The Minnesota Timberwolves wrapped up the 2012 preseason on Friday night, finishing with a 5-2 record.
With the preseason over the Minnesota Timberwolves shift their focus to November 2nd and their regular season opener vs. the Sacramento Kings (exactly one week from today).
Unfortunately the game wasn't broadcast on TV anywhere, so like most of you I listened to WCCO and Alan Horton's play-by-play. To be honest I didn't pay a whole lot of attention, thus this recap will be more statistical (than an analysis).
The Minnesota Timberwolves didn't have much trouble outworking the Bucks, from the very beginning.
The Wolves started Malcolm Lee, Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger, Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic. Judging by the production they got from this lineup I wouldn't mind this being the starting lineup (replacing Malcolm with Ridnour OF COURSE). Chase got going early and had 8 points after just one quarter, Roy & Pek both added 7 apiece.
Derrick Williams and the second unit took the floor in the second quarter, D-Will had 8 of his 13 points in that second quarter. That's something we've seen before in the preseason: one good quarter from Williams and he basically disappears after that (though he did chip in another 5 points in the fourth quarter--by then the outcome was not in question.
The starters got rolling in that third quarter again, Chase had his other 12 points (finishing with 20 on the night), while Pek chipped in 8.
By the fourth quarter the game was well in hand and the Wolves were well on their way to the W. Adelman emptied his bench and played Mike Harris, Chris Johnson, Will Conroy and Greg Stiemsma.
It's likely that Minnesota cuts down their roster down to 15 players (likely cutting Chris Johnson & Mike Harris--while retaining Will Conroy). You can read more about that here in a post I wrote Wednesday night/Thursday morning.
Let's take a look at tonight's top performers for each squad...
Bud & Pek carried the team with their scoring AND did so VERY efficiently! However, if I had to pick the "Player of the Game" I would give the award to Andrei Kirilenko. AK started at power forward and had he played the regular starter minutes (let's say 40), there's a chance he could've come close to a triple or even quadruple-double! 8pts, 10reb, 4ast & 6stls in just 27 minutes! Not bad at all! Can't wait to see what he'll be doing with 35+ minutes a night.
For the Bucks, they struggled mightily, their star: Monta Ellis had a TERRIBLE night. Monta finished with 2pts on 1-11 FG & 5tos. He wasn't the only Buck who struggled, but he was certainly the worst of the bunch. Jennings led the team with 19 and Ilyasova chipped in 10-6. Ersan is a good power forward and had he played more than 18 minutes he would've improved that stat line.
I'm not quite sure about Milwaukee this season. Most are saying they have a legitimate chance of sliding into the 7th or 8th seed in the Eastern Conference, I don't agree, I just don't feel they have the talent to do so.
Let's take a look at the team stats...
I may be going out on a limb here, but I'm thinking, if Minnesota shoots 51% from the field and 43% from deep every night out...we won't lose too many games! Of course, when you hold an opponent to 36% FG, 30% 3PT and just 13 free-throw attempts, you have a good chance of winning. The TWolves also dominated in the paint, outscoring Milwaukee by 22 points! One things the Wolves continue to struggle with is turnovers. It was something we saw nearly every night last season and this preseason still has me worried. If the can get those turnover numbers between 10-12 a game (or lower...obviously) they'd be in great shape!
That's all for now! The next TWolves Gameday post will be before that season-opener vs. the Kings on Nov. 2nd. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves will play their preseason finale on Friday night vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. The game won't be played in Milwaukee, however--the game will be held at the Resch Center in Green Bay Wisconsin.
The Wolves are looking to finish the preseason 5-2, while the Bucks will be looking to finish 4-4.
Despite not having Ricky Rubio or Kevin Love (excluding two games) the Wolves have had a pretty good preseason. We've seen good play from Nikola Pekovic, Andrei Kirilenko, Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger and Dante Cunningham. We're certainly not better off without Kevin Love, however we're not 'dead in the water' like some would like you to think. This team should stay afloat (above .500) until Kevin & Ricky can return in mid-November (for Kevin) & mid-December (for Ricky).
