New year, same Wolves; Wolves lose 106-84

Rick can’t be pleased with this one

Three Positives:

Jonah: The Timberwolves hung with the Jazz in terms of rebounding and turnovers and actually beat them at drawing personal fouls and getting to the free throw line. That’s really about it, unfortunately.

Tom: Nikola Pekovic is big and strong. He blocked some shots, scored some points, got some rebounds. Like Jonah above me, I have nothing else positive to say.

Derek: Aside from the things the guys above me said and Andrei Kirilenko, I guess I could say that no one else got hurt. That’s a positive.

Three Negatives:

Jonah: Well, the whole game was pretty awful. But you’re just not going to win a game shooting less than 35% from the field. It’s pretty typical, though. Sure, there hasn’t been a poorer shooting night than this but it’s gotta be mentioned that the Wolves, coming into this game, were the fifth worst in field goal percentage in the league. So even with the new year — a time to declare a new you — the Wolves were unable to turn a new leaf. Shooting will always be a problem when Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love can barely crack 33% from the field combined. Those kinds of performances are never going to bode well for the team, and that was exactly the story tonight.

Tom: 2-17. 2-17!! 2-17 from 3-point range. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I get it if you can’t hit 3-pointers. I play with a ton of basketball players who can’t hit 3-pointers and I’m not mad about it. But if they jacked up 17 3-pointers I WOULD BE REALLY REALLY MAD ABOUT IT.

At some point, you just have to stop taking 3-pointers, no? The Wolves shot 40% on 2-pointers, which really isn’t very good either, but the 3s need to go.

Derek: 

I read a book tonight called, “How to Let a Winnable Game Slip Further Away With Each Passing Quarter” by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Chapter One: Make it as easy as possible for your opponent to score.

Summary: Getting killed in the paint (56-36) and in transition (25-8) has a way of negating low turnover totals and good rebounding, especially when you can’t shoot.

Three Observations:

Jonah: Now obviously I wasn’t there but word has it that the home crowd’s welcoming of former Jazz man, Andrei Kirilenko, was not nearly as enthusiastic as some may have thought it could’ve been. Why? Take a gander at this piece and you’ll understand the root of Jazz fans’ mixed emotions of the Russian vet.

Another quick note: Greg Stiemsma, in just eight minutes of work tonight, managed to foul out. Upon committing his sixth personal, Stiemer walked straight to the locker room despite time still left on the clock. Yeah, it was that kind of night.

Tom: I mentioned in the preview that the Jazz are one of the worst spot-up defenses in the NBA. Per Synergy Sports, the Wolves took 18 spot-up attempts and scored 0.89 PPP. That’s not incredibly efficient, but it’s .02 PPP better than usual (in other words, not noticeably different at all). By the way, the Wolves are 28th in the NBA at spot-up efficiency. What an ugly game.

Derek: Tonight we had off shooting nights for Alexey Shved and JJ Barea, and pretty much everyone else. Kevin Love struggled once again, but he’s still getting his hand right. Now, I’ve  got to ask: Did Luke Ridnour break his hand after the Heat game on December 18th, and not tell anyone? Seriously, here are his shooting percentages for the past four games: .250%; .385%; .300%; .286%. Probably just a hard regression to the mean since he was shooting it well before those four (.571%; .412%; .833%; .417%.), but it’s still frustrating to watch.

Hopefully he’ll snap out of it soon.

Notes: Ricky Rubio did not make the trip to Utah due to back spasms and has also been ruled out for tomorrow night’s game in Denver. Adelman claims that he’s overcompensating for his injured knee, shifting the bulk of exhausting aches to his back area.

Next up: Wolves head to Denver to take on the Nuggets tomorrow night.

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