Category: 2012-2013 Game Recaps

Never enough; Wolves lose 104-97

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Robinson sparks Bulls to 104-97 win over T-Wolves
Rubio can’t do it all by himself

Two Positives:

Jonah: The game after his odd benching in Phoenix, Derrick Williams picked up where he left off by tying his career-high in points (28). And he was fairly efficient too; 11-18 from the field including three deep bombs. Williams’ improved play is going to leave the Wolves with a big decision to make on his future moving forward. My take? Ya keep him and milk his production as long as it takes.

Tom: After Williams’ excellent performance (and I concur with Jonah’s assessment of the situation), the next logical player to highlight is Ricky Rubio, who had a very solid game with 15 points on 4-8 shooting. Two very notable things about Ricky’s performance that are inextricably tied together: Rubio was 7-10 from the free throw line, and he dished out eight assists. Both statistics were a direct result of his offensive aggression, which has been much, much better as of late. Many of his assists were pick-and-roll dishes, including one gorgeous between-two-defenders bounce pass to Nikola Pekovic for the slam. Pekovic’s efficiency can often be predicted simply by looking at Rubio’s stat-line, and sure enough: Pek finished 6-9 from the field for 15 points.

Two Negatives:

Jonah: This game is hard to analyze. Just looking at the numbers, the Wolves shot 50% from the field and make just two less field goals than the Bulls. They hit 50% from three-point land as well while dropping in one more free throw and one less turnover than the Bulls as well. The difference? Rebounds. The Wolves got their ass’ handed to them in the paint and completely wiped on the glass. For being known as workhorse rebounding team, getting beat by 20 is unacceptable, even if you’re missing your top rebounder. Rebounding is a team stat that requires everyone’s attention and aggressiveness.

Tom: I quote: “‘They could complain about how many guys they’ve got hurt and they don’t do that,’ Rubio said. ‘They just play aggressive. We have to learn from that. If they can do it, we can do it, too.’”

I admire Rubio’s sentiment, and I appreciate the amount of heart and hustle we see from him on a nightly basis, even in ugly losing efforts. I just don’t think that Chicago’s injury problems, though certainly severe, can be compared to Minnesota’s. You can play aggressive, but when Lou Amundson got significant minutes for much of the year, aggressive just isn’t going to cut it.

Two Observations:

Jonah: Moving forward, I’m starting more and more to question Alexey Shved’s role on this team. He can’t seem to coincide with Rubio all that well — although he hasn’t gotten much of a chance quite yet. But he seems to only be effective when the ball’s in his own hands. He’ll never be a spot up shooter, nor do I believe that’s what Adelman wants from him. It’s cliche but this rookie wall is bearing down hard. It’s time to shoulder through it and build confidence moving into the offseason.

Tom: Three jumpers for Budinger tonight, who seems to be picking his spots and getting comfortable as he returns. He looks understandably hesitant still, but the good news is that he is a good enough shooter to contribute while he works his way back to full health.

The downside: Seeing Budinger knocking down jumpers and driving to the basket is a gigantic tease knowing how much he would have helped this season back when it wasn’t a lost cause.

Next up: The Wolves meet in Detroit to take on the Pistons on Tuesday night, 7 pm.

Desert blowout; Wolves win 117-86

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Wolves rout Suns 117-86 to snap 9-game road skid
Pekovic was able to dominate against a weak Suns frontcourt

One Positives:

Jonah: The Suns are a pretty awful team. Awful enough to probably predict that the front office was more invested in the NCAA Tournament today than this game. But it still has to feel nice to win handily, against anyone, for the Wolves. After last night’s loss in Sacramento, I surveyed some photos from the game and came across a depressing picture of Rick Adelman and Ricky Rubio embracing each other with arms around one another as they walked back to the locker room. That’s the mentality surrounding the locker room on a nightly basis, and the only way to turn it around would be to gain some wins. That’s why this one is important at least for the Wolves.

One Negatives:

Jonah: This isn’t so much a negative on the team rather Adelman’s questionable decision to sit Derrick Williams for the majority of the night. He finished with just four points, all from the line, in just 14 minutes. There’s speculation as to whether he was injured or not feeling well but no one has a firm grasp on what happened. Anyways, given the advancements in his game we’ve witnessed the past few months, it’s hard to justify sitting him in a game he could get some easy reps. I’m not all that happy about that.

One Observations:

Jonah: In yesterday’s recap I wrote about Greg Stiemsma’s ever-improving offensive efficiency. Tonight, Stiemer went 6-10 from the field for 14 points in 34 minutes of work. Boom.

