The Minnesota Timberwolves are back in action on New Year's Day vs. the Dallas Mavericks. The TWolves are coming off a 101-103 on Friday night vs. the Miami Heat. The story? Too many team turnovers (25) leading to 27 Miami points--they were lucky to be in it--with a chance to get the win in the final minutes.
Minnesota has started the season 0-3, with losses to the Thunder on Monday, the Bucks on Tuesday and of course the Heat on Friday. They'll look to turn things around against last season's NBA Champions. Who, quite frankly, haven't been playing like "World Champions"!
The Mavericks have started this season 1-3. They finally got their first win on Friday vs. the Toronto Raptors in a 99-86 W. The other three games? An 11-point loss to Miami, a 22-point loss to Denver and a two-point loss to the Thunder.
Needless to say, the Mavericks look old out there. I watched that opening day game on Christmas versus the Miami Heat. In what I expected, to be a close, fun game to watch--like the NBA Finals were, it simply was not! Of course this isn't the same Mavericks team from last season! They let J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler & Caron Butler go via free agency and added Vince Carter, Lamar Odom, Delonte West, Brandan Wright & Sean Williams. Some good playes gone and some good players added, they just need some time to "figure each other out". It's also clear, Mark Cuban is saving up for Free Agency 2012 when Dwight Howard and Deron Williams (most notably) will be free agents.
Let's take a look at the lineups for each team...
*= J.J. Barea has an injured hamstring and may not be able to play in the game. He'll be a gametime decision. **= Nikola Pekovic has an injured groin and may not be able to go either!
To me, this is the game I feel Ricky Rubio is handed to "keys" to this offense and becomes the Wolves' starting point guard. In the game against Miami he had 12pts, 6rebs, 12ast, 1stl in 31 minutes, but also 5tos. Who knows if Adelman will finally decide he wants Ricky to start over the veteran Ridnour, but ultimately Rubio will be finishing the game in that final five that tries to close out the game (something they've been highly unsuccessful for Minnesota this season...and last).
Let's take a look at each team's individual statistic leaders...
It's going to be a fun matchup at the power forward Sunday night. Kevin Love vs. Dirk Nowitzki pits two of the best Western Conference (and NBA) power forwards against one another, both leading their team in points and on the glass. Surprisingly, Love has the upper hand in rebounds AND points! Rubio has upped his assist totals with that 12 assist outing vs. Miami, hopefully he has another big outing! Darko Milicic had his first two blocks of the season vs. Miami, his only of the year! Hopefully he brings those numbers back up!
I'm looking forward to this one! A young up-and-comer TWolves team vs. an aging veteran Mavericks team. Youth vs. Experience! Dirk vs. K-Love! Ricky Rubio's first NBA start? Man, I hope so!
That's all for now, tipoff is set for 6pmCT on New Year's Day (1/1), have a Happy New Year, enjoy the game and as always we'll have a full gameday recap and pictures from Sunday's game on this site following the final horn! Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
GREAT game, unfortunate result. The Minnesota Timberwolves played their hearts out, but fell to the Miami Heat, at the Target Center on Friday night--losing 101-103.
It was yet another game lost by just a few points. Thus far, the Timberwolves have lost their first three games by a total of 9 points. The Thunder by 4, the Bucks by 3 and now the Heat by 2. Is the game versus Dallas going to be a one-point loss?!
The Wolves were playing in front of their second consecutive sellout crowd in the Target Center, which was the first time since the 1991-92 NBA season! Clearly, Minnesota fans are eager to see K-Love go to work & new additions Rubio, Williams & Barea in action!
The TWolves had just five players on their bench. However, there's no question those five players were key in this VERY close game. All five bench players scored in double-digits--combining for 57 points total!
The Timberwolves were without: J.J. Barea, Malcolm Lee & Nikola Pekovic. You can find a full injury report under the Team Report-Injuries section on this site (updated daily).
The Heat were--as per usual--led by the "Big Three". The birthday boy: LeBron James (his 27th birthday), led Miami with 34 points. Chris Bosh battled with Love & Randolph all night and had 20 points. And of course, Dwayne Wade (who was nursing a foot injury) had 19 points and hit the game winning shot (again) on a lob pass--layup. Wade, had that final shot in a victory vs. Charlotte on Wednesday. Without a doubt--CLUTCH!
Kevin Love led the TWolves with his usual 25-12. Usually a big scorer: Michael Beasley--had just 4 points in 22 minutes (staying out of the game with 4 fouls). The big-time bench scoring was led by Anthony Randolph who had 14 points, then Ricky with 12, Ellington with 11 and Tolliver/Williams with 10 apiece.
The Timberwolves had a five minute stretch in the second quarter where they went on a 16-0 run (20-8 run to end the half) that got the Timberwolves back into the game, from a 13-point Miami lead through one quarter. The Heat starters came out strong in the third quarter, but a 10-1 run to begin the 4th quarter had the Timberwolves up 85-83 with 8:38 to go in the game.
Let's take a look at some team statistics for each team...
Clearly the story tonight was the team turnovers. The Timberwolves' very lackadaisical ball control is extremely frustrating and against a fast break team like Miami--looking for highlight reel dunks on the break--is anything but good! Surprisingly, however, the Timberwolves were able to force 15 Miami team turnovers in which they converted 22 points--not bad! A +7 for Minnesota in rebounding and a 38% shooting clip from deep--is GREAT! The Wolves at the free throw line though? ROUGH! The Timberwolves went 1 for 2 at the line in their final three trips (2 'trips' by Tolliver), that could've won them the game! Leaving those three points, cost them the game (among other things--of course!).
The Timberwolves were in it till the end, however, like last season, this team just cannot close games. This team was able to "hang" with one of the best Western Conference teams: the Thunder on Monday and at the end of the week--one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference! This team has awesome potential, but I'd rather be talking about W's, then how good we could/will be!
Let's take a look at some individual stats from tonight's game...
Kevin Love lead the team, but once again, his turnovers totaled six! Last season, I can't even remember too many games with half that many TOs. Adelman wants him to "dish" the ball more, which is the result of his assist totals being up this season. He had another good game, however. He out-dueled the likes of Bosh & Haslem in the post! Randolph made the most of his minutes--being one of only five Timberwolves bench players. He didn't even get to play vs. the Bucks on Tuesday and tonight he played 25 minutes and delivered with 14pts and a block in the paint that got me out of my seat! :) The last three TWolves players on the list above--may have impressed me the most! Ricky Rubio registered his first double-double game with a GREAT 12pt, 12ast game! Flat-out FUN to WATCH! Wayne Ellington proved his worth to the team with main backup guard J.J. Barea out. He outscored starting shooting guard Wayne Ellington (who had 6), but also played double the minutes (Wes played 17). If I was Adelman, I might give Ellington a run at the starting shooting guard. We'd at least get a two-guard who could score! Tolliver may have been the most impressive tonight though. Yes, he missed those free throws at the end, but he did a lot of other things GREAT! His defense on LeBron was impressive, it was like DeShawn Stevenson (the "LeBron Stopper") out there! Very impressive defensive output from Tolli.
