It’s damn-near impossible to win a game shooting under 35 percent, let alone finishing a game around the 32.6 percent mark. And it’s also impractical to pick up a victory allowing anyone with the name George — first or last — put up daunting numbers like 52 points on 19-29 shooting.
So that right there just about sums up the game.
Indiana is a really, really good team. Arguably the best to start the season thus far. On paper, they have it all. The all-star scoring forward, who’s groomed his game to tailor a more all-around superstar (Paul George). A beastly center in the paint on both ends because he can now score in multiple ways and refuses to let anyone near the basket on defense (Roy Hibbert). A sharpshooting guard, who can heat up in a hurry (George Hill) alongside an aggressive defender (Lance Stephenson). Then you can’t forget David West, Orlando Johnson, Ian Mahinmi, Luis Scola and C.J. Watson, who all put in viable minutes with their time on the court. It’s a well-rounded club that plays a strong team game on both sides of the ball.
That kind of makeup creates a tough matchup for any team, let alone one coming off a tough back-to-back where they faced one of the Western Conference’s top teams just the previous night. I’m not making an excuse for this lackluster performance but a piss-poor shooting night is usually a byproduct of fatigue. The starters finished 23-70 from the field. Throw in JJ Barea’s pathetic 3-11 performance and, well, you’re well on your way to that nasty figure I pointed out earlier.
What’s becoming seemingly more alarming in the past few games is Adelman’s complete and udder lack of confidence in anyone besides the starting five and just Dante Cunningham and Barea. The Derrick Williams news is no good for the Wolves’ depth, none of the rookies have shown up this year, yet, and Alexey Shved has become one of the statistically worst players in the NBA. If someone does show up soon and on a consistent basis, well, the team many thought was ready to make the playoffs for the first time in 10 years, will suffer from late-season fatigue and depth issues.
This game isn’t worth pushing any form of a panic button quite yet because, again, this was against one of, if not the best teams in the NBA. And they were pretty much hot all night long, playing to their strengths and bullying the Wolves with some stifling defense. But this one did emphasize some potential long-term flaws that could influence the future. All we need now is a few easy ones and some much-needed days of rest. Sleep in, boys.
If you’ve been on Twitter today and are a Timberwolves fan you’ve undoubtedly heard the Derrick Williams trade rumors. Apparently they spread locally and something was supposed to go down today, and it didn’t Then ESPN’s Marc Stein dropped these nuggets and some validity was added to the speculation:
Timberwolves, I’m told, are in advanced discussions with Sacramento on a deal that would swap Derrick Williams for Luc Mbah A Moute
By dealing Williams for Luc Mbah a Moute, the Timberwolves would get the consistent perimeter defender that the lost when Andrei Kirilenko headed east for Brooklyn. Mbah a Moute, averaging just 4.4 points per game, will never be accused of being a great scorer, but will score in the ways that Williams scored best: within the flow of the offense as a cutter/spot-up guy. In fact, MySynergySports.com says that he has been above average in those categories so far this season.
Mbah a Moute has been damn-near shutdown on the wing so far, holding opponents to just 39.5 percent shooting and a strong 0.84 points per possession. For comparison’s sake, Corey Brewer is averaging 0.80 ppp and with Mbah a Moute, the two would combine to give the Timberwolves another defender on the perimeter. Now, would you ever play the two together? Probably not too much since they could leave the Timberwolves with too few scoring options on the court, but that might depend on the lineup. However, if they did play them both, Mbah a Moute has shown to be a better spot up shooter and Brewer a better transition player, so that could work; the only way to really know is to try it out.
For Williams, he would get the change of scenery that he needs. After a relatively productive season when he was asked to step up, his minutes have fallen and so has his production. Or his production is down because of his minutes…either way. With a healthy Kevin Love and Dante Cunningham, the Timberwolves just don’t seem to have a use for Williams. And without a superstar at either forward spot, Williams will have the opportunity to earn all of the minutes that he desires. Which is good, because he is a useful player when he is used right and can even be a capable defender for spurts.