The Timberwolves are coming off a 95-76 win over the Detroit Pistons, you can find the full gameday recap of that one, here.
The Bucks' last game came against the Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday morning. The result was a 10-point win for the Bucks, 100-90. The Bucks outscored the 'Cats 28-11 in the fourth quarter to seal the W. Tobias Harris started at small forward and led the team in scoring, with 18 points & 5 rebounds and Mike Dunleavy added 17 points & 5 rebounds off the bench.
Rookie forward John Henson sat out on Thursday due to a left knee contusion, no word yet on whether or not he'll be able to play. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is the usual starter at small forward, but he's still recovering from knee surgery and won't be available to play (on Friday).
Let's take a look at the projected starters for each team...
As we noted in the post: With Love Down, Who'll Step Up?, Andrei Kirilenko will get the start at power forward. I assume therefore that Chase Budinger will be the starting small forward, though I'm not certain. Adelman could decide to move Roy to SF and start Alexey Shved or a Luke Ridnour/J.J. Barea backcourt...I think we can all agree that Bud at SF is the most plausible scenario, though.
For the Bucks this is the same starting lineup they put out there in their win over the Charlotte Bobcats, I don't expect things to change too much.
All the statistics listed are what each player is averaging during the preseason.
I'm most looking forward to the Timberwolves starting frontcourt. This is the starting 3, 4, 5 that I want to see take the floor on opening night: Chase Budinger, Andrei Kirilenko & Nikola Pekovic. Most say that AK is a better power forward than a small forward. Looking at what he's done thus far at small forward for the Wolves, AK47 should excel at the four. Having Chase's scoring production in the starting lineup should help, but would certainly hurt the second unit, seeing that Chase & AK are the only small forwards on the roster.
Tipoff for this BORDER BATTLE is set for 7pmCT, Friday night and a full gameday recap can be found on this site following the final horn! Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Minnesota moves to 4-2 on the preseason following a 19-point win over the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday night in Winnipeg. With one game left in the preseason things seem to be coming together for Minnesota--despite being without their stars: Ricky Rubio & Kevin Love.
After one quarter the TWolves led 10-24 and it seemed as though the Wolves were well on their way to blowing out the Pistons. A 19-point W is still considered a 'blowout' in my mind. However, the Wolves had some bumps along the way. Things were still smooth sailing at halftime, with Minnesota leading by twenty-three at the break; 52-29.
I will admit, I did not watch any of the first half. There was a pretty bad thunderstorm going on that slowed my internet down to a crawl. By halftime the skies cleared and apparently they moved to Winnipeg, to hang a dark cloud over the Wolves (...that was a metaphor).
The Detroit Pistons came out of halftime and roared off a 14-1 run that spanned over the first six minutes of the third quarter. Rodney Stuckey had a big hand in that scoring 13 of his 21 points in the third, the other 11 Detroit points came from: Prince (2), Knight (4) and Monroe (5). Detroit ended up outscoring Minnesota 24-16 in that quarter and cut the lead to 15 heading into the final quarter. Detroit wasn't finished yet, however. Halfway through the fourth, Detroit found themselves trailing by just three points, following a furious run that spanned the majority of the second half.
Thankfully the TWolves bench picked things up and finished off the Pistons thanks to Chase Budinger, who scored 15 of his 21 points in that fourth quarter.
Ridnour & Pekovic (who both missed last week's game vs. Chicago) played and started for the Wolves. Ridnour played 24 minutes and finished with 6 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists (we'll get to Pek in a second).
Let's take a look at some of tonight's top performers, for each squad...
After missing the game vs. the Bulls, Nikola returned against Greg Monroe and the Detroit Pistons to play 27 minutes and tally 14-9. He did so with a pad on that injured hand. Derrick Williams got the start at power forward, however Dante may have further solidified his case for that starting four spot. Sure, D-Will scored more points, however Adelman stated following the loss to the Bulls that they needed more rebounds from their starting power forward. With Dante's 14--compared to Williams' 2...do I even need to explain this? Kirilenko will start at power forward on Friday vs. the Bucks, but right now, Dante holds the advantage (at least that's my thought).