What can you say about the Big Three that hasn't been said. There all great scorers, their all all-stars, without one of them--the struggle. They have some bench players who could step up, but their bench isn't consistent. Norris Cole was a huge addition for them this season. A fun fact: both of the Timberwolves' point guards were players the Timberwolves drafted and traded to the Heat--both Cole (2011) & Chalmers (2009)!
That's all I've got for now! Stay tuned for some pictures of tonight's game that will be added to the Media--Pictures as well as a video recap! Thanks for reading, the Wolves' next game will be versus the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday (1/1). Tipoff is set for 6pmCT and a full gameday preview for that game can be found for that game on this site under the Gameday header, before then. GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves last played on Tuesday night versus the Milwaukee Bucks. Playing at the Bradley Center, the Wolves looked awful on both ends of the floor while they racked up 25 turnovers on the night! The result was a 95-98 loss. You can find a full gameday recap of that game under the Gameday section of this blog, in a prior post.
The Timberwolves have now started this new season 0-2, also falling to the Thunder on Monday. The game against Oklahoma City was much more impressive. They lost by just four points, but matched up well with the Thunder--staying in it till the end--with a chance to win it in the final minutes (a full gameday recap of that game can also be found in the Gameday section on this site).
After going an undefeated 2-0 in the preseason (vs. Milwaukee), the Timberwolves have started the regular season 0-2 and this next game will be against a contender that could easily waltz into the Target Center and embarrass Minnesota. Alternatively, the Heat could underestimate the Wolves and get caught off guard for their first loss of the season. Either way, I'm excited and will be watching, this one!
The Timberwolves will be facing a Miami Heat team that is 3-0 on the season--which includes to tough road wins that came back-to-back. The first versus the Celtics and the second: a win vs. the Bobcats in which the Bobcats had the lead with just a few seconds to go. Gerald Henderson hit a three with 12 seconds remaining to put the 'Cats up by one. With 2.9 on the clock, Dwayne Wade hit a bank-shot jumper over Gerald Henderson that lifted the Heat to a 96-95 victory. D.J. Augustin's three-point shot off the inbounds didn't fall and D.J. White's putback at the buzzer rolled out, sealing a Heat victory and keeping them undefeated.
Let's compare the stat leaders for these two teams (even though the Wolves have played two games--and Miami has played three)...
Kevin Love has carried the Wolves in their first two games. His consistency is what sets him apart from the Wolves' other top scorer: Michael Beasley. If Beasley could consistently score 20ppg, the Wolves would have one at least one game thus far. As per usual, Love is dominating on the boards. As of Dec. 28th (before that nights game) Kevin Love is leading the NBA (once again) in rebounds per game. Ricky Rubio is leading the Wolves in both steals and assists--with more minutes a game or even starter minutes, those numbers would increase--no doubt. Surprisingly, the Wolves' Darko Milicic isn't leading the team in blocks per game. Often times last season--he'd have games of two or three blocks a game. His minutes have been reduced, but he has yet to register a single block this season!
LeBron James is playing very well this season. Averaging 32.7ppg. The Timberwolves allowed Kevin Durant to go off for 33pts in their first game. I'd consider Durant a superior scorer, however, I don't doubt LeBron will have a big game versus the likes of Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson & Derrick Williams! I wouldn't worry about the Timberwolves getting beaten on the boards. With Love, Beasley, Williams, Tolliver, Milicic & Johnson crashing the glass, the likes of James, Wade, Bosh, Anthony & Haslem aren't too worrisome.
Let's take a look at the projected starting lineups for the game...
I don't see the Wolves changing their starting lineup yet. Ricky Rubio won't be TWolves' starting point guard--just yet. Much like Minnesota, Miami may be looking at a point guard change very soon--as well. Norris Cole has performed very well for the Heat thus far this season. Like Rubio & Ridnour, Cole is challenging Chalmers for that starting gig. The biggest challenge for the Wolves will be defending LeBron & Wade. Johnson will likely see a lot of time against Wade, while Beasley will do his best to challenge James. Expect Wade & James (much like Westbrook & Durant on Monday vs. OKC) to have very 'big' games!
The Timberwolves are expected to be without backup center Nikola Pekovic once again. He suffered a groin injury on Dec. 21st--a preseason game vs. Milwaukee. He practiced on Thursday, but Adelman says he won't be ready for the game on Friday. J.J. Barea could potentially miss the game as well as he suffered a hamstring injury during the Dec. 27th game vs. Milwaukee. He's listed as day-to-day, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: Barea's hamstring is strained and not torn and he's questionable for the game. Lastly, Malcolm Lee has been out as well with a knee injury. He's having it looked at again by doctors early on Friday. He had surgery in March to repair his MCL, but it's unsure if it's related. He's doubtful for the game.
On a sidenote, I looked into tickets for the game. For $160 you can get lower level tickets that are usually $35-$45 vs. teams like Indiana, Charlotte & Portland. I won't be going, but there will likely be a nice crowd at the Target Center. According to the Timberwolves' Twitter page, there are roughly 1500 tickets remaining!
PROJECTED FINAL OUTCOME: Timberwolves 88, Heat 99
--I think the Timberwolves will be more disciplined--controlling the basketball and limiting turnovers. Rick Adelman will be back and will actually make adjustments when things aren't working on the court (like Terry Porter didn't when he filled in). More ball control, but I still feel the Wolves offense will struggle against Miami's D, and with LeBron & Wade running the break, the TWolves will get hammered in fast break points!
That's all for now, tipoff is set for 7pmCT (Friday) at the Target Center. You can find a full gameday recap for the game, on this site, following the final horn. Thanks for reading and, as always, GO WOLVES!
Down by twenty points at one point in tonight's contest, the Timberwolves battled back and had a chance to tie the game with 7.2 seconds to go. Out of the timeout, the ball went to Kevin Love who put up a three that missed long, and the Timberwolves fell to the Bucks 95-98. This was the 7th loss in 8 games for the Wolves at the Bradley Center dating back to 2004. It was also (technically) the Wolves' 17th-straight loss which is a new franchise record for consecutive losses.