Williams’ production has been concerning, but that’s more of an effect of the lack of playing time so far. The last time Williams has been asked to play this few minutes was probably, well, never. So, the adjustment to 14 minutes per game has made it difficult for him to get a feel for the game and in rhythm. Williams’ percentages have fallen from respectable averages of around .430 percent and .333 percent from three last season, to .335 and .133 this season, despite taking fewer threes per 36 minutes. For Derrick, he’ll be in a more advantageous position competing with Patrick Patterson and Jason Thompson for minutes instead of Love and Cunningham. If he can someday prove to be a serviceable small forward, he’ll only be competing with Travis Outlaw and John Salmons, so this will be a good opportunity for him.
From day one it seemed like it was going to be a challenge for Derrick Williams to succeed here. There was always one too many players in front of him and the Timberwolves tried to get him on the floor where and when they could. Last year, Cunningham joining the team immediately seemed like it was going to push him out of the rotation, and it did. This season, Chase Budinger came back and Robbie Hummel impressed Rick Adelman enough to earn his favor. Adelman spoke of Hummel on Media Day as a solid player that never tried to do anything that he couldn’t do, which was a fault of Derrick’s at times. This isn’t too say that Williams didn’t put in the work, because he absolutely did by losing weight, trying to work on his game and exerting effort on defense. This worked last season and Adelman praised him for it, but it appears this was always going to be his role on this team had everyone been healthy as they are now. It’s just where Derrick is at this point in his career, and he can have success in the NBA, but it just won’t be here.
As Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears reports, the deal will go through tomorrow pending physicals and Derrick Williams’ time as a Timberwolf will be done. Sacramento isn’t traditionally known as a hotbed for player development, but DeMarcus Cousins has made strides and Williams’ attitude and work ethic gives him as good of a chance for success as any. If this goes through, expect it to be a straight deal with no picks or cash being exchanged.
Trade sending D Williams to SAC from MIN for Luc Mbah a Moute to be completed if latter passes physical Tue due to knee concerns,source says
Somethings really aren’t fair in life, like this month’s schedule for the Timberwolves. In each of the last two weeks, they have played two stretches of five games in seven nights, which is tough. Overall, they’ve played four back-to-backs as a part of a 17 game month. Sure, it all evens out in the end since everyone in the league plays the same teams, but when you’re in the midst of it, it is pretty unpleasant. And tonight, two nights after losing to Rockets on a second night of a back-to-back, will play no one other than the 10-1 Indiana Pacers.
Oh, joy. I can’t decide if this is less fair than having to play the Clippers twice on the second night of a back-to-back this.
As we knew last year, the Pacers were really freakin’ good, but they’re even better this year thanks to the further improvement of Paul George. He’s averaging 24.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists on .463/.366/.843 shooting, which is nutty. If having an MVP candidate in your favor isn’t enough, they still have Lance Stephenson, David West, Roy Hibbert and George Hill. That doesn’t even touch upon the fact that their bench is really good. If the Timberwolves wanted a barometer of where they are now, they have a good one on the slate tonight.
The Pacers play with a style that is a complete opposite of the Timberwolves’. While Minnesota plays at the second-fastest pace in the NBA, Indiana prefers to slow it down as the league’s 26th-slowest. Not only do they like to control the pace, but they are the NBA’s best defensive team, which is a dangerous combo. To make things even more daunting, they are averagely efficient on offense despite what their ranking of 20th in points per game might have you believe since they operate at such a grinding pace.
The Timberwolves do have an opening for success, and that will be on the glass. Minnesota has been one of the league’s best teams and the Pacers have been average at worse. Therefore, the Timberwolves’ ability to crash the boards could enable them to control the tempo of the game and force Indiana to play their style and not allow them to get their defense set.
After tonight, the schedule eases up as November comes to an end and a victory over Indiana would be a huge morale booster going into December.
Where: Whatever-they-called-it-after-Conseco-Fieldhouse; Indianapolis, IN
You would think that although the Timberwolves were on the second night of a back-to-back on the road they would get out to a better start with all of the rest the starters had the night before after thrashing the Nets. But they didn’t. It’s not as if this was even a full-strength with James Harden out, which gave the Timberwolves several favorable mismatches in the back court.
