Jonah: The Wolves’ defense was pathetic right out of the gates. Leaving wide open looks to Chris Kaman is not a great way to start the night off. But what stood out to me was how stiff the D tightened after that sluggish quarter. The interior defense was still lackluster but Alexey Shved, Ricky Rubio and Andrei Kirilenko batted down the hatches. and helped force the Mavs into careless turnovers, and then the Wolves won that battle of getting out in transition and creating space. I call it “The Rubio Effect.”
Derek: Jonah, you mentioned the “Rubio Effect” above, and that absolutely made a difference. But what I really took away from this game was how they were able to close out the game in overtime on both ends of the floor without Rubio and Love. They got stops, and had good ball movement that led to good looks that led to them ultimately closing the game out. Maybe the “Rubio Effect” can still be in effect when he’s off of the floor.
Jonah: The fact that the Wolves had command for three straight quarters until the final minutes of the fourth really bugged me. Outside of Rubio, this team has been in these moments before yet Rubio and Kirilenko seemed to be the only one with the drive to make a final push to win. They were stalled out on offense and allowed OJ Mayo to get some tough baskets. Fortunately, they pulled it out but who knows what would’ve happened if they missed a couple more free throws in the waning seconds of regulation.
I’d also like to mention, seeing as though I am NOT a coach and have no boundaries in saying so, but the officiating tonight was downright awful. First they handled the tiff between Greg Stiemsma and pesky Derek Fisher very poorly. And then they made this disgusting call on Rubio in the corner, when Fisher rose for a three and Rubio closed in quick, hands straight up, crowding his space but was still whistled for a foul. I will say the officiating made the game more interesting but when it’s not fair or flat-out wrong, it needs to be noted.
Derek: Despite being my namesake, the Wolves let Derek Fisher keep the Mavs in the game far longer than they had to. 20 points on 5-8 shooting is ridiculous and, of course, they allowed Fisher to have some big moments. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if this were several years ago, but in 2012 you can’t allow Derek Fisher to almost beat you.
Jonah: I got two of my own:
Yeah, he’s back.
Derek: I don’t want to be redundant, but Ricky. Rubio. It’s just a completely different game with him in it and I am continually in awe of what he brings to the table.
Notes: Kevin Love was a scratch tonight but not for the reason you may think. After injuring his thumb last night in New Orleans, Love actually was sent home by Glen Taylor with “flu-like symptoms.” He must’ve been really sick in order to miss this game.
Next up: The Wolves take a round trip of Florida starting in Orlando on Tuesday night.