Plain and simple: The way the Timberwolves played tonight; they didn't deserve to win this game. They may have defeated the Bucks twice in the preseason--but when it counted the Bucks buckled down and simply played harder on both ends of the floor.
The Wolves were without head coach Rick Adelman who was attending funeral services for his mother-in-law. Terry Porter was the head coach for the Wolves in tonight's contest. Let's just say, some of the lineups he trotted out there were head-scratchers--to say the least, just that he kept units out there that just weren't working, on either side of the ball.
For the past few weeks we've heard all about how this was a different Timberwolves team. Tonight, I saw the same team I saw for 82 games last season. Turnover-prone, uncommitted on defense and just flat-out; not playing as a cohesive unit.
This drops to Wolves to 0-2 on the season as they're still searching for their first win on the year. The Timberwolves won't play again until Thursday (Dec. 30th) when they return home to the Target Center to face the Miami Heat. A full gameday preview of that game will be available on this site sometime tomorrow.
Let's take a look at some of the team stats from tonight's contest...
The Wolves shot fairly well from the field, from deep and from the line. But, the story here (unlike last night) was all about the teams turnovers. The Wolves turned the ball over 25 times, which more than doubled not only Milwaukee's totals tonight--but the Wolves' own numbers from last night's game vs. OKC when they had just 12! No team can turn the ball over that many times and expect to win any games in the NBA! I know, the Bucks are known for their defensive efforts, but that's just pathetic! If you watched the game, you see what I mean. Every time they threw it away, it was just cringe-worthy!
Let's take a look at some of tonight's top players for each squad...
Kevin Love: 31pts, 20rebs, 2ast, 1fl, 3tos, 6-for-18 FG, 0-for-4 from deep, 19-for-24 from the line in 40 minutes
--Kevin Love set a new Timberwolves single game record with 19 free throws made as well as 24 free throws attempted. He did a good job of staying aggressive and getting himself to the line. His turnovers are definitely higher this season, I'm not quite sure yet why that is. My best guess: he's looking to pass more and that's both good and bad.
Luke Ridnour: 17pts, 3ast, 4fls, 4tos, 1stl, 7-10 FG, 2-2 from 3, 1-2 at the line in 34 minutes
--Luke is definitely not giving up his starting job without a fight. He had a solid game, scoring in double digits with an extremely high percentage. He missed a free throw late that would have eventually put them down by just 2 points in the final seconds which could have made this a completely different ball game! His 4 turnovers and 4 fouls did certainly hurt them tonight!
Michael Beasley: 15pts, 7rebs, 4fls, 3tos, 6-13 FG, 1-2 from 3, 2-6 from the line, in 25 minutes
--Fouls limited Beas' playing time tonight. He started the game off VERY slow and had just 3 points at halftime and 5 by the end of the third. He turned it on in the final quarter as the TWolves made their push scoring 10 of his 15. He took considerably less shots, but was a bit more efficient on the night.
OTHERS: Ricky Rubio (6pts, 3rebs, 4ast, 3stls, 3fls, 3tos in 27 minutes), J.J. Barea (9pts, 3rebs, 4ast, 1fl, 1to, 1stl, 1-9 FG, 6-6 from line in 19 minutes)
Brandon Jennings: 24pts, 3rebs, 7ast, 2tos, 7-14 FG, 1-5 from 3, 9-10 from the line in 36 minutes
Stephen Jackson: 16pts, 5rebs, 2ast, 4fls, 2tos, 3stls, 7-20 FG in 36 minutes
Andrew Bogut: 15pts, 9rebs, 3ast, 6fls, 1to, 2stls, 7-20 FG, in 31 minutes
Jon Leuer: 14pts, 8rebs, 1ast, 2blks, 3fls, 1to, 2stls, 5-7FG in 20 minutes
Jennings & Leuer were big contributors that were also very efficient. Leuer got some extended playing time in the absence of forward Drew Gooden who was serving a suspension after a flagrant two foul last night against Gerald Henderson of Charlotte. The Bucks were also without Tobias Harris, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute & Carlos Delfino who are all dealing with injuries. Both Jackson & Bogut threw up 20 shots apiece connecting on just 7! The Bucks will rely heavily on Jennings, Bogut & Jackson night in and night out. If just one of them struggles it'll be a tough night for Milwaukee. Unfortunately they all had solid games--as did reserve rookie forward Jon Leuer whose three-point play with just over a minute to play, helped seal a W.
The Timberwolves will be back in action Thursday vs. Miami at the Target Center (as noted before). Tipoff is set for 7pmCT and a full gameday preview can be found on this site before then. Stay tuned for some pictures, videos & stats for tonight's game. Thanks for reading--GO WOLVES!
Back-to-back games for the first time, of many this season--in fact it's the first of sixteen total! Obviously the Timberwolves are coming off that 100-104 loss to the Thunder last night at the Target Center. A full gameday recap of that game can be found in the previous post under our "Gameday" section!
Tonight's game vs. Milwaukee will be their third time the Wolves have played them in the last 10 days; with two preseason games on the 17th & 21st of December.
Both these teams have started their seasons off 0-1. The Bucks were defeated last night as well--losing to the Charlotte Bobcats by just one point; 95-96 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. A Bobcat backcourt of rookie Kemba Walker & D.J. Augustin scored the final seven points of the game for Charlotte that helped hold off a late surge by the Bucks to seal the victory. In the game, Brandon Jennings had 22 points and big man Andrew Bogut added 17 as well as 9 rebounds, they also got a lift from their bench as former Bobcat Shaun Livingston had 14pts, 6ast & Beno Udrih added 13.
The success of that Kemba-D.J. backcourt for Charlotte last night, opens a big door for extended playing time together for Ricky Rubio & J.J. Barea. A backcourt that is not only very fun to watch--but also very effective!
The PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS for tomorrows game
Luke Ridnour & Brandon Jennings
Wesley Johnson & Mike Dunleavy
Michael Beasley & Stephen Jackson
Kevin Love & Ersan Ilyasova
Darko Milicic & Andrew Bogut
It'll be the same starting lineup for Minnesota that they used in their lost to Oklahoma City. I will say, based on Rubio's performance; it won't be long till he cracks that starting lineup! Not long at all... Some other notes: This was the starting lineup the Bucks used against Charlotte last night, so I simply assume they'll trot out the same starting five, though it could obviously--easily change! Stephen Jackson played just 17 minutes in last nights game scoring just 6 points. Hopefully he continues to "struggle", because when he's on he can carry a team!
This is the first & last game for the Timberwolves against their border rivals this season. It could also, potentially, be the Timberwolves' 17th-straight regular season loss, which would be a new franchise record for consecutive losses. Not very fair, considering this is a completely different squad compared to last seasons--especially during those final fifteen games!