Next up: Wolves come home to play the Bulls on Sunday evening, 6 pm.

The return of Bud; Wolves lose 101-98

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Sacramento Kings guard Isaiah Thomas, left, reaches in for the ball against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio, of Spain, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, March 21, 2013
Kings’ backcourt was just way too good in this one

Two Positives:

Jonah: I’m a big Bud fan, if you didn’t already know, so seeing Chase sprint the court, albeit for just 18 minutes, was certainly reassuring. I wasn’t — and won’t be moving forward — expecting too much while he returns from a torn meniscus but he also doesn’t need to do much to set up shop in a corner and rain down threes, something the Wolves need so desperately.

Derek: I really like efficient Nikola Pekovic– 18 and 12 on 6-12 shooting, and 6-8 from the line on top of that. Nice game for Pek.

Two Negatives:

Jonah: Budinger returns and hits a three. How does the rest of the team respond to his shooting? They go 0-18 from three-point land for the rest of the game. Just so awful. You’d think that just seeing a deep ball slide through the net would give someone else some confidence but it doesn’t. That’s just how historically bad this team is at shooting.

Derek: On the possession prior to the final possession, the Timberwolves subbed in Andrei Kirilenko and Dante Cunningham for defensive reasons, which is a fine strategy unless you’re not going to call a timeout to sub in more offensive players. Instead, Rubio kicked it to Ridnour, who passed it to Cunningham who was forced to take a three that he missed at the last second. Even though they would’ve had to inbound from the backcourt if they had taken a timeout, making for a tougher shot, I would’ve preferred to see Ridnour take that shot if they didn’t take the timeout.

Two Observations:

Jonah: Ever since Nikola Pekovic went down to minor injuries, Greg Stiemsma’s role has increased substantially  seeing that he’s the only other center on the roster with the ability and strength to play every opponent. Sorry, Chris Johnson. And I have to admit, he’s certainly been getting better and better each time he goes out there. He still makes some knuckle-headed decisions but I’m very impressed with Stiemer’s advanced offensive ability. In the last five games, he’s averaging just over eight points a game and shooting 53% from the field.

Derek: You all know I love the Timberwolves, but I’ve also been a huge fan of the Kings’ Isaiah Thomas since his Washington days, and  who was also the 60th pick in the draft a couple of years ago. Despite concerns over his size he’s risen to being a starter in the NBA and put up 24-3-6 last night. I know, I know…#trader!

Next up: Wolves stay out west to take on Phoenix tonight at 9 pm.

Un-bear-able; Wolves lose 92-77

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Memphis Grizzlies' Mike Conley, left, pushes Minnesota Timberwolves' Jose Barea, of Puerto Rico, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Memphis, Tenn., Monday, March 18, 2013
Mike Conley is a straight bully on defense. Good for him

Three Positives:

Jonah: Late in the third quarter, Ricky Rubio tried fronting Mike Conley, I believe, as he was bursting up the floor. He lower-body buckled and jerked that left him limping until the next dead ball. He sat down in frustration as Wolves fans held their breaths. Then he made his way to the locker room and everyone thought all was lost. Luckily he arose from the tunnel and took a seat on the bench. Marney Gellner so candidly explained that it was only a tweaked groin and he was available if needed for the rest of the game, which he wisely wasn’t. So at least for everyone’s sake, he’s A-OKAY. That’s my positive.

Tom: Well, the Wolves managed just 14 assists, 33.7% shooting from the field overall, 25% shooting from 3-point range. They scored just 28 points in the paint and allowed 50 to Memphis. They were out-rebounded 49-45. Sooooo positives. Hmm. Just 11 turnovers, I guess? That was a thing.

Derek: Look, the bench scored 44 points! This is great because it has often because there have been times the bench has given the starters very little support. Wait– what’s this…(scroll down to my negative)

Three Negatives:

Jonah: People tell me that Nikola Pekovic needs to return to the Wolves at any cost possible. But when Marc Gasol takes Pek to school and leads the Grizzlies to a large deficit in scoring in the paint, 50-28 to be exact, I’m hardpressed to even listen to any of them. I’m as much of a Pek fan as the next guy but I also sport a realist mind that can’t justify paying the man much more than $10 million a year or so.

Tom: Two bad things about tonight’s game: Derrick Williams’ inefficiency (3-12 for eight points…sigh), and Jonah’s pun in the title above. Williams’ inefficiency is less excusable than Jonah’s pun work, because at least Jonah’s pun didn’t jack up five 3-pointers, making only made one. The same cannot be said about Derrick Williams.

