We are going to have to keep this recap short, sweet and to the point.
Here’s the short: The Timberwolves were without Nikola Pekovic, which was big, but New Orleans was without Anthony Davis which was bigger. To be clear, Pekovic was the bigger person lost, but Anthony Davis was the bigger loss, and that’s why the Pelicans lost. Everything clear? No? Tough, we are moving on.
Kevin Love dropped 30 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and despite a mostly inefficient shooting line (11-for-26 from the field, 1-for-6 from 3-point range), he was the reason Minnesota won offensively. Neither team shot efficiently, so any kind of production whatsoever was liable to put the game away.
The Pellies had an awful shooting performance, finishing 35 percent from the field and (seriously) 9.5 percent from 3-point range. You read that right: 2-for-21 from behind the arc. Pro-tip, New Orleans: When your 3-point percentage looks like a box score from the 2012-13 Timberwolves, you aren’t going to win a lot of games.
The Wolves box score also bore a somewhat frightening resemblance to the 2012-13 Timberwolves, as they finished 40 percent from the field and 4-for-20 from 3-point range. But Kevin Martin added 18 points (interestingly, he was also 1-for-6 from behind the arc, tying Kevin Love’s 3-point futility), and the Wolves held on.
Also, Luc Ricard Mbah a Moute got 23 minutes off the bench and was so surprised to be in the game, he went 0-for-2 from the field.
Here’s the sweet: Minnesota debuted the ad campaign “#PekGoesToo,” an almost certainly futile attempt to propel Minneapolis’ biggest viking into the NBA All-Star game. Pek is having a career year, averaging 18 points and nine rebounds per game on a career-high 20.7 PER, but in a loaded Western Conference, he’s incredibly unlikely to get an invite to New Orleans.
More sweet: Take a look at this picture of Pekovic (s/o to @Steventurous on Twitter):
I MEAN. LOOK AT THIS GUY. YOU DO NOT LOOK AS GOOD AS NIKOLA PEKOVIC IN A SUIT. I GUARAN-FREAKING-TEE IT. HE’S LIKE THE RUSSIAN VILLAIN IN A BOND MOVIE WHO NOBODY QUITE BELIEVES IS THE VILLAIN CAUSE HE LOOKS TOO DAMN GOOD IN A SUIT.
Here’s the point: The Timberwolves are now a game over .500 (woo!) and — after Houston won a tight, high-scoring game against Dallas — just two games behind the Mavs for 8th in the Western Conference.
I wouldn’t say the Wolves are in a good place, or even that I’m confident going forward. Tomorrow’s matchup with Memphis catches the Grizz at a bad time, and Saturday’s game against Atlanta promises to be a challenging SEGABABA. But that’s a bit of a tangent. It’s nice to be looking at .500 from the topside for once, and that’s the point.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.