For the third straight game the Timberwolves have allowed an opponent to shot 50% or better from both the field and behind the three-point line. Not surprisingly, the Timberwolves have gone 0-3 over that time.
The last time these two teams met the Wolves allowed them a lot of easy baskets. Tonight was more the same. If the Wolves want to have any chance of breaking this losing streak, the work has to begin at the defensive end. You have absolutely no chance of winning when you allowed a team to get so many easy looks.
Any time you hear someone talk about the Timberwolves on Twitter or in a comment section the discussion always turns to their poor offensive production from the reserves. While that's true (they had 10 points tonight), the starters are more than capable of carrying the brunt of the load offensively. The biggest concern is this extremely porous defense.
Can new guy Luc Richard Mbah a Moute help in that department? Definitely. Luc passed his physicals this morning and then spent the day around the Target Center getting to know his new coaches, teammates and surroundings. He did suit up tonight, but didn't see any time. Understandable considering he had just a few hours to acquaint himself with the kinds of schemes the Wolves run. He'll spend the next couple days learning the playbook and should make his Timberwolves debut on Saturday in Dallas.
It was the play from Denver's guards that really hurt the Wolves in this one. Ty Lawson, Andre Miller & Nate Robinson took it to the Wolves tonight. They got around Minnesota's perimeter defense with ease on some simple high-screen action and either got to the rim or pulled up for the wide open mid-range jumper.
This is definitely a good Denver squad, but there's no reason they should have beaten us earlier this month or tonight.
These past few games I thought teams were just hitting some difficult shots against the Wolves. However after three-straight games of such high shooting percentages it's clear that it has to be something more. The Wolves need a different defensive gameplan or they need to execute the one they have better! Either way, they need to figure it out quick because the schedule isn't about to do them any favors. Their next four games: Dallas, San Antonio, Oklahoma City & Miami.
The last time these two teams met, the Denver Nuggets set their season-high for points with 117. They tied that mark tonight with another 117-point outing.
Minnesota's 17 turnovers for 25 Denver points and those gaudy shooting percentages are keys to this loss.
Surprisingly the Timberwolves out-rebounded the Nuggets. The Wolves are good rebounding team themselves, but Denver came into this game averaging 46.2 rebounds per game which was good enough for 4th in the NBA (the Wolves: 45.4 for 6th in the NBA). Denver's 36 rebounds is a new season-low for a Timberwolves opponent.
Ricky Rubio set a new season-high with 17 points and 6 made field goals while playing a season-high 42 minutes. Unfortunately he turned the ball over 7 times and was the only starter with a negative +/-
The Wolves bench struggled once again scoring just 10 points while Denver's went off for 46. Chase Budinger can't return soon enough!! According to Flip, both Chase & Ronny Turiaf should return before Christmas.
Tonight was just the second game as a Timberwolf that Kevin Martin didn't make a three-point field goal and the first game in which he didn't make three when he attempted one. Despite that, Martin scored a game-high 29 points (10 of which came in the fourth quarter). He did so by nailing 11-for-11 from the line (season-highs).
The Wolves won't play again until Saturday in Dallas, that should give Mbah a Moute time to assimilate with his new team and time for the Wolves to figure things out defensively.
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!