Derek: …the starters combined for just 33 points? Seriously, here are the points for Timberwolves starters last night: 8-8-9-6-2. Everyone has their off-nights shooting, this team of course having been no exception all season long, but that lack of production is pretty bad. Whatever, though. They were on the second night of a back-to-back on a road and are just getting healthy as a whole, but that is one big negative.

Three Observations:

Jonah: The Wolves actually led most of the first half of this game but in typical fashion they left off the pedal in the second. Everyone seemed gassed and utterly disgusted in the fact that shots weren’t falling. It’s a common theme I’ve witnessed all season long, the complete disinterest in playing a second half, and thus the blowout.

Tom: Most teams struggle on the road, but the Wolves are 7-26 away from the Target Center. That’s barely better than Charlotte, who are 6-28. At this point, wins are tough to come by at home as well, but barring any unforeseen factors, most road games can be chalked up as a loss for Minnesota before they even begin.

Derek: Had this been a close game, one stat likely would have been on the Timberwolves’ side was points off of turnovers. The Timberwolves had 14 off of them, but the Grizzlies had just 6, and both teams finished with similar figures. At that rate they could have finished with twice as many since the Grizzlies didn’t exactly capitalize on their extra possessions. Of course, you shouldn’t be allowed to win if you finish with 24 or more turnovers, but that disparity just caught my eye.

Next up: Wolves have another road game in Sacramento on Thursday night, 7 pm.

Closing the game; Wolves win 97-95

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Minnesota Timberwolves' Derrick Williams dunks in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Hornets, Sunday, March 17, 2013, in Minneapolis. Williams led the Timberwolves with 28 points in their 97-95 win
Derrick Williams’ career day gave the Wolves a chance at the end but it wasn’t him or any other young guy who finished the strongest

The Timberwolves two most talented players right now are just 22 and 21 years old. That’s why when you see those two lead this team to victory down the stretch of an awfully close game is so special. Young, inexperienced players don’t know how to play basketball with a lead down to the wire. For a great example, go pick your bracket(s) and watch the NCAA Tournament. There will be a ample leads broken and likely strands of hair pulled out.

It’s frustrating to watch as a fan of the leading team but quite an exhilarating emotional roller coaster for the fans of the other team. Behind a sharpshooting Grevis Vazquez, the Hornets made their move on the Timberwolves mid-to-late in the fourth. A couple of deep threes from Vazquez changed to tone to the game and the Wolves had to make big plays at the end rather than coast out like in a blow out victory.

Now, as I write about my affection for both Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio, I must explain a disclaimer on this game. These two certainly had tremendous games. Williams a career-high 28 points on 9-16 shooting, and Rubio had a better shooting night of 7-11 that registered the Wolves 16 points. But they aren’t the reason the Wolves won this game down the stretch.

As explained earlier, from observations of all my years living on this earth, youth-filled squads can’t close games. They need a little bit of help, which is why the Timberwolves have sought after wily vets that can push the young guys to winning a couple. That being said, yesterday’s win is devoted to Andrei Kirilenko, who made that block on a driving Eric Gordon as the seconds ticked down. It was one of those awe moments that makes you step back and appreciate an old fart like him. AK47 understands how to win and he also possesses the tools and mind to make plays that can assure a win on most given nights. I don’t see Williams out there making that last-second block, or even Alexey Shved in to hit a big-time shot any time soon.

This was a fun game to watch, especially during crunch time. It’s entertaining to see Williams and Rubio grow up together within the context of just one game but it’s even better to see them walking out smiling after a win probably saying the same thing, Thank God for that damn Russian.”

Linsanity Pt. deux; Wolves lose 108-100

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From the jaws of victory, the Wolves snatched a defeat.

Two Positives:

Jonah: Ya know, you can criticize him all you want but Greg Stiemsma is still a solid baller when he actually shows up with a clear mind and focused on the game. Most times he seems two steps behind everyone and, in classic Midwestern form, just seems to get irritated after a while and throws his hands up into the air for mercy. But when things are clicking, such as going 6-7 form the field tonight, he resembles that of a more-than-capable backup center and one that warrants his contract from last season. I like that.

Tom: It was touch and go throughout the first half. Minnesota jumped out to a big lead that stretched to 20 at one point in the third quarter. Fortunately James Harden and the Rockets were able to stop Minnesota in their tracks and shut down the high-powered Wolves that were threatening to put even more distance between themselves and other bottom-feeders like the Bobcats and the Magic. A 69-43 second half was more than enough to take care of matters. Solid, solid work overall by Minnesota in terms of late-game lack of execution.

