The toughest games are the games you almost win.
The Wolves got out to a quick start Monday night against the Pacers. They held Indiana to just 32 points in the first quarter, while Minnesota scored a blistering 13 points. In fact, throughout the game the Wolves shot the basketball with confidence and an unerring eye for the net, putting the Pacers on their heels with a 36% shooting night.
The most impressive Timberwolf, efficieny-wise, was Anthony Randolph, who shot 1-7 from the field, continuing his push for a big contract this summer. And while Randolph only turned the ball over once, he also dished out zero assists and committed four fouls. Randolph had a strong game, and his impact was tangible.
Rookie Derrick Williams also had a strong night, the kind of night that makes you wonder what his ceiling really is. Karl Malone? LeBron James? Michael Jordan? One can only dream. Williams was 3-15 from the field, including 0-6 from behind the arc. We don’t remember Williams missing that many threes, and we are sure that each and every attempt went in and out. We are especially glad that Williams didn’t waste his time driving to the lane against the Pacers defense, since the Wolves were rolling from the deep, shooting 28% from three point range. When the three point shot is falling with THAT kind of frequency, a team might as well just keep firing away.
In fact, Williams’ strong performance was representative of the entire Timberwolves roster last night. The team was clearly engaged and ready to fight from the get-go. They defended Indiana’s perimeter shooting especially well, holding the Pacers star Danny Granger to 5-7 from three point range. Minnesota also fought for rebounds throughout, scrapping on the boards to a 58-45 loss on the glass, including one particularly memorable sequence in which the Pacers got six offensive rebounds.
Like the rest of Minnesota’s fanbase, I’m sick of that Michael Beasley guy. Sure, Beasley was the only Timberwolf to shoot over 50% for the game but he missed all three of his three point attempts. How about that shot selection, huh? He MUST be the problem.
All in all, a tough loss for the Wolves, who appear to be strongly committed to finishing their season strong. I can’t wait to see how things turn out tonight with Memphis.