The Rockets got out to an early 8-0 lead, but the lead soon disappeared as the Timberwolves brought the deficit to five behind a Kevin Martin three halfway through the first. Houston suddenly stopped being able to hit anything after a perfect start. Kevin Love looked out of rhythm and would finish with 27 points, 15 rebounds and two assists.
Yet, as we all predicted, it would be Aaron Brooks stepping up in Harden’s steed as he gave the Rockets a spark of the bench. Even more like we all predicted, it would be Brooks and Terrrence Jones leading the way for the Rockets, despite a solid game from Dwight Howard. Thanks to all of the contributions the Rockets received from their supporting cast, the Timberwolves were never able to seriously climb back into the game and spent much of the game trailing by double digits.
Even though the Timberwolves beat the Rockets in points in the paint and finished with the most points off of turnovers in franchise history in 17 years (1996, versus Golden State; 39 points), the Timberwolves just did not have it and fell to 8-6 on the season. The Timberwolves will look to get back on track on Monday when they play the, ah crap, Pacers. Welp. Here’s hoping they get their day of rest and rejoice that this jam-packed November is almost over.
For the second consecutive game I’ve attended at the Target Center (I was there for Saturday’s match-up with Boston as well), the Wolves obliterated a struggling Eastern Conference opponent last night, knocking off the Brooklyn Nets 111-81, and somehow that score seems closer than the game.
Let’s be clear about two things: First, the Nets are awful right now. Second, that doesn’t necessarily take away from what Minnesota accomplished.
There are a lot of problems in Brooklyn, and a lot of them seem to be stemming from the coaching staff. The Nets ran much of their offense through Paul Pierce and Andre Blatche, and three years ago, that would have been half of a good idea. Joe Johnson got a lot of touches and baskets in the second and third quarters, but by the time he had heated up, the Wolves were up by 20 or more. If you want to make some NBA bets, book it on sportsbettingdime.com
This is not what Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce signed up for when they joined this squad. Admittedly, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Andrei Kirilenko are hurt (as is Jason Terry, but believe me: I watched Boston last year, and he isn’t helping this team), but the Nets’ offense was uncomfortable and robotic last night. Most of it was built around pick-and-rolls on one side of the court, as well as something that resembled the Triangle. If a play started on one side of the court, it was incredibly unlikely to travel to the other side. This stagnant, stiff offense allowed the Wolves to get their hands in passing lanes, either to steal the ball or deflect it which led to a lot of throwaways.
Minnesota, meanwhile, executed…sufficiently. The Wolves didn’t shoot the ball particularly well (41.2 percent to Brooklyn’s 39.7), but they got an absurd amount of second-chance opportunities with 17 offensive rebounds. In addition, they scored 17 fast break points and 22 points on Brooklyn’s 20 turnovers.
One of the fun things about this season, however, has been how little explanation some of these wins have needed. In a lot of games in 2013-14, the Wolves are just simply better than their opponent. It’s a nice change.
Another exercise in “ASDFKJDFSKDF Kevin Love stat lines”: 17 points, 16 points in 28 minutes. Love very well might have recorded another 20-20 game if he had played the fourth quarter, but none of the starters for either squad played in the final frame.
Cut Robbie Hummel some slack for that 1-for-8 shooting performance from 3-point range. His shots were almost all corner 3-point attempts, which are usually nice for him. He just hit a cold spell in the fourth quarter that he couldn’t shake.
I was at the game with my dad, and I mentioned how much I missed Rubio-to-Derrick Williams alley-oops. Williams entered the game late in the third quarter, and Rubio ALMOST connected with him, but Williams flubbed the catch before recovering and laying the ball in. In the fourth, Barea and Williams got out on a fast break, and Williams climbed the stairs to throw down a monster slam, but nothing was the same. Drake knows.
The Wolves played a Blurred Lines parody starring Nikola Pekovic at one point which went completely over my head until someone explained it to me. I’m old, shut up.
Corey Brewer got a wide open 3-point look in the corner on Minnesota’s first possession, and that seemed to spark him from downtown, as he finished 3-for-6 and tallied 15 points.