Stuckey had a good game, but he just didn't get much help from the rest of his team, he was a big part of that third quarter scare for Minny, but he certainly can't carry this team himself. They certainly have the talent, too: Greg Monroe, Tayshaun Prince, Brandon Knight.
Let's take a look at the team stats...
The TWolves were snapping the nets at a 46% clip and only missed three free throws. The Pistons on the other hand, hit just a third of their shots and left 11 points at the line. The TWolves (thanks in large part to Cunningham (14), Pekovic (9) and Kirilenko (8)) held a +17 on the boards, +10 in assists and a whopping +22 in points in the paint. Surprisingly the Wolves had more turnovers, however they didn't allow Detroit to score off their mistakes, allowing just 10 points off 15 turnovers..
That's all for now, the TWolves are back in action Friday night vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. They'll play that one in Green Bay at the Resch Center, tipoff for that one is set for 7pmCT. You can expect a gameday preview either tomorrow afternoon/evening, until then thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves travelled to Winnipeg (Canada) earlier this week, for a Wednesday night game versus the Detroit Pistons. This is the second-to-last preseason game, the Wolves' first (and only) matchup vs. Detroit as Minnesota looks to go to 4-2 in preseason action.
Kevin Love did not travel to Winnipeg, he's been given the week off to relax and clear his head, he'll be doing so in California, but should be back in Minnesota sometime next weekend.
Minnesota will be getting some of their injured starters back. Luke Ridnour is expected to return to the starting lineup, we've only seen him in two preseason games thus far, because of a herniated disc in his back. He received a cortisone shot in his back late last week. Nikola Pekovic is also expected to return to action. He missed Minnesota's last game vs. the Bulls. He pulled some ligaments in his hand and will likely be wearing a pad on his hand.
Dante Cunningham started last week vs. the Chicago Bulls, second-year forward Derrick Williams is expected to get the starting nod at power forward, tonight. A breakout game would ultimately seal his place in the starting lineup. He's capable, but the most important things is that he shows he can be consistent.
For the Pistons, they've set their starting lineup for the season, it's the exact same as last year. Let's take a look at each team's projected starting lineup...
These are the likely starting lineups. For Minnesota, that'll almost certainly be the starters, but for Detroit, they may opt to get a look at some other players in that starting lineup (though Coach Frank has said that his opening starting lineup is set).
The Pistons drafted Andre Drummond with the 9th overall pick and he's probably the player I'm most looking forward to seeing on Wednesday. Detroit also drafted Kim English & Khris Middleton, they signed 2011 draftee Kyle Singler and also traded Ben Gordon to the Bobcats for Corey Maggette.
The Pistons are likely a lottery-bound team, once again this season.
I'm most looking forward to the shooting guard & center matchups in this one. Brandon Roy will be going against one of the Top 10 shooting guards in the League (in Rodney Stuckey). Stuckey is probably the best guard he's faced yet this preseason. At center it's Pek vs. Monroe. Greg is one of the League's best centers and both of these players are rising stars in this League. They have different playing styles and should be fun to watch on both ends. I also hope Pek sees some time against the rookie Drummond. Both are big physical beings...but I think we all know the more physical player.
That's all for now, tipoff for this one is set for 7pmCT. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
We got our first look at the Love-less Timberwolves tonight vs. the Bulls. Little did we know that we'd be without Nikola Pekovic as well. Pek got hit hard in the hand on Wednesday and Adelman sat him to make sure everything fully heals. The Wolves will rely heavily on Pek. Adelman took the opportunity to give Stiemsma, Cunningham, Williams and Amundson a good look in the frontcourt.
