Unfortunately, Derek couldn’t partake in tonight’s recap, so it’s just Tom and I. Enjoy!
Jonah: The “Stiem-engine” is a rollin’! Stiemer was my MVP tonight. He came in with intensity and solidified his dominance in the paint. Vucevic, Nicholson, even Big Baby had little success in the paint when the Stiemer was present. But it was what Stiemer did on the offensive end that was so exuberating. He went 6-7 from the field on an array of shots both inside and out. It was an efficient 21 minutes that no one was expecting. One way to describe his performance: It was veryyy Joakim Noah-esque. Just picture that for a second and then think to yourself that he’s just our backup to an ever fiercer force in the paint. Yup, the Wolves have the best center tandem they’ve ever had, and it could be good enough to be top-5 in the league.
Tom: I’ll point to the balanced nature of Minnesota’s box score. Five players scored 10 points or more, six players grabbed five rebounds or more, and every player who suited up got a chance to play including Will Conroy, which was fun. The best way Minnesota can win games until Love gets back is by replacing his production Moneyball-style, with a plethora of players grabbing rebounds and putting the ball through the hoop. If tonight is any indication, Minnesota may be able to pull it off.
Jonah: Not too many negatives in such a blowout victory but one surely has to note the turnovers — again. The Wolves just can’t seem to hold on to the ball, and against any other team those turnovers would be dearly costly. The Magic is one of the only teams I don’t mind allowing turnovers to because they’re awfully pathetic in the open court. Regardless, the turnovers are still too high. Point the finger on opening season jitters or lack of team chemistry but it’s time to clean it up once the competition starts to stiffen.
Tom: I’m going to limit my Derrick Williams complaints for one evening, because he actually played a pretty good game, especially on the defensive end. I was impressed with his energy and his rebounding, and I’d like to see more of that.
THAT BEING SAID, he really only had any business taking one of the five 3-pointers he jacked up (and for the record, it was one of two 3-pointers he knocked down). It was an open corner three, the kind of shot Chris Bosh started taking last year. At this point, that should be the only long distance shot Williams is attempting, the most efficient three-pointer in basketball. Nothing else.
Jonah: One thing I thought was interesting was seeing Adelman’s defensive assignments to start the game, most notably, Roy’s assignment on the much larger but much slower Josh McRoberts. It was quite genius. Why force Roy to chase around Orlando’s shooters like Aaron Afflalo, JJ Redick and E’Tuan Moore? McRoberts, sadly, is similar to Roy in that he’s slow. As long as he didn’t allow McRoberts to get into the paint, the Wolves were willing to take their chances in allowing him to shoot from outside. Job well done to Adelman and Roy as well.
Tom: Call me crazy if you must, but I really believe Brandon Roy’s early seasons struggles are much more about rust than they are about deep-seeded problems. When you watch him work, especially with his back to the basket, his technique is still extremely solid. But he misses a fair amount of shots, even after gathering himself perfectly and taking a good shot. Once he has readjusted his shot, I still think he can easily become a productive player, even if his athleticism is subpar at best. I haven’t given up on Roy yet.
Also of note: that Magic roster is atrocious. Absolutely awful.
Next up: Wolves host the Grangerless-Indiana Pacers on Friday night, 7 pm.