The key players Minnesota will need to keep an eye on...or rather: a hand in their face. Mike Dunleavy: if you don't cover him, he'll hit shots and make you pay--plain and simple. He looked VERY good in the Wolves' two preseason games, he had 13 for MIL in their loss last night. Brandon Jennings: A quick versatile guard, who is a solid scorer and a lot of fun to watch when he's "on". If he gets going, Ridnour & Rubio will have their hands full. Both guards as well as Barea did a pretty good job on Westbrook last night--he did have 28pts, but he also had those 7 turnovers! Andrew Bogut: I've liked what I've seen from Darko in these three games this season (two preseason, one reg. season), when motivated Darko could potentially be an All-Star (no joke), if Darko has a good game--Bogut won't! Stephen Jackson: He didn't practice all training camp and was thrown into his first action on the 21st of Dec. against Minnesota. He's a good player, but he's in a new system, with a new coach, and a new crop of teammates--it's going to take a while!
The two preseason games, less than a week ago, had the Timberwolves with a 117-96 win and a narrow 85-84 win. Hopefully they'll build off those two successful games and get their first win of the season, tonight at the Bradley Center! (you can find the full gameday recaps of the two preseason games in previous posts under the Gameday section of our site!)
A big key to tonight's victory: hitting three-point shots. In that first preseason game vs. Milwaukee, the Timberwolves shot 15-for-24 from deep and blew the doors off Milwaukee 117-96. In the second preseason game they connected on 6-of-15 and escaped with a narrow one-point victory. And of course, last night: the Timberwolves shot 3-for-22 from deep and lost in a close four-point game! A big key to this offense is most definitely those three-point shots!
FINAL NOTES: Rick Adelman will not be at the game tomorrow as he has to go to a funeral for his mother-in-law. Assistant Coach Terry Porter will be the head coach for the game....Nikola Pekovic missed yesterday's game vs. OKC with a groin injury and is expected to miss today's as well.....
That's all for now, you can expect a full gameday recap following the final horn of tonight's game. Tipoff is set for 7:30pmCT tomorrow from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee Wisconsin! Lastly, if you haven't already you can find the recap, stats & pictures on our site from last night's game (under the 'gameday', 'stats', & media-pictures' section(s) of our site). Hope you had a Happy Holidays! Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
Durant & Co. proved to be too much for the Timberwolves in an incredibly close battle that came down to the waning seconds of the game. Durant, Westbrook & Harden combined for 77 of Oklahoma City's 104 points as they are now 2-0 on the season (defeating the Magic on Christmas day, as well).
This marks the 10th straight time the Thunder have defeated the Timberwolves--staying undefeated against their division rivals since their move from Seattle. It's also, technically, the Wolves' 16-straight regular season loss (as the Wolves ended the season on a 15-game losing streak), which ties for the mos
It was a battle of a team with lofty expectations--one that many peg to be a contender up against a team many would dub, a doormat of the League. With this narrow loss, I don't think anyone will be seeing Minnesota as the "laughingstock" of the NBA.
It came down to the wire as the Timberwolves had a chance to tie it up late. With just seconds left Michael Beasley drove baseline and met Kendrick Perkins in the lane, there was contact (watching the replays, I don't think there was any foul), Perkins grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 3.0 seconds to go. He stepped up to the line, and knocked down both shots midst a roaring crowd at the Target Center, an airball from Beasley as time ran out, sealed the victory for OKC and allowed them a BIG sigh of relief!
Watching the game on TV, it was a blast watching Ricky Rubio & Derrick Williams in their NBA debuts as well as J.J. Bareas TWolves debut! All three had solid games...but we'll get to that in a bit...
Let's take a look at some team statistics...
What sticks out? For Minnesota, like I've said before; "Live by the three, die by the three!" Anytime you shoot 14% and take 22 attempts from deep, you're lucky to have only lost by four. That, however, is not the biggest surprise when you look at these stats, what is? The fact the Wolves had just 12 turnovers on the night! 12! Obviously, something they've been working on in practice--and should continue to work on. Lastly, the Wolves' bench points. They got some good production off the pine from Barea, Williams & Rubio. The Thunder's bench--as always, was led by James Harden who dumped in 16 of those 29 bench points. When Westbrook & Durant combine for 61 points, your bench isn't a huge concern--though I don't doubt they wish they had a few more options off the pine.
Let's take a look at some key performers in tonight's game for each squad...
Kevin Love: 22pts, 12rebs, 5ast, 43% FG, 9-for-12 from the line, 3fls, 3tos, 1stl, in 41 minutes
--Kevin Love had a solid game, Perkins & Ibaka kept him off the boards--a bit, but really, he did still grab 12! It's crazy, to me, that Love had more turnovers tonight (3) than Beasley did (2).
Michael Beasley: 24pts, 5rebs, 1ast, 1blk, 11-for-27 (41%) FG, 2tos, 1stl in 36 minutes
--As usual, Beasley jacked up a lot of shots and didn't make too many. 41% isn't terrible, but when you throw up 27 shots, he's literally taking nearly twice as many shots as the rest of his teammates (Love & Williams both with 14 FGAs).
J.J. Barea: 14pts, 2rebs, 2ast in 27 minutes off the bench
--Barea was a huge spark off the bench, he had a number of charges he drew, some good defensive work, and a number of easy layups. He'll be key cog in that second unit this season.
Darko Milicic: 12pts, 3rebs, 2fls, 1to, 4-for-6 FG, 4-for-6 FT, in 20 minutes
--Darko actually had a solid game. Sure, he probably shouldn't have been called on as much as he was in the post, but he was efficent from the field and when he was sent to the line, the story was the same. He didn't have any blocks, however, against bigs like Perkins & Ibaka; I wouldn't expect it. Perkins--who practically, doesn't take any shots & Ibaka who eithers slams an easy dunk or hits the elbow jumper.
In their rookie debuts...
Derrick Williams: 13pts, 6rebs, 1ast, 6-for-14 FG, 0-for-4 3PT, 3fls, 2tos, 1stl, in 24 minutes off the bench
--Not a great game for the rookie. Sure he had 13 points, but it wasn't done efficiently. He missed all the three-point shots he took--which seemed to be the case for a lot of the Wolves players!
Ricky Rubio: 6pts, 5rebs, 6ast, 2-for-3 FG, 2-2 FT, 4fls in 26 minutes off the bench
--Plain and simple, I wish he would just start already! His passing ability is not only fun to watch, but he gets his teammates some of the best wide-open looks I've ever seen! Just flat-out fun to watch! I give Luke Ridnour 6 or 7 more games, before he losses his starting job to the young Spaniard!