With Love out, Dante Cunningham started at power forward. With Pek out, Greg Stiemsma started at center. Dante got the nod over Derrick Williams and even though they played the same amount of minutes, Cunningham had the MUCH better game. Granted, Dante played with the starters and Williams played with the second unit. You could argue the other way too: D-Will should've shined more with the reserves on the floor. As of right now, Dante Cunningham holds the advantage of replacing Kevin Love in the starting lineup. I'm sure we'll see Williams starting one of the Wolves' next two preseason games. Perhaps in the other we'll see Kirilenko at the four (maybe Budinger at the three).
The Wolves stumbled out of the gate. The Bulls found themselves ahead 14-2 early in the first quarter. The TWolves couldn't hold onto the ball and by halftime, they had given it up 7 times. Cunningham showed some of his 'ball hawking' skills. He had all three of his steals with 4:30 to go in the first quarter, he also showed some great hustle--chasing after loose balls and staying active on the defensive end.
In the second quarter the Wolves continued to get worked on the boards (we miss you Kevin). Nikola will definitely help in that area, though. With 8:54 to go in the second quarter, the Wolves found themselves trailing Chicago, 19-31.
By halftime the Wolves were getting worked on the boards: 13-24 (+11 advantage for CHI). Surprisingly, the Wolves forced Chicago into 12 turnovers, which they scored 12 points off. Not surprisingly, the Wolves coughed up the ball 13 times for 16 Chicago points.
Andrei Kirilenko caught fire in the third quarter, where he had 9 of his 12 points by 6:00 to go in the third quarter. The offense looked REALLY rough. With no Love and no Pekovic, Minnesota didn't have any inside threats, therefore they were unable to work "inside-out". Dante showed off his solid mid-range jumper, could easily give Minnesota 8-10 points a night. AK could probably give another 6 or so (assuming he'd average 8 w/Love), Roy could give another 6 points (assuming he's scoring 12 points w/Love) and Pekovic could give another 5 points (assuming he'd average 15 w/Love). That means AK averages 14, Roy averages 18, Pekovic averages 20...sounds like wishful thinking, huh?
In the final quarter Adelman trotted out the end of the bench. We saw training camp invitee Mike Harris take the floor along with Shved, Conroy, Amundson and Williams. Malcolm Lee also made his preseason debut, he finished the night with 6pts & 1reb on 50% FG (2-4) in 7 minutes off the bench.
Let's take a look at tonight's top performers for each squad...
Dante & Kirilenko need to hammer the boards with Love out, they didn't do that and it certainly showed up on the scoreboard (check the rebounds totals below). Pek will help on the boards, but those two guys (especially) need to step up...way up! Budinger's points off the bench become even more important, considering Love's absence.
For Chicago, Boozer took advantage of Love's absence and absolutely bullied the Wolves big men. I can't express how badly I wanted Coach to bring Pek in to guard Booz! Not only Boozer, but Gibson controlled the paint as well, collecting up rebounds (on both ends), throwing down dunks and sending back shots. Don't you wish we had Taj behind Love?
Let's take a look at the team stats...
Minnesota's awful three-point shooting (16%), free-throw shooting (leaving 6 points at the line), out-worked on the boards (+6 for CHI), Chicago also held the advantage in fast break points (+8) and forced more turnovers (+4) and more points off them (+7) for the 11-point win.
The Timberwolves are back in action on Wednesday night vs. the Detroit Pistons, that one will tip at 7pmCT from the MTS Centre in Winnipeg (Canada). That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
UPDATE (10/19 @6:40pmCT): The Wolves will be starting Dante Cunningham at power forward and Greg Stiemsma at center tonight vs. the Bulls. I don't believe Pek is injured, Adelman just wants to get a good look at Stiemsma tonight.
UPDATE (10/17 @4:55pmCT): About three hours after I finished writing this preview and posted it on our site, news broke that Kevin Love will miss the next 6-8 weeks with a broken right hand. You can find that full story under the news section on this site. That obviously changes things, Derrick Williams is now the likely starter at power forward (though I don't know that I'd rule out Dante Cunningham, just yet). You can expect guys like Roy, AK47 and Pek will be asked to do much more now--especially scoring and rebounding.
The Minnesota Timberwolves continue their preseason action Friday night vs. the Chicago Bulls.
