Derek: They closed out a close game! Seriously, after the last two games, this is an achievement in itself. No, I don’t care if the Suns have bed wetting issues, so to speak, either. In fact, Luis Scola admitted afterwards that closing games is in their heads, but kudos to the Wolves for closing this out.
Jonah: The sheer net gain of not resigning Michael Beasley last summer is a positive in itself. Beasley’s minutes in the game boiled down to how well he can throw the Suns and their offensive chemistry off their game. It was sorta like having a puppy so excited to see you that when you asked him to jump up on your lap (Or sub him into the game) he starts wiggling around so much and then wees all over your lap (Taking eight shots and only hitting one.) Beasley managed to throw off the Suns’ offense at some opportune moments that helped the Wolves key on small but helpful runs. And for that, I thank you, Alvin Gentry.
Tom: After a couple of tough games for Kirilenko, he scored 20 points on a variety of shots, but a rather startling number of his baskets came from cuts and dunks. An underrated positive of being an excellent passer is that you also usually have a really good sense of when and where to move around the basket. Kirilenko looked more confident and comfortable tonight, and the result was a lot of abuse on the Target Center rims.
Derek: Sure, Luis Scola played with prime Tim Duncan. However, nobody told us that he stole a small bit of his talent to use on one given night down the road. I didn’t mention Scola in my preview, but not because he wasn’t worth it, and he went on to drop 26 and 11 on the Timberwolves tonight. He only made one trip to the line, which tells me that he probably didn’t have to earn too many of his baskets.
Jonah: How ’bout those free throws? The Wolves continue to amaze me at the pathetic game-by-game effort at the free throw line this year. They continue to draw fouls and get to the line, which is great, but collectively and consistently klank shots off the rim. Last night they ended up taking 26 attempts and only converted 16 of them (That’s 61.5% for you non math wizards.)
Tom: If Minnesota could have won while Michael Beasley dropped 20 points on 12 shots, I would have been happiest. My fondness for Beas has been well-documented, so seeing him struggle on any team is a bummer. Of course, I prefer the outcome of the game, but it would have been nice for Beasley to be more productive.
Annnnnd more on Beas from Derek below!
Derek: I guess Mike Beasley got booed tonight, which is dumb. I know, it’s a fan thing, but for what offense? DUI? Violent crime? Drug trafficking? Maybe a sex crime? “No” to all of that you say? Oh. He was just a mediocre player for two seasons? Give me a break.
Jonah: Andrei Kirilenko continue’s his All-Star season but there’s probably no way he makes it. The problem with that is, to this day, the MVP race on the Timberwolves roster is between AK and Nikola Pekovic. And I’d probably go even further to say that AK has an advantage. In every game this season, he’s provided some type of aspect to give the Wolves that advantage. Sometimes it’s steals and defense, sometimes it’s scoring and passing — Last night was the latter, which brings me to my point. He’s a box score stuffer that does all the little things and seems to do it when you’re team needs it most. Last night he was moving so well and finding back door cuts that most of his points came off uncontested dunks. Every night is a different story with him but it’s always a benefit to the team. He’s definitely my MVP right now.
Tom: Of Alexey Shved’s 10 assists (per Synergy Sports), five of them were to Andrei Kirilenko and of those five, four were dunks. One play was particularly impressive. Kirilenko fumbled the ball a bit and Shved picked it up. He caught AK’s eyes and made some hand signal. Immediately, AK dropped back, hesitated, and cut backdoor for an alley-oop. The level of communication and intuition between Shved and AK is very impressive.
Next up: Wolves get a nice little break and then head to Utah for a big bout on Wednesday night with the Jazz.