Kevin Durant: 33pts, 5rebs, 3ast, 1stl, 100% in 7FTAs, in 38 minutes
Russell Westbrook: 28pts, 6rebs, 6ast, 100% in 8FTAs, 7tos, 3stls, in 36 minutes
James Harden: 16pts, 6rebs, 3ast in 30 minutes off the bench
--Flat out, these three guys killed the Wolves tonight. Watching Durant play, just makes me "hate" him, because he literally makes almost every shot he takes up (or at least that's the way it seems) and by hate, I simply mean: upset--because he's not on my team! The Wolves did a great job frustrating Westbrook and causing those 7tos, though he did still have a solid scoring night. Lastly, Harden; he actually had 14pts at halftime, so, the Wolves either did a better job on him defensively or he just disappeared in the second half! I'll go with a Wolves defensive effort! :)
That's all for now, thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the game as much as I did this evening! Hope you had a Happy Holidays, you can expect a full gameday preview for the Timberwolves game versus the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow evening by early afternoon tomorrow! Also, stay tuned to our TWolves Media-Pictures section for some photos from tonight's game! Good night & GO WOLVES!
UPDATE: A quick couple notes on Oklahoma City's opener on Christmas day. They faced the Orlando Magic in OKC this Christmas evening, which resulted in a 97-89 Thunder win. Kevin Durant led the charge with 30pts on 11-of-19 shooting, 5rebs & 6ast. Other key performers for the Thunder included 19pts, 6rebs and 3ast for James Harden off the bench in 32 minutes. Russell Westbrook added 14pts, 7rebs & 6ast on 6-of-17 shooting. The key to their win? OKC was able to hold Dwight Howard to just 11pts on the night--he did however pull down 15rebs (note: Kevin Love will blow up on the boards tomorrow night!). The Thunder led throughout the whole night, by the end of the third they were up 18. An easy win for the Thunder against a squad that seems very distracted by their superstar wanting OUT! Enjoy the rest of your Christmas! Get pumped for tomorrow's TWolves opener at the Target Center! GO WOLVES!
The day after Christmas marks the Timberwolves' first regular season matchup of a shortened 66-game season.
The Wolves' preseason went VERY well. They beat the Bucks twice in two exhibition games. Check out both of those gameday recaps under the 'Gameday' section of this site.
The Wolves will look to build off an undefeated preseason going into a really rough first week with five games in eight days!
The first of which is versus the Oklahoma City Thunder--a team that most analysts have not only taking the Western Conference Championship--but also the NBA Championship. Lofty expectations for a young team, but they're definitely good enough.
Let's take a look at the lineups for each team...
PG: Luke Ridnour, Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea, Malcolm Lee
SG: Wesley Johnson, Wayne Ellington
SF: Michael Beasley
PF: Kevin Love, Derrick Williams, Anthony Randolph, Anthony Tolliver
C: Darko Milicic
PG: Russell Westbrook, Eric Maynor, Reggie Jackson, Royal Ivey
SG: James Harden, Thabo Sefelosha, Daequan Cook
SF: Kevin Durant, Lazar Hayward, Ryan Reid
PF: Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison
C: Kendrick Perkins, Nazr Mohammed, Cole Aldrich
Obviously, you see the former TWolf: Lazar Hayward. A trade sent Lazar to the Thunder for two second-round picks as well as guard Robert Vaden (who MIN waived immediately). Hopefully he sees some time this season as the main backup to Kevin Durant.
Also noted, we put James Harden as the Thunder's starting shooting guard. Last season Thabo was their starter, however I feel that he should be their starter. That being said, it's likely he won't, they like having him come off the bench as a sixth man scoring punch!
There are a lot of great matchups in this game...
You've got Ricky Rubio against Russell Westbrook (Ricky won't start, but he'll finish AND see plenty of minutes. A playmaking guard who won't look to shoot against a point guard who maybe takes TOO MANY shots. It should be a good matchup on both ends of the floor.
Michael Beasley against Kevin Durant, we'll see if Beas can slow down my pick for this years scoring champ & MVP, let's face it, Kevin Durant is going to be unstoppable this season. If the Wolves want to win this game--Adelman needs to find someone/way to stop--or rather slow down Durant!
Kevin Love against Serge Ibaka, two young forwards, we'll see if Ibaka's defense is good enough to shut down Kevin offensively and on the boards! Serge is a great defender, but he'll have his hands full with K-Love, who will likely still go off for 20+ points and pull-down 15+ rebounds.
I'm excited to see more of a lot of different things in this first game this season. We'll get to see more of that Ricky Rubio--J.J. Barea backcout. A frontcourt that features Beasley/Williams/Love.
There are also a lot of questions that I'm curious to see answered this game. For instance: how much will Anthony Randolph get to play? How will he perform? Sure, Luke Ridnour will start, but how much will he play now that Ricky Rubio & J.J. Barea are back? Malcolm Lee performed very well that second preseason game, but like Luke, how much time will he see? Can Wesley Johnson be an effective starting shooting guard in this League? A lot of questions, that are, without a doubt going to take longer than just one game vs. the Thunder to answer.
An interesting sidenote; this game will feature two players who have slimmed down substantially this offseason. Minnesota's Kevin Love dropped 20-25lbs. and is a much more mobile player with more stamina. OKC's Kendrick Perkins also took the extended offseason to shed some pounds and looks great, no longer is a 6-10 boulder, he looks like Kevin Durant if he was muscular, now! Who knows, we may even get to see these guys matched up against one another, as Perkins is someone Love could definitely match up against in the post in that B/DW/L frontcourt!
A few small predictions for you going into this game...
1.) Kevin Love will have a 20-15 game as long as his "jammed" ankle lets him play the whole game.
2.) Ricky Rubio will have double-digits in assists.
3.) Michael Beasley will score 15+ points, but he'll also let Kevin Durant go off for 25+!
4.) Serge Ibaka will record 3+ blocks.
5.) Darko Milcic will record 2+ blocks.
6.) Derrick Williams will have at least one highlight reel dunk in this game.
7.) Wesley Johnson will play less than 15 minutes.
8.) Russell Westbrook will score under 13 points.
9.) The Wolves will hit at least 10 three-pointers.
10.) Lastly, Minnesota will boast a +8 (or more) rebounds.
PROJECTED FINAL OUTCOME: Minnesota 93, Oklahoma City 104
That's all for now, if you haven't already, check out our preseason analysis' for each position under the News & Rumors section of this site. Tipoff is set for 7pmCT from the Target Center, you'll be able to find a full gameday recap on this site following the final horn! Thanks for reading, have a Happy Holidays & GO WOLVES!