Kevin Garnett got: Two (2) standing ovations, eight (8) points, one (1) flagrant foul and one (1) technical. Both the technical and the flagrant came right on top of each other and seemed to stem from frustration more than anything (it’s hard to blame him). But Love’s response was pretty priceless: “That’s kind of vintage KG, just tried to get himself going, himself into the right mind frame. I just didn’t really care.”
After resting their starters for the entire fourth quarter, one would hope the Wolves will be somewhat fresh for their match-up with Houston tonight. I won’t be in attendance though, so maybe there is cause for concern.
I know what you’re thinking. Why the hell can’t we beat the Clippers? Perhaps it’s late karma for last season’s whoopings and the late thriller in Los Angeles, where Kevin Love defeated them with one final swooping dagger. It’s a little frustrating knowing that we’ve lost twice to the Clips in just 12 games to start the season but you have to look for that silver lining.
In the four-point loss tonight and the two-point nail-biter in L.A., there’s a clear-cut and recurring theme in both games: Rivalry. Oh, yes. There’s without a doubt a rivalry brewing between Minnesota and the one who hails from Los Angeles, but now it’s the Clippers, no longer the Lakers that should be the target of our unending demise. It shouldn’t be a rivalry of hate, though, rather one of anxious, intense battles that push fans to the edges of their seats on a nightly basis. Fans not just of the Wolves and Clippers should adore this newfound rivalry but the average NBA fan will find a special place watching these two young titans clash for the next few years. Also, if you want to check out the latest NBA Odds, click that link!
We have two of the best power forwards going head-to-head but with completely contrasting styles. Kevin Love is a combo forward with a sharp-shooting three-ball and intense grind for grabbing rebounds, while Blake Griffin dashes and dazzles with his high-flying trapeze act. Then there’s Chris Paul, the greatest point guard in the world going up against Ricky Rubio, one of the toughest on-ball defenders in the league. Nikola Pekovic vs Deandre Jordan also intrigues given just the sheer size of the two behemoths.
I can’t lay it out any simpler. These two teams, some of the youngest in the league producing the most entertaining basketball the NBA has to offer, pair up brilliantly to give the league a new rivalry worth rooting for. And in a league where player-on-player rivalries have all but gone out the window, we have to rely for true competition to come out of matchups like these, making these square-dances more than worth the time investment of watching.
Anyways, now that my monologue is over, let’s review what happened tonight in some BULLET POINTS!
Kevin Love happened tonight. And it’s OKAY, people. As fans of a team that has found some success after years of misery, we have to learn to take the good with the bad. Love himself will be the first one to say that 2-14 is pretty bad but he still got his double-double and also led the team in assists with eight. As long as he can make contributions elsewhere on an off-shooting night, we can be okay with that, especially since the Wolves only fell by four.
The bench has been awfully inconsistent this year. It almost seems like every game is a new opportunity for a reserve to make his mark but ONLY one player. Tonight’s game was Dante Cunningham, who put up a solid line and also had a nasty block against Griffin down in the post. But Adelman needs more from those guys to win close games like this.
I’m getting ready to name Kevin Martin the unsung hero of the NBA in this early phase of the season. He had 28 tonight and led the comeback bid late in the fourth and recorded his first double-double since 2009. He’s the most consistent option on offense we got, so keep on feeding him.
This game was a battle. The only Wolf with a positive plus/minus was Love and no one on the Clippers exceeded Ryan Hollins’ plus-eight mark.
Clippers shot 49-percent from the field. Wolves shot under 38-percent. Why just a four-point loss? Free throws. The Wolves are 6th in the NBA in FTA per game and 3rd in free throw percentage. Tonight they outshot the Clips from the stripe 31 to 16, converting on 25 compared to 10.
Two tough losses in a row, two straight games Rubio fails to reach even seven assists. Part of that was Love’s discombobulation but others have to be open, right? The Wolves rely on him to create open shots for his teammates, so it’d be nice to see more in the coming games.
That’s all for now, folks. Next up is the Brooklyn Nets, where Kevin Garnett may make his final trip to the Target Center. GET YO TICKETS NOW!
