Jonah: For starters, JJ Barea got himself back on the court after sitting the last two games with a bad back. He’s the only spark off the bench with any sense of consistent scoring. You can argue on his efficiency — just 4-11 from the field tonight — but there’s no denying that he’s one of, if not the only reliable perimeter scoring option on the floor.
Also, take a look at this:
Derrick Williams ain’t no joke. Early last month he started to find his shot from distance; last week he showed the ability to attack the hoop with a stronghold and vengeance and that dunk tonight proved that he hasn’t lost any step when it comes to his explosiveness. By no means is his development complete but I can safely say we’re starting to at least scratch the surface, and at a great time, I might add.
Derek: The Timberwolves are still short-handed, and in the midst of a five games in seven nights stretch that includes some good teams. For three quarters the Timberwolves managed to still keep this one interesting. In no way do I mean that as a moral victory, either.
Jonah: Rick Adelman’s absence from the sideline has, oddly enough, hurt the defense significantly. The Spurs took advantage of that by utilizing a series of curling dribble handoffs, usually from the high post, that left the Wolves utterly scrambled. Tony Parker took advantage of the slower Luke Ridnour, racing to the hoop at will, and they allowed the streaky Gary Neal to get the best of his looks from outside, nailing all three of his attempts from beyond the arc. The perimeter defense has never been up-to-par but it’s fallen off even worse in the last couple weeks. Adelman’s presence and intensity is greatly missed.
Derek: Getting beat by 20 points in the paint, and 20 points in transition against the Spurs is a sure way to lose, but it’s not surprising given the circumstances. See also: San Antonio’s jerseys.
Jonah: It’s hard to nitpick performances of someone returning from a major injury that blew out both the knee itself as well as the psyche of the recipient. But every time Ricky Rubio steps out on to the court, I cringe not only at the memory of his horrific injury but also the way he conducts himself, and the results that ensue, on the offensive end. We’re not seeing flashy Ricky, who could throw a bounce pass between three sets of legs and make it seem like it’s no big deal. Instead, it’s a very timid Ricky, whose confidence has all but left him (It’s actually entirely absent from his jump shot). After tonight’s 0-6 performance, he’s now just 6-33 from the field on the season and still passes up open shots more often than he misses them. The reason his troubling play is striking my nerve in particular is because of the greatness that the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson exuded this year after suffering from a similar injury (Both tore the ACL, while Rubio also tore the LCL) as Rubio and also playing in a more violent and physically demanding sport. It’s not fair to compare the two but the taste of Peterson’s sweet season is so addictive, it’s hard to forget. Meanwhile, Rubio’s sour start leaves me puckering and wanting so much more. Every road to recovery from a major setback is different, which is exactly why it’s not fair to compare the two, but I, just like all of you, can’t help but fiend for that taste of success yet again. Just remember that Rubio feels the same as all of us, and he’s looking forward to tasting sweetness again.
Derek: Lazar Hayward played nine minutes tonight…NINE. Nine, as in one less than ten, and one more than eight. Oh, and this is in the NBA.
Next up: Another back-to-back has the Wolves playing in Dallas tomorrow night, 7:30 pm.