The TWolves are coming off a convincing 114-81 win over Maccabi Bazan Haifa Tuesday night at the Target Center. The game before that was vs. the Bulls on Saturday (Oct. 13) at the Target Center. The Wolves took down the Bulls 82-75. However, Chicago was without Richard Hamilton and Luol Deng (and, of course: Derrick Rose).
In that last matchup the Wolves rallied in the fourth quarter, thanks in large part to Alexey Shved's 12-point fourth quarter, that help propel the Wolves to a 7-point win.
The Bulls also had a game on Tuesday night, vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. In that game, the Bulls had Richard Hamilton & Luol Deng back, but starting point guard Kirk Hinrich sat out with a thumb injury. The result in that one was a 6-point, 100-94 win for the Chicago Bulls. Nate Robinson (starting at point guard) had 24 points and 13 assist, Rip added 23 points and Noah finished with 16 points & 12 rebounds. The Bulls are now 2-2 this preseason.
In Minnesota's last matchup (vs. Haifa) Adelman played his starters for some extended minutes (at least compared to the other 3 preseason games). After the game he said it was just because the starters hadn't had much time together. Kevin Love & Andrei Kirilenko finally took the court together and proved (along with Nikola Pekovic) that Minnesota has one of the top frontcourts in the NBA.
Let's take a look at the probable starting lineups...
The stats listed are from each team's last game. The TWolves vs. Maccabi Haifa and Chicago vs. Milwaukee. Nate Robinson is listed as the starting point guard because he started in that game, if Kirk Hinrich is available to play, he'll be the likely starter.
The Bulls are a playoff-bound squad, with or without Derrick Rose. Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson as well as the number of point guard fill-ins: Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson, Marquis Teague will all need to contribute for the Bulls.
The Timberwolves are a potential-playoff team, but a lot of that will depend on the health of the team, Ricky Rubio's return, the Wolves figuring out how to play together on both sides of the ball. Having guys that are actually interested in playing each night out, will help immensely.
Tipoff is set for 7pmCT from the United Center in Chicago. A full gameday recap can be found, right here, following the final horn. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Timberwolves struggled to get things going as Maccabi Haifa hung around through the first half. They definitely made it a contest in that first quarter, that was of course until the Timberwolves' offense caught fire in that third quarter for 39 points.
The TWolves starters were the reason for that. Roy had 14 of his 19 points in the 3rd, Kirilenko had 10 of his 13 points in the 3rd, Kevin Love had 9 of his 24 and Pek added 4 of his 10.
Not only did the Wolves have a great third quarter, but they followed it up with a solid fourth quarter, as well. It was the starters who put on a show in the 3rd. In the 4th it was the reserves. Barea had 6 of his 11, Cunningham had 7 of his 11, Budinger added 3, 5 for Shved & Conroy (as well as 2 from both Taylor & Harris).
A Tale of Two Halves. That's your storyline for this one. This is a game the TWolves definitely should've won, playing a non-NBA team. Haifa nearly took down the Warriors last Thursday, but lost in a close one: 100-108.
Maccabi Haifa will fly back to Israel tonight and they begin their regular season on Sunday. The TWolves move to 3-1 on the preseason and will next face the Chicago Bulls on (Friday) Oct. 19th.
A few notes from tonight's game on a couple of our Wolves. Roy had his best game of the preseason, finishing with 19 points, 4-8 FG, 2-2 3PT & 9-10 FT. He knocked down two wide open corner threes and his other two made field goals came on turnaround fadeaway jumpers that snapped through the net. He had a great game and showed he can most certainly still get it done on the offensive end.
Watching Andrei Kirilenko tonight, he now (officially) joins Nikola Pekovic as my favorite Timberwolves players. The man literally does everything and at such a high level! A frontcourt of AK47, Love & Pek will be lethal this season.