Two Negatives:

Jonah: Now, some might wonder why the title is named “Linsanity Pt. Duex” because of how big of a game James “The Beard” Harden had. Thing is, I expected Harden to go off. Who’s going to guard him? Luke Ridnour? Alexey Shved? I’m pretty positive that The Beard could bench press those two in one sitting. It was bound to be a huge night from him, so that’s why I’m disappointed that the Wolves couldn’t shut down Jeremy Lin, especially with Ricky Rubio parked on him for much of the night. Last time these two teams met, Lin scored just 12 points on a putrid 3-12 shooting. In this one, Lin exploded 24 on 8-15 shooting, including three treys.

Tom: If the Wolves want to keep losing games, they can’t afford mental mistakes like taking a big lead into the second half. Sure, the Rockets are the kind of team that can make a big run to make up the deficit, but what if Minnesota had been playing the Kings? Or the Hornets? Or even a low-scoring playoff team like the Bulls? It’s a matter of accountability, and we just hate to see a team like the Wolves failing to take accountability for nearly winning a game.

Two Observations:

Jonah: Under Kevin McHale’s tutelage, Donatas Motiejunas, or D-Mo, could become my favorite player to watch outside of the Wolves. That’s not an understatement neither. D-Mo is legit 7-feet and can shoot from deep or grind with you under the hoop. He’s got a lot of Dirk Nowitzki in him, and we all know all Dirk’s career has only gotten better playing into his 30′s (Until this season).

Tom: Two of the culprits of tonight’s near-miss: JJ Barea, who scored 19 points on 8-12 shooting, and Derek Williams, who dropped 19 as well on 7-14 shooting. This kind of efficiency can’t be tolerated.

Next up: Wolves come back home yet again for a one-game stand against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night, 6 pm.

Tough to play behind; Wolves lose 107-91

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Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio, left, passes over Indiana Pacers guard George Hill in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Rubio followed up his first career triple-double with another strong night despite the loss

Two Positives:

Jonah: Despite falling behind 10-0 in the opening minutes, the Wolves actually battled and kept things close through the entire game until the end of the third quarter. The competitiveness was due in large part to another great game from Ricky Rubio. Following up his first career — and certainly not last — triple double, Rubio dropped 21 points and dished out 10 assists. The ever-improving Spaniard even tallied two 3-pointers tonight, which is always a good sign, considering his well documented struggles from distance. Even more impressive was how aggressive he was that led to eight free throw attempts. These kinds of games can no longer come at a premium, though, if the Wolves want to continue to win; they need to become nearly constant.

Derek: Matchups. The Timberwolves did a lot of things in their favor tonight, and still got blown out. Turnovers and points off of them were even, made their free throws and there wasn’t too much disparity in fast break points either. If only it weren’t for…(see my negative below)

Two Negatives:

Jonah: The old Alexey Shved showed up tonight to the Timberwolves’ demise. Last night, against the Spurs, Shved poured in an efficient 16 points. Tonight, instead, he botched open attempts on his way to a 2-8 — 1-4 from deep — shooting night, finishing with just five points in 28 minutes of floor time. There’s no doubting he’s hit the dreaded “rookie wall” but it’s nice when he can overcome it for a night at the very least. Better luck on Friday, I hope.

Derek: Hey! Greg Stiemsma played 35 minutes without fouling out of a game. But he still had 5 fouls. That would’ve been okay since– oh, Chris Johnson also had five, and the Wolves were missing three frontcourt players already. It’s understandable that the Pacers were going to throw a tough frontcourt at the Timberwolves’ depleted front, but they got beat in points in the paint (52-24) and on the glass (49-36) as well.

Two Observations:

Jonah: It’s a shame that he picked up four fouls in just seven minutes of work but on the offensive end, Chris Johnson finished converting all three of his attempts from the field. But outmatched in pure strength down low by Roy Hibbert, Johnson had a tough time getting what he wanted out of Hibbert. It was kind of a lost hope.

Derek: A pretty nondescript night for Derrick Williams, which I couldn’t decide if it was a negative since he didn’t do enough to stand out, or a positive since he didn’t really do anything to hurt the team either. He was sorta just…there.

Next up: Wolves play the Rockets on friday night, 7 pm.