Funny story, and no I didn’t lose another laptop adapter. Anyway, I got off of work at 6:00 figuring that I would miss only part of the first quarter, which wound up being true. But then I didn’t realize the Wild hijacked the main FSN channel and spent another 15 minutes flipping through the channels before I figured to check the internet. The internet, Derek…what took you so long to check what channel it was on there. However, that was not where my stupidity ended. No, then I couldn’t find FSN-plus even though I know that I had watched it before. So I’m sitting on my couch flipping through the channels looking for this phantom channel as the game rolled into the second quarter before I finally found it.
No worries, I was still able to follow the game on Twitter — and the Timberwolves were doing really well without me — but what is even wrong with me lately? I mean, I turned to go to the court at Target Center last Saturday when they were playing the Celtics and accidentally headed towards the lockerroom, prompting a security guard to ask if I was from Boston. No, I’m not; I’m just directionally-challenged. Then, to top things off I wound up leaving my adapter behind. Go Derek!
Anyway, the Timberwolves did much better without me. They roared out to an early lead behind a Kevin Love three point barrage early on and finished with 15 points. Sensing that I just tuned in to the game, decided to forgo important things like transition defense and exerting minimal effort for simply contesting shots. But they still managed to squeak out a 12-point lead at halftime. Love led the Timberwolves with 17 points and six rebounds despite scoring a single point in the second. For the Wizards, John Wall’s seven assists at halftime gave Nene 14 points.
Can I stop here?
Please, do I have to?
*RABBLE* *RABBLE* RABBLE*
Fine, I’ll finish this, but I get to do whatever I want at the end.
Okay, so you remember the bad transition defense? Yeah, that continued, and as an added bonus, we got discombobulated spacing! Hooray– not. The same Timberwolves team that committed just three turnovers in the first 24 minutes of the game managed to commit two in the first half of the third quarter. Two may not seem like very many, but it is when the Wizards had 11 points off of the five Timberwolves turnovers at that point. There was even one play in transition where Ricky Rubio had Corey Brewer in his sights for what should have been an easy layup and Brewer over-ran Rubio or Rubio thought he was going to stop cutting, so he would up bouncing the ball out-of-bounds between two Wizards.
Yeah, it was that kind of night.
However, it wasn’t just the turnovers that would derail Minnesota’s plans for victory. The shot selection, as a part of the overall decision-making was just “off.” Rubio and Love would begin their two-man game, yet instead of making a move that favored his strengths, Rubio cut to the corner and jacked up a fadeaway long-two. Or the back-to-back-to-back quick three pointer possessions. Or Kevin Martin attempting a turnaround jumper from just inside the two point line. Whatever it was– the spacing, energy, or whatever — the Timberwolves struggled to create good shots because they could not get into a good offensive flow. As a result, the Timberwolves wound up tied with the Wizards after three, 81-81 after a 16-point quarter.
Much of the fourth was spent with the lead see-sawing back and forth. And that made for a close game near the end. With the Timberwolves down 97-95, Martin would hit a three to put them ahead by one with about a minute remaining. Coming out of the timeout with :48 seconds left, former Timberwolf, Martell Webster would have your eventual game-winner to put the Wizards up 100-98 and the Wizards never looked back from there.
Love finished with 25-11-4. Robbie Hummel added seven points on 2-3 shooting to go with six rebounds. For the Wizards, Wall led the way with an impressive 14 point, five rebound and 16 assist game. Max player? Yeah, I think so.
Now, time for haikus! No, really…this is happening. Instead of getting up in arms over a sloppy loss in mid-November, William Bohl (@BreakTheHuddle) of A Wolf Among Wolves and Tim Faklis of Canis Hoopus and I decided to start tweeting postgame haikus. Here is what happened:
And with that clunker out of the way, the Timberwolves play the Clippers tomorrow night at home. If this sounds familiar this is the second time this month that the Timberwolves are lucky enough to draw one of the Western Conference’s best teams on the second night of a back-to-back.
One mark of a good team is the signature play, hereafter capitalized for clarification. The Play can be something basic (Dwight Howard’s pick-and-rolls with the ’09 Magic, for example), or it can be something complicated (the wondrous and well-documented elevator set run by Golden State). The Play must involve the team’s best player (iso sets for Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Durant), but he doesn’t have to be the scorer (any crazy thing designed and executed by Chris Paul). Finally, the Play must be something most well-informed fans start to recognize before it happens. When Ray Allen played in Boston, the crowd started to rise and cheer whenever he started running through a series of screens in his floppy action. It wasn’t the most used set in Boston’s playbook, but it was the most anticipated.
