Thunderstruck; Wolves lose 127-111

The Thunder were, once again, better than Minnesota.

Two Positives 

Jonah: Lacking offensive firepower, it’s good to see the Wolves net well over 100 points in a game. And against a fairly stout Oklahoma City defense (Eighth in the league in defensive efficiency). The bench was huge, scoring a combined 59 points on 24-39 shooting. Not too shabby. Any chance at a win runs through solid bench production because the Wolves can’t afford to let any one player shoulder the load, especially when it comes to scoring. So the strong bench play was a positive sign, no doubt.

Tom: Ricky Rubio’s nine assists were good to see. But perhaps more encouraging was his confidence. It’s been a gradual journey back to health for Ricky, and he clearly isn’t quite there yet, but we are starting to see him truly accelerate up the court and show some confidence on his surgically-repaired knee. Getting that confidence back is going to be Rubio’s first step in recapturing last year’s magic, and he seems to be moving in that direction.

Two Negatives

Jonah: I understand that Greg Stiemsma had one hell of a game (13 points on 4-5 shooting, 5-6 from the free throw line and four blocks) but I’m sick of seeing Chris Johnson parked on the bench, especially in blowout games like these that are just an excuse for tryouts.

Tom: After several solid games in a row, Derrick Williams showed a pretty serious regression to the mean. To his credit, after missing both of his early 3-point attempts, he stopped chucking, but he struggled to finish at the rim when he took the ball inside. His final shooting line, 3-14, was less than inspirational. He may have been taken out of the game a little bit by a couple of bad early no-calls by officials, including one on which he was very nearly undercut while in mid-air.

Two Observations

Jonah: There’s a certain drinking game called, “Thunderstruck”. Here’s just a quick preview:

The harshest part is when you get stuck on a “Thunder” in the middle of a verse or the bridge. You’re talking sometimes 20 seconds or more of chugging! The Wolves seemed to be that guy who gets stuck on the longer parts, and it totally sucks. That is my interpretation of last night’s game.

Tom: Kendrick Perkins is the kind of big body that can give Nikola Pekovic an off night. If Pek can’t bull his way to the basket, he struggles in the post. On the other hand, it seems like the best way to get Pekovic on track against a slow-footed opponent like Perkins would be to run some high pick-and-rolls and allow him to take advantage of Pek’s slowness. That didn’t happen much last night.

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