Kevin Love wanted to be more of a leader for this young Timberwolves, there's no doubt that his performance in the final minutes of a double-digit deficit he proved his worth. He single scored 10 straight points as part of a 12-0 run that ended the game for the Wolves, winning 84-85. Ten straight points & two clutch free throws by Michael Beasley with just nine seconds sealed a tight victory. With just over two minutes to go the Wolves were down double digits, but thanks to Love's hustle & late-game heroics, the Timberwolves boast an undefeated preseason in 2011.
The first half was the complete opposite of their game on Saturday. They came out in the first quarter and turned the ball over seven times. The Wolves were without point guards Ricky Rubio & J.J. Barea who are nursing some "minor injuries", sitting out seems to be just a precaution, so that they're ready to play the regular season opener on Monday night vs. Oklahoma City.
At halftime the TWolves' usual top scorers: Beasley & Love, had 4 & 7 points. In the absence of Rubio & Barea, rookie Lee saw some extended minutes and at halftime he had chipped in 6 points. Nikola Pekovic also had a strong first quarter (he started in place of Darko) with 4 points & 5 rebounds. Another change to the starting lineup saw Wayne Ellington in place of Wesley Johnson.
At halftime the Bucks were led by Mike Dunleavy & Drew Gooden who each had 8 points. Brandon Jennings chipped in 6, but also had 8 assists. We also saw Stephen Jackson on court for the first time in a Bucks uniform--he chipped in 7 points by halftime.
The Timberwolves outscored the Bucks 23-27. The Wolves' starting lineup got things going. Darko Milicic was plugged in to the starting lineup in place of Nikola Pekovic (I feel there has to be a reason, because I felt Nikola was playing fairly well in the first quarter--which was the only time he played all night). The TWolves were down just one point after the third quarter.
In the fourth the Timberwolves struggled early and the Bucks were able to turn a one-point lead into a double digit "one". Until of course the TWolves or rather Kevin Love, went to work and got the W.
Let's take a look at some team comparison statistics from tonight's game....
The Timberwolves certainly didn't have the kind of night from downtown as they did on Saturday, however 40% from 3-point range. As per usual the Timberwolves out-rebounded their opposition with a +7, led by Love with 16. The Timberwolves had another night struggling to hang on to the basketball. With 22 turnovers tonight, that's 8 more than they had on Saturday--again the absence of Rubio & Barea is likely a big factor in that.
A different feature in our gameday recap, we'll take a look at each player on the roster and their contribution tonight followed up by Milwaukee's key players of the game...
KEVIN LOVE: 22pts, 16rebs, 4ast, 1stl, 6-for-10 FG, 2-for-4 from 3, 8-for-9 from the line in 27 minutes.
--Flat-out, Kevin Love won this one for the Wolves tonight. Without his rebounding, three-point shooting, free-throw shooting, hustle & late-game heroics. Love gave up some chances to score early on with a number of assists. He was fresh in the fourth quarter--a big nod to his weight loss--less fatigue in the late stages of the game.
MICHAEL BEASLEY: 12pts, 2rebs, 1blk, 1stl, 4-for-13 FG, 4-for-4 from the line, in 31 minutes
--Beasley had a less than stellar game. Poor shooting from the field didn't stop him from trying to shot his way out of his slump. Of course, the two free throws he hit in the final seconds of the game, gave the Wolves the win.
LUKE RIDNOUR: 11pts, 1reb, 6ast, 2stls, 4-for-11 FG in 31 minutes
--Ridnour saw extended minutes in the absence of Ricky & J.J. He wasn't awful, but ultimately wasn't anything special. He was matched up against his former "protegee": Jennings, who made it hard on Ridnour. Forcing him into 3 of the Wolves' 22 turnovers.
MALCOLM LEE: 9pts, 4rebs, 5ast, 1stl, 3-for-6 FG, 3-for-4 from the line, 4TOs, in 24 minutes off the bench
--Like Ridnour, Lee saw a big bump in minutes tonight. On Saturday he played just a few minutes in "garbage time" of the fourth quarter. I could easily see Lee as the Wolves' starting shooting guard at some point this season. He's got the length & quickness to defend both guard positions. He had the most turnovers on the team (4), but everyone needs to work on that (Wes & Darko were the only two players to not have any turnovers).
WAYNE ELLINGTON: 8pts, 1reb, 1ast, 1blk, 3-for-8 from the field, 2-for-3 from 3 in 27 minutes
--Ellington got the nod at shooting guard for the Wolves tonight in place of Wesley Johnson. He played fairly well, I wouldn't say he'll be your starting shooting guard come Monday's opener, but he's certainly earned himself a spot on the roster. His shooting will be a boost off the bench if he can remain a consistent contributor off the bench.
WESLEY JOHNSON: 5pts, 2rebs, 1stl, 2-for-3 from the field, 1-for-1 from 3, in 12 minutes off the bench
--Will Wes be the starting 2-guard come Monday? I honestly don't know. I'm not sure Rick Adelman does either. He's a young player, but wildly inconsistent. He's playing out of position. I hope Adelman & Co. will be able to work with him more, since the Wolves invested the 4th pick in him last year. He could be a good sixth man off the bench along with Derrick Williams, but then, who starts at the 2?
NIKOLA PEKOVIC: 4pts, 5rebs, 1stl, 1-for-1 from the field, 2-for-2 from the line in 12 minutes
--I like the first quarter we saw from Pekovic tonight. If he's consistent he could snag the starting job at some point this season. I would've liked to have seen him more on the court tonight.
DERRICK WILLIAMS: 4pts, 3rebs, 1blk, 1stl, 3TOs, 2-for-4 from the field in 14 minutes off the bench
--D-Will didn't do anything special tonight. Nothing notable on either side of the ball. He's a young player who will experience his ups and downs. We didn't see as much of the Beas-Williams-Love combo tonight either...
ANTHONY RANDOLPH: 4pts, 3rebs, 3TOs, 1-for-4 from the field in 16 minutes off the bench
--Randolph received a big bump in minutes compared to Saturday's game, however, he wasn't able to do much of anything with it. I just felt bad for the big guy out there. He was hustling and trying hard, but maybe a little too hard. He'll need to perform at a much higher level if he wants to be a part of Adelman's core rotation this season.
BONZI WELLS: 2pts, 4rebs, 1ast, 1-for-4 from the field in 16 minutes
--There's a VERY good chance Bonzi won't be making the Wolves' roster after these past two preseason games. Adelman has said he can still play in this League, however his performances on the court say differently. Expect tonight to be the last time we see Wells sporting a TWolves uni.
