WOW! That was fun to watch!
With 2:55 to play the score was tied at 86. Alexey Shved would score two buckets within just mere seconds of one another to give the Wolves the lead 90-86 with 2:21 to play. George Hill would hit a mid-range jumper to cut the lead to two w/1:57 to go. The Wolves would take their time on the next possession. With under five seconds on the shot clock, Shved would drive to the bucket but lose control of the ball, Pekovic grabbed the ball and quickly put up a hook shot that found the bottom of the net for a 92-88 lead--1:06 to play.
Indiana would take a full timeout. The Pacers would miss a three--Minnesota ball with 55 seconds to play. Cunningham hits a mid-range jumper to give the Wolves a six point lead with just 39.2 seconds to play.
Indiana would take another timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Hill would hit a floater (and get fouled by Budinger). Hill converted the and-one to make it a three-point game: 94-91 w/33.1 seconds to go.
Minnesota takes a timeout. The Wolves run the clock down to under 15 seconds, they find a wide open Nikola Pekovic under the basket, but as he went up for the ball he would lose control of the ball--turning it over.
Indiana calls a timeout with just 8.8 seconds to play and a chance to tie it up and send it to overtime. George Hill hits a step-back three-pointer to tie the game at 94.
Minnesota calls a timeout with 3.8 seconds to play. Out of the timeout, Luke Ridnour inbounds the ball to Andrei Kirilenko, a patient AK holds the ball (I found myself thinking he'd have to jack up a mid-ranger jumper with the defender smothering him), however Budinger cuts down the lane (from the three-point line), Kirilenko finds him and Bud hits a bunny shot for the 96-94 lead, with just 0.8 seconds to play. Indiana has 0 timeouts remaining and they have to heave it the full length of the court--well short, the Wolves win!
Both teams were playing without their star players (and Minnesota was also without one of their best reserves and their starting shooting guard--in the second half). As such, it was a back-and-forth affair, but the TWolves grab the W, they move to 4-1 on the season and for the first time since the 06-07 season, Minnesota is three games above .500
For the first time in a long time the Timberwolves are enjoyable to watch! Last season was good, but the execution and the unselfish play from everyone on the team has made these first five games REALLY fun to watch. Let's hope they can keep this going.
Let's take a look at tonight's top performers for each squad...
Budinger dumped in 18 points including that game winner, also grabbing 9 points from the free throw line! Chase scored 10 of his 18 points in the third quarter. Williams played only 26 minutes but finished with 15pts (9 of which came in the first quarter). Williams certainly looked good in that first quarter, not only on offense, but also on defense. He's certainly improved that area of his game as he continually gave David West trouble. Alexey Shved had another great fourth quarter, Shved scored 8 of his 11pts in that final quarter and also added a new season/career-high of 7 assists. Pekovic also had 8pts in the fourth quarter (finishing with 13pts & 8reb).
George Hill did all he could to get Indy the win (including that three with just seconds to play), but ultimately, it was enough. Hill scored 7 of his 29 in the second quarter and another 15 in that fourth quarter. David West also contributed with a big fourth quarter, scoring 9 of his 19pts, while also finishing with a game-high 13 rebounds.
Let's take a look at the team stats...
The Wolves shot a better percentage from the field (though Indiana did make two more field goals). The Pacers, however shot better percentages from deep (though they took twice as many attempts) and from the line (but took 11 less attempts). The Pacers also out-rebounded the TWolves by a +3, held a +2 advantage in fast break points and points in the paint AND turned the ball over 3 less times (though, for the same opponent points). So, where did Minnesota hold the advantage? Well it was their night at the free throw line. The Wolves found themselves at the charity stripe 28 times and converted 24 of those!
That's all for now, the Wolves are back in action tomorrow night vs. the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Tipoff is set for 7pmCT and a full gameday preview of that one can be found on this site before then! Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!