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From the get-go, without Kevin Love, it didn’t really seem like the Wolves had much of a chance. Miami’s Big Three alone nearly average 60 points per game this season, a lofty figure for the remaining starters to reach without their top scorer. And that’s just about how the story went. The Wolves couldn’t shoot, especially from deep, and ultimately lacked any offensive firepower to keep up with the Heat’s gunners.
Want to know how bad it was? The Wolves ended shooting 29.3 percent from the field. They only converted on just five of 22 three pointer attempts. About the thing they were able to do successfully was get to the foul line, where they went 29-39. But that number and 23 points off of Miami turnovers was just a result of the Heat being a little sloppy throughout the game. They actually ended up with 20 turnovers but the Wolves had 18 of their own.
The numbers were just bad. Kevin Martin was the highest scorer with 19 points but only went 5-16 from the field and scored the majority of his points in the first half. Nikola Pekovic was a force in the second half but the effort was much too late to put any dent on Miami’s lead. Corey Brewer had trouble tossing the ball in a lake, and Ricky Rubio finished the night with ONE FREAKING POINT. More on that later.
As for any sort of positive, I’d point out Luc Richard Mbah a Moute’s performance. 11 points in 26 minutes, filling in for the injured Love in the starting five, isn’t filling the void, per se, but I enjoyed his efforts. His offensive game isn’t very diverse but at least he doesn’t shy away from contact and attempts to finish plays, both on offense and defense. So far, the Derrick Williams trade has been fairly successful to this point. Williams isn’t doing a whole lot that we aren’t used to seeing in Minnesota, while Mbah a Moute adds a top-notch perimeter defender, who seems to play with more grit and determination than Williams ever possessed.
So, back to my point on Senor Rubio. I had a run in with a fellow Tweep, who brought up the point of how the Wolves and fans should be kicking themselves for drafting Rubio over Curry. Well, this kinda struck me funny. I think, “Well, usually that point is made with Jonny Flynn being the culprit, not Ricky.” But, if you play it back in your head, it’s a fair point. Rubio, since coming here, has been a big reason in the lift in optimism for this fanbase because of his boyish charm and knack for making the spectacular play, the jaw-droppers, if you will. But his numbers speak a different language. This is probably going to spur an in-depth look at the Spanish point guard, but it’s worth bringing up that these are games, missing Love and all, that the Wolves need Rubio to step up big time. Instead, he takes a huge step backwards and makes even devoted fans like me question the legitimacy of his long-term potential.
As for tonight, it’s a disappointment. No one expected us to win without Love against the Heat but it’s still frustrating knowing that this team, who started out so hot on offense, continues to struggle shooting the ball and putting up enough points. Someone is going to need to step up, and I’m not talking about Mr. Love.