DARKO MILICIC: 2pts, 4rebs, 2ast, 1stl, 1-for-2 from the field in 15 minutes off the bench
--I realized tonight that I don't mind Darko as the TWolves' starting center. If the Wolves decide to go the route of a Beas-Williams-Love frontcourt, it won't be a terrible thing. If Darko starts at center it wouldn't be bad either. As long as Darko stays motivated, he'll be solid as a starter or reserve.
ANTHONY TOLLIVER: 2pts, 1reb, 1blk, 1stl, 1-for-4 from the field in 16 minutes off the bench
--Mr. Hustle didn't have a great game off the bench, he didn't score the ball well or rebound. However, there were a handful of plays where Tolliver's hustle came into play, he's definitely a valuable player on this squad.
KEY PLAYERS for MIL
DREW GOODEN: 15pts, 3rebs, 1ast, 2stls, 6-for-12 from the field, 1-for-1 from 3 in 23 minutes off the bench
LUC RICHARD MBAH A MOUTE: 14pts, 4rebs, 1ast, 2blks, 3stls, 6-for-11 from the field in 25 minutes
--Mbah a Moute surprised me tonight. I didn't really know he could score the basketball. I figured he was simply a defender and nothing more!
MIKE DUNLEAVY: 13pts, 3rebs, 2ast, 5-for-10 from the field in 28 minutes
BRANDON JENNINGS: 9pts, 5rebs, 9ast, 4-for-13 from the field in 36 minutes
--Wasn't a great shooting night for Jennings, however, his 9 assists is solid (of course 8 of them came in the first half!). As I said before, Jennings needs to be a better scorer if the Bucks want to win (a little pressure is off him with the additions of Dunleavy & Jackson this offseason).
My initial projection was a 102-89 Wolves victory. The Wolves struggled from the field (especially compared to Saturday's game), but they came away with the win. They got to see some different players and guys like Malcolm Lee and Anthony Randolph saw some extended minutes. I'm excited to see more of that Rubio-Barea backcourt, we'll have to wait till Monday though.
That's all for now. Expect a gameday preview to come out sometime Saturday morning-afternoon which I'll "promote" on Twitter a number of times: Saturday, Sunday & Monday. Until then, have a Happy Holidays & get pumped for some regular season Timberwolves basketball!! Also, stay tuned for some pictures & videos from tonight's game under the media section--coming soon! GO WOLVES!
UPDATE: As noted below, both Ricky Rubio & J.J. Barea are nursing some minor injuries. It appears as though they didn't travel with the team Tuesday night and won't be playing in the presesaon finale tomorrow in Milwaukee. They aren't serious injuries and it seems its merely a precaution to be sure they're ready for the Wolves' first regular season game: Dec. 26th vs. Oklahoma City Thunder. Neither player has practiced with the team the past two days.
The Timberwolves will be travelling to Milwaukee on Wednesday to face the Bucks in the second preseason game of two this offseason, before the Wolves officially, kick off their season vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 26th. The Wolves' first preseason game came on Saturday night at the Target Center, where the young T-Pups were able to hand a loss to one of their 'rivals". Granted, it's only a preseason game, but a 117-96 win over a solid team like Milwaukee (that may very well be contending for a playoff seed in the East), is impressive--even if it doesn't "mean anything".
Of course, watching Saturday's game there are still a lot of questions left to be answered for this year's Wolves. However, after just eight days of practice, the way they played was certainly impressive. The Bucks of course, were without Stephen Jackson (who, will likely be their leading scorer this season), I finally found out why as well! It appears there is some sort of problem with his contract, it appears he wants an extension from the Bucks, that they're a little hesitant to give the 33-year-old an extension. His current contract is for 2-years and a total just under $20M. Ultimately, I won't say he won't be playing on Wednesday, however for now, I'm assuming he isn't. As such, Mike Dunleavy will likely again take his place in the starting lineup (may not be a terrible thing), but we'll talk about that later.
Before we take a look at the projected starters for the game, let me just say, that there's almost a 100% chance that I'll be wrong, I mean come on, I thought Nikola Pekovic & Ricky Rubio would be starting. Nikola played just four minutes the whole game! What I put up here really doesn't matter, because it's merely a preseason game & head coach Rick Adelman is still looking at starting lineups. He did say last week, that he wasn't completely sure the Wolves would have a set starting lineup for the season, so it could change every day, we'll just have to wait and see. Also, Adelman has said following practice on Monday that Anthony Randolph & Nikola Pekovic (who both played four minutes in Saturday's game) would get more time in Wednesday's game.
Projected Starting Lineups
INJURIES for MIN
The Timberwolves currently have Martell Webster on the injured reserve. Webster is recovering from surgery on his back for a herniated disc. The surgery was in late-September and he's currently listed as: out indefinitely. Guards Ricky Rubio & J.J. Barea sat out practice on Monday. Rubio is nursing a sprained ankle, that he suffered in Saturday's game. Barea is nursing a thigh injury. Both guards may or may not play on Wednesday, both are minor injuries, but I think we'll see them Wednesday.
KEY PLAYERS for MIN
-Kevin Love: Obviously still the Wolves' best player. He knocked down threes and pulled down rebounds in Saturday's game. While he was on the court he looked slightly more mobile and more active on defense.
-Michael Beasley: Beasley looked good in Saturday's game, but as always he takes a lot of shots, but doesn't score a lot of points. If he's knocking down shots he's a huge asset for Minnesota, like most players, his D is less than stellar.
-Derrick Williams: Fortunately for Michael Beasley, Derrick Williams is struggling to defend small forwards. He looked good in his debut with 14 points. He's athletic & versatile, hopefully he'll work on becoming quicker and more mobile on both ends of the floor.
-Ricky Rubio: Ricky looked good in his debut. In just under 25 minutes he had 6pts, 6rebs & 7ast. He could've had double-digits in assists had his teammates converted a few more attempts. Imagine what his numbers could look like with starter minutes...
KEY PLAYERS for MIL
-Brandon Jennings: Jennings didn't have a very good game, but he's definitely one of the Bucks' top players. Jennings needs to be better on the offensive end on a nightly basis if the Bucks want to win.
-Andrew Bogut: Scott Skiles said after the game Saturday that he tried to get Bogut involved in the offense, however that was clearly wasn't successful. He's a good defender, but the Bucks need him to be more of a scorer. Look for him to get going early.