Not every good team has a Play, but it’s pretty rare to see a bad team with one — it’s hard to imagine Sacramento running a functional set, let alone a signature one.
For years, we heard about Kevin Love’s ability to throw the perfect outlet pass, but we never truly saw it in action. Sure, he grabbed a lot of rebounds and certainly, he rarely turned it over throwing an outlet to Ricky Rubio, but frankly who cares? Lots of NBA players can throw that pass, and it doesn’t REALLY set the offense up any faster.
This year, however, the Wolves are using Love’s ability to develop a serious weapon — something which fans recognize as it’s developing, something as exciting as it is effective. The key? Minnesota’s prodigal (well…traded, then traded again, then signed) son Corey Brewer.
Brewer is you-better-call-your-plumber-before-your-entire-house-smells-like-mold leaky, and Minnesota is the perfect team for his style. The Wolves are third in overall rebounds and third in defensive rebounds, and Brewer isn’t much help on that score (he’s last on the team in rebounds per 36 minutes with 2.7), but that’s by design. He’s not really necessary with board vacuumers Love and Nikola Pekovic patrolling the paint.
Let’s take a look at how the play unfolds on its most basic level (and my apologies for the poor video quality…not sure what’s going on with my ripping software).
The first thing that stands out is the stark contrast in styles. The Cavaliers work the ball deliberately around the perimeter and into the lane before getting a baseline jumper. When they miss, it takes Minnesota all of 3.5 seconds to race out and create a layup on the other end.
Once again, this starts because Brewer feels comfortable enough to begin leaking out before he’s even certain the shot is going to miss.
Once Love gets the rebound, he nearly always takes an exploratory glance down the court to see if an opportunity is presenting itself.
Here, Brewer’s leak out has given Love the chance to display his rather incredible ability to throw a round object a very long ways very accurately. Cleveland isn’t known for its defensive acuity, but the Cavs are caught badly out of position here, and it’s probably not entirely their fault — keeping track of Brewer is enough to turn any coach’s head prematurely gray.
Anyway, Brewer’s leak out has created a one-on-one opportunity at the rim. In some instances, Brewer might pull out of the fast break when another player is back with him, but most of the time he attacks the basket assuming that if he doesn’t score, he’ll be fouled. This approach has worked extremely well — in 70 transition opportunities so far this season, Brewer is averaging 1.27 points per possession which is good for 27th in the NBA. Considering that Brewer isn’t 27th or better in the league at just about anything else imaginable, this might be one of the best examples of maximizing someone’s usefulness we’ve seen in the NBA.
The above play is the basic outlet pass we think of when we imagine Kevin Love throwing them. But sometimes his outlets trigger something without flying 70+ feet.
Unlike the Cavs play we documented above, the Celtics have been decent at defense thus far, surrendering 97.7 points per game, 9th in the NBA. What’s more, it was clear that the Celtics were working to get back off missed shots more than usual. Brad Stevens’ squad has been attacking the offensive glass so far this season, but against the Wolves, Boston was careful to cut off the leak out as much as possible.
But it didn’t always work. Here, we see Love gathering the rebound. Brewer already has his back to the basket and is sprinting up the court, but Gerald Wallace (not pictured) is in pursuit and is able to cut off the passing lane between Brewer and Love.
So instead, Love throws a fairly long outlet to Ricky Rubio, but it’s a pretty basic pass to set up the offense. Since Brewer never stopped running, however, the Wolves still have a fast break.
After Love didn’t throw him the ball initially, Brewer began shading toward the middle so that when Phil Pressey stopped Rubio’s progress, the Spaniard was able to loft a pass over every Celtic perfectly into Brewer’s fingertips. Wallace is able to contest Brewer’s shot enough to make him miss, but break has created confusion on the glass and Dante Cunningham is able to lay in an easy putback.
Finally, Love’s rebounding ability sometimes means that the Wolves are able to get out in transition without his involvement in the play at all.
