Tonight we'll be presenting a game journal for tonight's game complete with analysis and stats quarter-by-quarter. Enjoy!
That's all for now, the Wolves are back in action on Monday vs. the Trailblazers. That will be Minnesota's home opener and will tip at 7pmCT from the Target Center. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The 1-0 Timberwolves meet the 1-0 Nuggets on Friday night in Denver in a Northwest Division matchup between two young, rebuilding teams.
Both teams played on Wednesday night in their season openers. The Wolves beat the Lakers 112-111, while the Nuggets defeated the Houston Rockets 105-85.
The Wolves were led by Ricky Rubio's 28 points & 14 assists. The Nuggets' top pick (7th overall) Emmanuel Mudiay finished with 17 points and 9 assists in his team's win.
The Nuggets employ a new head coach after parting ways with Brian Shaw last year (Melvin Hunt finished the season as the interim head coach). Mike Malone is the new head coach and he is a coach that has some ties to this Wolves team. After Malone was fired by Sacramento two seasons ago, Flip Saunders brought Malone in as a "consultant" of sorts last season. He travelled with the team and certainly could've been a candidate as a Wolves coach.
Minnesota is looking for a 2-0 start. If the Wolves win tonight it will be the first time in franchise history that they started the season with two straight road wins.
The Wolves were 1-3 vs. the Nuggets a season ago and that was thanks in large part to Kenneth Faried who averaged 16.3 points & 13.5 rebounds in those four meetings.
Andrew Wiggins is dealing with some back spasms, though he is available to play and will likely start at two-guard along with Rubio, Prince, Garnett, & Towns. The Nuggets are likely to counter with Mudiay, Randy Foye, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, and Joffrey Lauvergne.
Minnesota's inactives on Wednesday were Tyus Jones and Nikola Pekovic (achilles) that's likely to be the same tonight.
Tipoff is set for 8pmCT, enjoy the game and GO WOLVES!
Donning their warmup shirts and the patches on their uniforms, there was little doubt that these Minnesota Timberwolves were playing for their recently deceased head coach Flip Saunders.
Flip Saunders passed away just three days ago and it has certainly been a trying time for these Wolves. Following the final horn, the emotion of Ricky Rubio & Kevin Garnett showed just that.
The Timberwolves were led by their point guard who is certainly being paid like a franchise player. Ricky Rubio scored a career-high 28 points to go along with 2 rebounds, 14 assists and 1 steal. He also turned the ball over just one time and shot 10-for-17 from the field, 2-for-4 from deep and 6-for-7 from the line in 32 minutes. Rubio was responsible for 58 of Minnesota's 112 points (the highest of his career).
Here's what Rubio had to say postgame...
Certainly an emotional night for Ricky and an emotional night for these young Wolves.
The Wolves came out of the gate firing and built an 7-point lead in the first quarter, however LA finished the opening frame on a 21-5 run to take an 11-point lead, 20-31 after 12 minutes. The one bright spot for Minnesota throughout the first quarter was their three-point shooting. The Wolves hit 4-for-8 from deep in the first quarter (including two from Rubio). Ricky played 7 minutes in the quarter and finished with 10 points & 1 assist in 7 minutes.
In the second quarter the Lakers continued to roll, however a kerfuffle between Garnett and Randle/Hibbert led to a KG technical foul that actually sparked Minnesota on both ends of the floor. The Wolves found themselves down by as many as 16 in that second quarter, but rallied to cut the deficit to 9; 51-60 at the half.
In the third quarter it was Kevin Martin drawing fouls on damn near every Timberwolves possession that got them back in this game. The Wolves shot 17 free throws in the third quarter after shooting just 11 in the entire first half. They converted 14 of those 17 attempts to continue to help decrease the deficit to just 7 points; 88-95 after three quarters. The Timberwolves bench was integral in that third quarter scoring 25 points.
Kevin Martin started the fourth quarter but was clearly gassed and had to come out. Sam Mitchell put his point guard back out there and Ricky Rubio did not disappoint! The Wolves went with a lineup of Rubio, LaVine, Wiggins, Bjelica, and Towns down the stretch (later subbing Martin back in for LaVine) that proved to be incredibly effective. The Wolves battled back and took the lead only to have Lou Williams bury a triple that made it just a one-point game. The Wolves couldn't convert on offense and the Lakers took a timeout with just 4.2 seconds to play in a one-point game. Kobe inbounded to Lou Williams who drove the lane and missed the runner as time expired and the Timberwolves batted the ball down the court.
The result was a narrow 112-111 win for the Wolves in their season opener.
Let's take a look at WHAT WE LIKED from tonight's game...
The Timberwolves, 1-0 play next on Friday night in Denver vs. the Nuggets. That one tips at 8pmCT. We leave you with the highlights from the game, thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves open up the 2015-16 regular season in Los Angeles against the Lakers in a game broadcast on ESPN.
Minnesota won just 16 games a season ago, while the Lakers tallied just 21 wins. Both teams dealt with injuries to key veteran players. Minnesota was without Ricky Rubio & Nikola Pekovic for the majority of the season and also had Kevin Martin & Kevin Garnett in and out of the lineup. The Lakers lost their rookie Julius Randle in game one last season and he sat for the remainder of the year, and it was another injury-plagued season for Kobe Bryant.
The good news is that most of these players (everyone but Pekovic) are healthy and ready to contribute to their teams.
Tonight's matchup features #1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns vs. #2 pick D'Angelo Russell. Both are expected to start for their teams...here's the projected starting lineup for both teams...
It will be interesting to see if Mitchell elects to have Wiggins or Prince guard Kobe Bryant to start. It will also be a good matchup in the front court. Kevin Garnett will give young Randle the business and Towns will be going up against a big physical center in Roy Hibbert. It should be a good first regular season matchup for Towns, going up against an above average center who specializes in rim protection.
Another good matchup will be at point guard where Ricky Rubio will battle with rookie Russell. It will be interesting to see if Rubio can get in Russell's head early and play some of the great defense that we've been accustomed to from Ricky over the years (after another injury-plagued season a year ago).
Tipoff is set for 9:30pmCT and will be broadcast on both ESPN and FSN. Catch the recap right here following the final horn. Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!