Flashbacks: Orlando drops Minnesota 102-89

Nikola Pekovic bothered Dwight Howard into a bad shooting night, but the Magic won easily anyway.

Nikola Pekovic bothered Dwight Howard into a bad shooting night, but the Magic won easily anyway.

I wanted to do the recap for this game because I honestly thought that Minnesota was going to limit Dwight Howard. I had watched how much Kendrick Perkins used to bother Howard simply by being strong enough to keep him away from the hoop, and I had high hopes for Minnesota’s chances.

“If Dwight Howard is limited,” I reasoned, “who is going to kill the Wolves? This could be a really big win!”

Whoops.

I was right about one thing: the Wolves really limited Howard. 11 points on 4-11 shooting is extremely subpar for him. Unfortunately, when Howard is limited, the rest of the team starts hoisting three pointers. I suppose the silver lining of this game is that if it had been last year, the Wolves would have lost by way more than 13. But when Orlando shoots the ball the way they did last night, well, Minnesota just isn’t going to win.

That’s what I mean by flashbacks. When I watched the Magic fling the ball around the perimeter and witnessed Minnesota’s defense collapse like a Jenga game, it felt disturbingly like last year.

It wasn’t last year, of course. The Wolves are vastly improved. Pekovic did an excellent job of bodying Dwight Howard out of the lane and drawing fouls to keep Howard off the floor. Even the perimeter defense was better…often the Magic would rise for a three to find a hand in their face. That hand would have been absent last year.

But there was just too much shooting. Every time the Wolves made a run, Orlando would answer with a big three. There is something so crushing about a three. When a lead balloons from 11 to 14 with just one defensive mistake, it’s very demoralizing for a team.

Of course, it’s even more demoralizing when JJ Reddick shoves Barea to the ground with his off arm and gets an open three as as result. *Takes a deep breath* Moving on to the bullet points.

  • Not Beasley’s best game. He hit a few big baskets that (sort of) kept Minnesota in the game, and there was a spot on the floor from which he was untouchable. But WHY IN GOD’S NAME IS HE HOISTING 8 THREE POINTERS?! Just…ugh.
  • More quasi-silver linings: Howard finished with 7 rebounds while Love finished with 15. Love gains ground in the rebounding race!
  • Pekovic was great tonight, again. 16 points and 13 rebounds for the big man. He even tried a turnaround jumper tonight…which clanked badly. I like him better when he’s overpowering people two feet from the basket.
  • Glen Davis looks so uncomfortable in Orlando’s offense. Davis was 1-10 from the field, almost all of his shots coming from mid-range, which any Boston fan will tell you is NOT a good spot for him. Still glad Brandon Bass is gone, Orlando?
  • Inane things you notice when your team is down by 20 in the second half against a superior opponent: Dwight Howard has tiny ears. Check it next time you are watching him. You’ll never be able to stop noticing. YOU’RE WELCOME AMERICA.
  • It seems superfluous at this point to even mention but the Wolves turned the ball over entirely too much.
  • Hedo Turkoglu was 2-7, Jason Richardson was 2-6, and Ryan Anderson was 3-8 from three point range. But didn’t it kind of feel like they were all roughly 9-9? It’s a little frightening to imagine what Milwaukee’s fans had to go through seeing Richardson explode the way he did on Sunday.

It’s not time to panic yet for Timberwolves fans. Minnesota lost four tough games to four tough teams. Unfortunately, it was four games in a row. If the Wolves lose to hapless Charlotte on Wednesday? Panic away.

About Jonah Steinmeyer

Been a Wolves fan for probably way too long to be considered a sane human anymore. An avid golfer in my free time. I cheer for Minnesota sports but live in Florida.

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