-Stephen Jackson or Mike Dunleavy: Whoever starts will be a key player for the Bucks. Even if S-Jax starts and Dunleavy comes off the bench, they're both key cogs in the Bucks' offense. Dunleavy was the certainly the best player for the Bucks on Saturday (see gameday recap from Dec. 17th). I hope to see Stephen Jackson on Wednesday, see how well the TWolves can defend a top-5 shooting guard in the NBA.
PROJECTED FINAL OUTCOME
That's all for now, tip-off is set for 7pmCT from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee Wisconsin. A full-gameday recap can be found on this site following the final horn. Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
Live by the three, die by the three. Tonight the Timberwolves were livin' large on the three-ball. Minnesota connected on15 of 24 attempts from deep and shut down the Bucks with a convincing 117-96 victory in this first game of a preseason border battle.
In our gameday preview I had the Timberwolves winning--but by just 9 points (98-87), the Wolves' offense was on fire and they came away with an impressive 21-point win.
It started off slow for the Wolves, they were up two points after one quarter, but in the second, the Bucks took control early and pushed it to a double digit lead. That's when the Wolves got hot. A three by Ellington ignited a 25-7 scoring run for the Timberwolves that had them sitting on a 10-point lead through the first half.
Kevin Love of course, had his customary double-double by halftime (15-11), Beasley had 11 & Barea: 9. Things started off a little rocky, back-and-forth for the Wolves. Their defense was certainly shaky (I laughed on Twitter at halftime when a fan said it was a defensive effort that Kurt Rambis would've been proud of, sadly--true), however their shooting was scorching hot and they rode it all the way to a blowout win.
Michael Beasley & Kevin Love lead the charge with 21 points apiece, however it still surprised me that Beasley still had a lot of freedom in Adelman's new system. Often times he'd stop the ball and isolate, which isn't right--it should be all about ball movement. However, a positive, both Love & Beasley looked more committed on defense. I saw a few plays where Love was guarding Andrew Bogut and he was right up in the "grill", contesting the shot. I also saw Beasley with some help defense, something I can't ever remember seeing too much last year. Hopefully the Wolves will be a little more committed on the defensive end this year. However, allowing the Bucks to score 96--without their top scorer: Stephen Jackson...is troubling.
The Bucks were without Stephen Jackson, for reasons, I'm unsure of. However newly acquired guard-forward: Mike Dunleavy took his place and was surprisingly, as the announcers dubbed it--'in midseason form".
Let's take a look at some team stats...
Clearly the Timberwolves dominated from beyond the arc, with almost everyone getting involved. However, the problem areas still stick out, quite noticeably. Team turnovers: 14. You can win games if you give the ball up, it's certainly down from some of last year's eye-popping numbers, however, if the Wolves want to win games, they need to take care of the ball.
The Wolves did a lot right though too. They had a +12 on the boards, they shot a high percentage from the floor overall and knocked down free throws.
Let's take a look at some of the key players' stats for each squad tonight...
Kevin Love: 21pts, 15rebs, 3ast, 1blk, 8-13FG, 4-7 from 3 in just 27 minutes
Michael Beasley: 21pts, 6rebs, 3ast, 1blk, 7-14FG, 6-8FT in just 27 minutes
J.J. Barea: 14pts, 3rebs, 6ast in 26 minutes off the bench
Derrick Williams: 14pts, 2rebs, 5-8FG, 3-4 from 3 in 21 minutes off the bench
Ricky Rubio: 6pts, 6rebs, 7ast. 2stls in 24 minutes off the bench (also just 1 turnover)
Mike Dunleavy: 16pts, 3rebs, 5ast, 1blk, 6-12FG, 3-6 from 3 in 26 minutes
Jon Leuer: 18pts, 5rebs, 1ast, 6-11FG, 6-7FT in 22 minutes off the bench
Kevin Love & Michael Beasley tore it up tonight and they were both able to do it in just 27 minutes. Everyone on the roster got a chance to get out on the court...some more than others. The Wolves started with last year's starting lineup: Ridnour/Johnson/Beasley/Love/Darko. Darko played 19 minutes & Ridnour had 18--both had solid games. Ridnour with 9pts on 4-of-6 shooting & Darko with 5pts, 4rebs and 3 blocks. Wesley Johnson certainly had an off-night. He ultimately, just kind of, looked lost out there. He finished with 5pts, 8rebs and 2ast on 1-of-6 shooting in 30 minutes. As of right now, Wes is really the only option at shooting guard.
Off the bench for the Wolves came J.J., Ricky & D-Will who all had impressive debuts as Timberwolves. Anthony Tolliver as per usual was Mr. Hustle off the bench--it's always a joy to watch him go to work. Most notably, when talking about the Timberrwolves' bench was the minutes of Anthony Randolph. Randolph played just 4 minutes, had 4pts and rebound on 0-3 from the field, 4-4 from the line. Definitely a surprise to see him buried at the end of the bench, however, with his short time in New York--it's nothing new for him. Certainly a situation to keep an eye on, going forward (though it is the preseason, so don't look into it too much)--splitting minutes between Love, D-Will, Tolliver & Randolph is no easy task... Malcolm Lee & Bonzi Wells also made their debuts as Wolves. Bonzi played 9 minutes as was quite unimpressive. He had just 1 point on 0-for-3 shooting from the field as well as 3 fouls, a turnover and a steal. Lee played just 4 minutes during the "garbage time" of the fourth quarter, adding a three pointer, a rebound and a steal.
One thing is for certain, the play of Ricky Rubio was exciting. In limited minutes he had big numbers and I witnessed some great passes. You know, the kind that make ya go: AHHH! :) He was a lot of fun to watch, it won't be long till he works himself into the starting lineup.
OTHER NOTES: Ricky Rubio twisted his ankle during the first half and briefly left the court to get the ankle re-taped, he returned and appeared to play just fine in the second half....I was definitely wrong on the starting lineups for both teams, however Rick Adelman says that he plans on changing the starting lineup for Wednesday's preseason game as well....The Target Center saw an attendance of 15,013 which is the highest for a TWolves preseason game since 1999 and the 6th largest preseason crowd in TWolves history....Both Rick Adelman & Ricky Rubio say they liked the pairing of Rubio & Barea in the backcourt that the Wolves used quite a bit tonight....Kevin Love will sound the Gjallarhorn for the Vikings prior to tomorrow's game vs. the Saints......
That's all for now, thanks for reading and remember to check back daily for all your Timberwolves news, information & updates all year round under the News & Rumors section. Also, check back soon to our media section that we'll be updating with pictures & videos from tonight's game. Our next gameday preview will be coming early next week as the Wolves will travel to Milwaukee for the last preseason game before the season starts the following weekend. GOWOLVESGO!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!