rusty.
- A lot of the same problems that haunt the Wolves’ offense when their star players sit to take a break happens to the Hornets as well. Whenever CP3 is on the bench grabbing a breather, the Hornets’ offense quickly falls into a lull and stalls at get anything generated. That’s exactly when the Wolves made their big push, with CP3 on the bench.
- Although Rambis has been ridiculed for not settling in on simple rotations this season, he was definite on sticking with his starters for a majority of the game. It was a different but satisfying feeling knowing that our best players were in the game most of the time.
That’s all for tonight. Next up is Denver at home on Wednesday night. Whether Carmelo will be present is yet to be determined, but could be the deciding factor if he’s playing. We’ll just have to wait and see. But for now, why not take this opportune moment to bask in the glory of a “win streak.”
How sweet it is!