Moral victory; Wolves win 87-82

Rubio rallies Wolves to 87-82 win over Wizards

Ricky Rubio’s intensity went unmatched vs. John Wall

Three Positives:

Jonah: No one on the Timberwolves plays harder than Ricky Rubio. And Rubio may play just as hard and tough as anyone in the league. Given the makeup of the roster and the current locker room nature, his efforts night in and night out are something special to watch. He can shoot under 33-percent all he wants as long as he’s posting double-digit assists (11 tonight) and continues to be a menace on defense (six steals).

Tom: Ahhhh, fine I’ll bite and talk about Chris Johnson (yet again). Johnson only had six points, but he scored all of his baskets in ways that were very replicable for the Wolves. The first was a really nice set that freed Johnson up underneath the basket for an easy dunk (the kind of set Rick Adelman excels at drawing up). The second was a jumper at the end of the shot clock, but the third was a flashy transition dunk off a lob from Ricky Rubio. Nice offensive contributions from Johnson.

Derek: When this team is depleted by injuries as it is, it’s so important they get help from their bench like they did from Dante Cunningham. 11 points on 5-7 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals is exactly what they need off of the bench.

Three Negatives:

Jonah: Just as I praise Rubio for his determination, I sort of lied when I said I don’t care if he shoots under 33-percent on a nightly basis. That’s actually really awful and can’t be swept under the table. His form in itself is starting to look better, and he’s becoming more confident each and every game to let it fly. But there has been less signs of improvement, especially when he loads it up from deep.

Tom: The Wolves got lucky: Washington was almost as bad and even more trigger-happy than Minnesota from 3-point range. Derek will cover this more in the observations, but when Minnesota faces a team that DOESN’T shoot 6-19 from 3-point range, they will find it difficult to win shooting 4-14 themselves.

Derek: Since we’re speaking of players shooting 33%, I have to mention Derrick Williams here. I suppose it’s a good thing that he isn’t volume shooting as twelve shots in thirty-seven minutes isn’t a lot, but 4-12 to get 16 points is not good for a big man (or any player). However, Williams improving his ability to finish isn’t exactly a new revelation.

Three Observations:

Jonah: Martell Webster returned to the Target Center and put on a T-Wolves-like performance, going 4-11 from the field and not really finding his flow within the offense. I’ve always liked Webster and he’s having a good year finally but I still hope things can get even better for the former Timberwolf.

Tom: Seriously, how in the world did Minnesota win this thing? The Wolves averaged just 0.56 points per possession on spot-up attempts (which, for those of you who don’t peruse Synergy regularly, is .30 fewer PPP than the worst offensive team in the NBA averages overall), and spot-up attempts made up 31.1% OF ALL SHOT ATTEMPTS. Unbelievable.

Derek: This really feels like a game the Wizards should not have been in considering they shot 31% from three, were outscored in the paint 42-22 and committed 24 turnovers, but they still managed to lose by just five. The Wolves needed a win having lost six straight, but they dodged a bullet and will have to do better putting away teams when they play as sloppy as the Wizards did tonight. They needed a win after dropping six straight and got it, but this should not have been as close as it was, and I’m sure both teams realize that.

Next up: Wolves go to Denver to take on the Nuggets at 8 pm.

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