I've been hearing the TWolves could/should win 40-56 games this season. I know that tonight's game was versus a non-NBA team, but there were a lot of positives that have made me more of a believer. My guess? 44-38 in 2012-13. Also, speaking about this team as a whole, the TWolves should lead the league in team offensive rebounds. Kevin Love was second in the NBA last season, Pek grabs 3-5 a game and guys like AK47, Cunningham, Stiemsma and Amundson should certainly help.
Lastly, Greg Stiemsma. I'll be completely honest, I'm still not overly impressed with Greg...yet. Through four preseason games, I've watched him miss box-outs that lead to offensive rebounds and has also missed some defensive assignments. He's certainly sent some shots back, but being that his specialty is post defense...I haven't been too impressed. I know he has that skill set, but I (personally) have yet to see it. Rebounding on both ends of the floor will help him see more time on the court, as well. All in all, Greg is a big upgrade over Darko Milicic & Brad Miller.
Let's take a look at tonight's top performers...
The TWolves starters put on a show tonight. November 2nd vs. the Kings (the season-opener) can't come soon enough. Kevin Love played 31 minutes and had his usual output on O. Brandon Roy proved once and for all that he's definitely still got it. Can you see why AK47 is my newest favorite Timberwolf? The man literally does everything! Points, rebounds, assists, defense...EVERYTHING!
Let's take a look at the team stats...
The Wolves struggled shooting in the first half, just 36% from the field. Clearly they turned things around in that second half. Free throws definitely helped. When you get 33 points from the line, while your opponent can only manage 5 made free throws, it certainly makes for a big advantage. The Wolves held the advantage in the paint (+12) on the break (+14) and forced more turnovers (+10) for and scored more points off their opponents turnovers.
The Timberwolves continue their preseason on Friday vs. the Bulls. You can find a full gameday preview of that one later this week. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves will be playing host to Maccabi Bazan Haifa, Tuesday night at the Target Center.
Let me just say this now--and get it out of the way: I know nearly absolutely nothing about Maccabi Bazan Haifa. I don't even know how to pronounce that (Ma-Cob-E, Ba-Zon, Hi-Fah; this would be my best guess). Honestly, I can't even name one player from their roster.
So, that being said, this preview will have more to do with the Wolves, who's healthy enough to play, lineup possibilites, etc.
Maccabi Bazan Haifa is an Israeli basketball team. Here's a rundown of their current roster...
Their head coach, F/C Thomas & small forward Smith are all American-born players. Not that, that really matters...but just letting you know.
Minnesota should have everyone but Malcolm Lee available to play. Lee participated in practice yesterday, but it was the first time since the Wolves trained in Mankato. That means Andrei Kirilenko (hamstring) and Kevin Love (elbow) will both be available (and likely in the starting lineup). The Timberwolves are likely to start their regular lineup (the one they'll almost certainly use all season...at least until Rubio returns). PG: Luke Ridnour, SG: Brandon Roy, SF: Andrei Kirilenko, PF: Kevin Love, C: Nikola Pekovic. As far as Haifa's starting lineup...your guess is as good as mine.
There was a report a few weeks back that Allen Iverson would be playing for Haifa, but that won't be the case. Those reports were false. Allen Iverson will not be at the Target Center tomorrow night, or playing in Israel this season.
The Wolves will be looking to go 3-1 this preseason. The past two games Adelman has been playing more of his role players and reserves (to get a better look at some of the second-tier talent on the team). I would guess the starters will probably play around 25 minutes.
The game will tip at 7pmCT at the Target Center. I apologize for not having more information for you, but I guarantee the Recap will be chocked full of facts & stats! Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves moved to 2-1 on the preseason following a win over the Chicago Bulls, Saturday night.
I was at work for 12.5 hours today, so I was only able to see the last quarter and a half, which means this recap will be focused on what I saw as well as plenty of stats. That means I saw Shved's fourth quarter explosion. I saw Pekovic dominating in the post, Amundson's energy in the post, Kevin Love & AK47 sitting courtside and also heard the TWolves' new play-by-play broadcaster Dave Benz.
Speaking of the new broadcaster, from the quarter and half I listened to him & Jim 'Pete', I'm definitely going to enjoy listening to him throughout the season, of course I'll miss Tom Hanneman though.