Ricky’s big night; Wolves win 107-83

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 12: Cory Joseph #5 of the San Antonio Spurs and Ricky Rubio #9 of the Minnesota Timberwolves wait to resume play action during their game on March 12, 2013 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ricky Rubio posts his first carrer triple double over the Spurs

Two Positives:

Jonah: Well, this sure came out of left field. Ricky Rubio’s first career triple double isn’t what I’m talking about either. How about the day that I write about the Wolves on the brink of getting Chase Budinger back from injury and noting how bad they’ve been at 3-point shooting this year — it’s historically bad — the Wolves go 12-20 from deep. It’s their second most makes from 3-point land this season and comes on a good night against a truly formidable foe in the Spurs. Really impressive to see what this team can look like when shots actually fall. We swear we’re really not that bad!

Tom: The above being said, Ricky Rubio’s first career triple double counts as a pretty major positive as well. Scoring double-figures in points isn’t uncommon at all for someone who handles the ball as much as an NBA point guard, so for Rubio, who is a decent rebounder and an assist machine, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this is the first of many.


Jonah: Dante Cunningham was forced to chuck up mid-range jumpers again tonight and paid the price only hitting 4-11. It’s so chillingly painful to watch him heave jump shots anymore. Literally makes me sick to my stomach knowing that that’s one of the only plays the Wolves have to run with such a depleted talent pool. Still, I’d like to see Cunningham develop some type of pump fake so he can take one hard dribble out of that 18-footer and step into a 15-footer instead.

Tom: Correct me if I’m wrong, but in a rare Wolves win, the “Negatives” section is where I can safely be a party pooper without getting yelled at, right? Because, while the Spurs are a very, very good team and certainly a championship contender, that particular incarnation of the Spurs isn’t really either of those things. Without Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan, the Spurs are a very mediocre team, and when Manu Ginobili plays just 22 minutes (and has a rare 2-10 performance), it’s even stranger. The Wolves played well, but the final score might be a bit deceiving.

Two Observations

Jonah: Now it’s one thing to say you tallied a win over the Spurs with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard in the lineup and then another to beat them without those three. The Wolves certainly beat up on the Spurs tonight but who’s to say they’re any better than a D-1 college basketball team with that current roster?


Next up: Wolves pack up and go to Indiana for a game tomorrow night, 7 pm.

Weekend recap: Minnesota drops two more

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It was another tough weekend for the free-falling Wolves.

My apologies to our readers for not getting this out earlier. Also my apologies for not giving any real sign of positivity for this team moving forward.

Two Positives

Jonah: Alongside Gelabale, Greg Stiemsma has played well in Nikola Pekovic’s absence. He had eight points in Denver and chipped in 10 and eight boards against Dallas. He hasn’t been all that effective this season but at least he can contribute when the Wolves need it the most.

Tom: Mickael Gelabale shot the lights out against Denver, finishing 8-10 from the field and 2-2 from 3-point range for 18 points. He followed that up with a solid 6-10 shooting night against Dallas, although he missed both of his 3-point attempts. Solid scoring numbers for Gelabale. That’s about as positive as I can get.

Two Negatives

Jonah: The losses to Denver and Dallas weren’t surprising to anyone. What makes it worse is seeing guys like Corey Brewer, Ty Lawson and Vince Carter making it all possible. Both Brewer and Lawson have ties to Minnesota in the past — not as much Lawson but I digress. And Carter admitted that it’s hard for him to even dunk anymore, making it that much more painful to lose to such a dinosaur. The Wolves are supposed to be young, spry and energetic. None of those have shown up on the court other than being young and inexperienced.

Tom: I don’t mean to be urinating all over everybody’s parades, but Derrick Williams’ sudden “explosion” has been a very inefficient one. Against Denver and Dallas, Williams was 4-14 (for 13 points) and 7-17 (for 18 points) respectively. I’m NOT saying there’s no reason to celebrate: Williams has certainly shown signs of improvement, and he got to the free throw line 14 times in those two games. It’s also worth noting that the Wolves really don’t need to be worrying about efficiency when they are just trying to put points on the board in any way possible, and perhaps this is as good a way as any of making sure that Williams develops quickly. But let’s temper our enthusiasm just a little bit for the sake of realism. Williams has needed a LOT of shots to put up the scoring totals he has been posting recently.

Two observations

Jonah: The Wolves dropped two over this past weekend and they weren’t even close. That means that in the last five losses for the Wolves, they’ve lost by 15 or more points in each. Ouch.

Tom: The Wolves are a game and a half out of last place in the Western Conference, but they are nearly eight games ahead of far ahead of Eastern Conference competition for worst record in the NBA. Orlando has bottomed out to 18-46 while Charlotte is 13-50 on the season.

Next up: The Wolves take on the San Antonio Spurs at home tonight.

Moral victory; Wolves win 87-82

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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.