Jonah: Where to start… Welp there are some real obvious directions to take this positives section. I’m going to mention the balance in scoring for the Wolves. The first quarter was Nikola Pekovic time. He ended the quarter with 12 points and eight rebounds. The rest of the game was an all-around collective effort from the whole team that ended with five different Wolves in double-digits. Aside from a putrid second half from Kevin Love — it was seriously that bad — the Wolves managed to spread the wealth and convert on open chances. Most notably, take away Love’s six ugly misses from deep, the Wolves shot eight of 13 from three-point land, a drastic change to games past.
Tom: Alexey Shved made me all of the happy tonight. This was the kind of performance I was envisioning when I was touting him this summer as a good option. The best (and worst) part about Shved is his willingness to shoot himself out of a slump. I’m not sure if it’s inner confidence or just the knowledge that it’s necessary to keep shooting until you are out of a slump if you are a shooter, but Shved is always willing to shoot. It’s totally a positive. I think.
Derek: For the first time tonight the Timberwolves shot reasonably well for the first time since the early 00’s. Ok, I’m being dramatic, but shooting 42% from three — which would’ve been better had Kevin Love not tried to shoot his way out of his funk en route to finishing 1-7 from deep — is a much welcomed departure from the level of shooting we’ve been accustomed to this season. Turns out you win when your shots go into that orange, circular, thing instead of careening harmlessly off of it.
Jonah: There was just one player that ended the game with a negative +/-. Can you guess who that was? Derrick Williams has repeatedly let down the coaching staff and a majority of the fan base down time and time again. He hit one nice three but couldn’t hit the same shot again on the next time down the floor. He did finish at the hoop and drew a foul and-one through tough contact but then turned it over twice in isolation. He did get to the free throw line but only converted half of the time. If there was any time to take advantage of an open try out for the starting small forward, or even the one to get the majority of minutes at that spot, it would be now. But there’s always something missing in his game. I’m not giving up because I trust in his talent but I’m now 80-percent sure that he’ll never grow and develop properly in Minnesota. Tough, I know.
Tom: I get that Kevin Love was sick, but did he HAVE to try to shoot his way out? Couldn’t he just dedicate himself to other parts of the floor? Just crash the boards and stop shooting threes. It’s hard to complain in a win without sounding like I’m picking nits, especially when Love’s current medical condition is a fleeting thing, but Kevin…buddy. You have the flu. You don’t need to take 19 shots. You DEFINITELY don’t need to hoist seven 3-pointers. My goodness.
Derek: The Bucks out-scored the Wolves 16-11 in the third quarter, leaving me to ask: did they play the entire quarter? Or did they just stop it halfway through, and just say, “Screw it. Let’s go to the fourth”?
Jonah: So, after Beno Udrih was fouled hard on a fast break — More on that in the Notes section — Joel Pryzbilla was the lucky winner to give Beno’s free throws a go. He was coldly welcomed to a sea of boos from a crowd still bitter about his shaky years at the University of Minnesota. It was thirteen years ago but people never forget. Anyways, Pryzbilla, in his first appearance in the game, stepped up to the line and clanked the first one. The crowd cheered. The second shot flies through the air, clank. Not. Even. Close. The best part? Alexey Shved comes down with the ball and Pryzbilla opens up wide and swallows him into his chest. Just the most blatant foul ever. Pryzbilla proceeded to his spot on the Bucks bench and never got back into the game. Just a great series to witness live.
Tom: You want balanced playing time? Check out that Milwaukee box score. 10 players played 15+ minutes, six players played 20+. Interestingly (and pretty sadly, all things considered): Ersan Ilyasova was a DNP-CD. There is a pretty significant case to be made that Ilyasova could have been the MIP last year, and now he can’t get off the bench for a .500 Eastern Conference team? Ugh. Basketball is such a tease.
Derek: Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, the Bucks’ starting backcourt combined for 36 points on 31 shots. They made 14, combined, and finished with 18 points each. C’mon; tell me that’s not funny!
Notes: Beno Udrih was fouled awfully hard on a fast break in the fourth quarter. I had no angle on what was going on but the whole training staff and Bucks bench attended to him. He hopped off on one leg with the help of a trainer off to the locker room, and it didn’t look good at all. Here’s to hoping for the best.
Next up: Wolves hit the road yet again to play Philadelphia on Tuesday night, 6 pm.