Watching the Wolves in that fourth quarter, it was a back-and-forth affair. That seemed the case the entire game! On the back of Alexey Shved's 12-point final quarter the Wolves were able to pull away and secure their second win of the preseason.
Let's take a look at tonight's top performers for each team...
Did Nikola Pekovic change his name to Kevin Love this offseason? 17 rebounds, what PEKsecution! Watching Shved pick apart the defense in the fourth quarter with a couple passes as well as getting the 'three-ball' going, while also driving to the rim. The Timberwolves were without Andrei Kirilenko (hamstring) and Kevin Love (sore right elbow) from their starting lineup. In their place(s) Chase Budinger & Dante Cunningham got the start(s).
The Bulls got some impressive play from their veteran guard Kirk Hinrich and their center Joakim Noah. Chicago was without Luol Deng, Richard Hamilton and of course Derrick Rose. Hinrich will be their starting point guard until Rose returns (sounding like sometime in the spring?), Jimmy Butler started at small forward and Marco Belinelli was the starting off-guard.
Let's take a look at the team stats...
This one was really a back-and-forth battle through three quarters. After a few minutes through the fourth quarter, the TWolves were able to pull away for the victory. The Wolves struggled shooting from the field. Shooting 33% won't get the job done most nights. Whle the Wolves struggled to shoot from the field they had plenty of free throw attempts (and enough conversions) to waltz out for the W. The Wolves also turned the ball over 19 times, luckily the Bulls could only put up nine points, off them.
All in all you have to remember this is a preseason game. It really doesn't matter. We were without two of our everyday starters--they were without two of their everyday starters (I'm not counting Rose, since he'll be missing a rather large majority of the season). Nonetheless, your Minnesota Timberwolves are now 2-1 in October and will look to make that 3-1 following Wednesday's game vs. the Israeli team Maccabi Bazan Haifa.
You can expect a full gameday preview of that one early next week, until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves continue their preseason action, Saturday night vs. the Rose-less Chicago Bulls.
Minnesota is coming off a loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday night. A game in which they played mostly their "second" and "third unit". The Wolves played Roy just 8 minutes, Pekovic & Love 12 minutes each, Barea for 16 minutes and Andrei Kirilenko didn't play at all. It wasn't a physical issue for AK, the training staff just told Adelman he'd be better to rest for the night.
The Chicago Bulls also played on Friday night. That one ended in an 83-86 loss for the Bulls, moving them to 1-1 this preseason.
The Chicago Bulls may be without Derrick Rose for the majority of the season, but they're still projected to be a playoff team out East. In his place, Kirk Hinrich will be the Bulls' starting point guard.
The Bulls have had a bit of a makeover to their second unit this offseason. Gone are C.J. Watson (Brooklyn), John Lucas (Toronto), Ronnie Brewer (New York), Kyle Korver (Atlanta), Brian Scalabrine (retirement) and Omer Asik (Houston). The Bulls welcome Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson, Marquis Teague (29th pick in 2012 Draft), Marco Belinelli, Vladimir Radmanovic and Nazr Mohammed. I don't think there's any doubting that's a serious 'downgrade' from last year.
Let's take a look at the projected starting lineups...
Both team's will be without their star point guards. However both teams posses more than capable backups. The Wolves should have Ridnour back. He's missed Minnesota's first two preseason games with back spasms. It sounded as though he could've played on Friday, but sat out so he would definitely be ready for this game vs. the Bulls.
I'm sure we'll see more of the starters than we did in the loss to the Pacers on Friday, how much more, I don't know. 25-30 minutes; I assume. Some very good matchups in this one. Deng vs. AK47, Booz vs. Love and Pek vs. Noah. Joakim is pegged as being a Top 5 center in this League. Apparently Pekovic hasn't earned that kind of respect...yet...Saturday's game will be a great test and I fully expect him to pass, with flying colors.
Tipoff is set for 7pmCT from the Target Center. A full gameday recap can be found, right here, following the final horn. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!