This time, it’s Nikola Pekovic gobbling up the board, but it’s difficult to imagine Pek launching a fullcourt floating outlet pass to a streaking Corey Brewer. Instead, he hands off to Rubio.
Meanwhile, Brewer is off to the races once again — as usual, he is able to ignore the glass and race ahead full tilt. This time, he ends up in corner.
But this time, Brewer wasn’t the only player hustling to get back ahead of the defense. Robbie Hummel and Love are spacing the fast break perfectly. Rubio ignores what would probably have been an easier pass to Hummel and instead fires it crosscourt to Brewer, who drains the corner three.
Running in transition consistently is difficult — defenses tend to adjust, and those adjustments force turnovers if the offense continues to press. More turnovers occur if the the offense starts to get tired from all the running.
But man. It’s a lot of fun to have a Play again.
For your viewing pleasure of many instances of The Play, check out our friend Owen Kinsky’s Kevin Love Outlet Pass Extravaganza, which was showcased on Deadspin early last week:
The Timberwolves’ heart and soul do such a great job of reaching out to the community by offering their wisdom and experience to the youngsters in school. They did that at Business Club Day, inviting 22 schools’ students to learn more about working in the sports industry.
Now this makes me sad. Following his stand up performance last Saturday, Dave Chappelle and Prince hosted a pick-up game at the Target Center to raise money for the relief efforts from the deadly typhoon in the Phillipines. 1,000 people were let in, and although Prince was a no-show (No surprise there), he donated $25,000 to the cause.
First off, I’d like to say that this is going up much later than I thought it would. First, I had TweetDeck crash on me at the arena and couldn’t finish tweeting through the fourth quarter. Then, I compounded my problems by leaving my laptop charger at Target Center. Well, now TweetDeck is working and I picked up another adapter on the cheap so life is good again, but your recap is really late as a result.
Anyway, the Timberwolves were playing the new look Celtics — one of the more random collections of players in the NBA — on the second night of a back-to-back. The Timberwolves came out slow as Avery Bradley quickly got six quick points to put the Celtics up 6-1. It wasn’t until the 5:23 mark when the Timberwolves first took the lead and somehow managed to finish the quarter with 33 points on .500 percent shooting.
Kevin Love had a quiet 12 points and nine rebounds at the half, but his namesake, Kevin Martin was the one who was struggling. Adelman told the media after the game that he challenged Martin to bring his energy up and be more aggressive. Martin responded and improved his shooting in the second to finish with 20 points, though on 18 shots.
The Timberwolves spent much of the second quarter with a fluctuating lead, but still looked like a team playing on the second night of a back-to-back. As a result, the upstart Celtics were able to pull within five points at the end of two. Displease, Adelman said after the game he told his team that, “They’re going to keep playing; they’re going to come at you. You gotta get the first five minutes [of the third] to get control of the game.”
How did the team respond? With a 15-5 run that would take the scrappy Celtics out of the game. The Celtics struggled to find a match for Nikola Pekovic down low and they utilized him in the post to put the game out of reach. Yet, with the game steadily in hand, Adelman kept four of the five starters in the game until around the 3:00 minute mark. Clearly, the bench production has been questionable, but on the second night of a back-to-back and being late in an 18 point blowout, what’s the worst that could happen? The Celtics were not coming back. Evidently the bench still has quite a bit of proving to do.
Love led the Wolves with 23 points and 12 rebounds, and Pekovic and Martin each finished with 20+ points for the third time this season. Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 27 points.
Instead of writing a 1,000 word dissertation on this game, how about some notes?
* With last night’s win the Timberwolves are now 7-4, tying the second best start in franchise history. The best? 8-3 in 1998-’99.
* Kevin Love surpassed Christian Laettner for third place all-time in Timberwolves history for made free throws. Love finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds and two assists.
* Nikola Pekovic, Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love go streaking. Love and Pek extended their league-leading offensive rebounding streaks to 86 and 85 games, respectively. In the mean time, Rubio extending his league-leading steals streak to 32.
* The Timberwolves shot .864 percent from the free throw line last night, which made me happy. Love committed seven turnovers, but the team finished with 13, which sort of makes me happy-ish.