Dieng has gotten better with each game he's started and tonight his production reached an impressive pinnacle. Gorgui scored 22 points & grabbed 21 rebounds and became the first Wolves rookie to finish with a 20-20 game (and just the 5th player overall).
Unfortunately it wasn't enough as the Wolves were dismantled by a Rockets team playing without their center (the best in the game) Dwight Howard. In his place, stepped Omer Asik, who would be an NBA starter on quite a few teams (which makes Dieng's stat line a bit more impressive).
Led by James Harden and Chandler Parsons the Rockets were able to overcome a typical hot start by the Timberwolves. It was Minnesota's typical 30+ point first quarter, followed by three ensuing quarters of shoddy basketball on both ends. If the Wolves could play a fraction as well as they do in the first quarters, they'd be a playoff basketball team.
Ultimately, with tonight's loss, the Wolves can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye. Now through 67 games, the Wolves have just 15 games to go and they now sit six full games behind Dallas/Memphis for a final seed in the Western Conference playoffs. To make the postseason, the Wolves would need to play near perfect basketball and hope for an epic collapse from one of the above teams. Unlikely and improbable, but not impossible. Just to be clear, I don't think it is at all possible; at least not for this group of Wolves that just seem afraid to succeed.
The Timberwolves led early in this one thanks to a great first quarter and as per usual, Adelman put the second unit into the game and they squandered the lead. By doing so, they got the Rockets going and even when Adelman turned back to his starting unit, it proved to little to late.
The Rockets led by 16 points after three quarters and Adelman decided the game was too far out of reach and the only starter to see any fourth quarter minutes was Gorgui Dieng (mainly because he usually is a reserve and he's currently the only true [healthy] center on the roster).
Tonight's box score...
Gorgui's 22 points, 22 rebounds & 4 assists in 38 minutes are all new career-highs. It'll be interesting to see if/when Pekovic and/or Ronny Turiaf return how Dieng's role changes...the bigger question should become: should it?
What I Liked About Tonight's Game...
What I Disliked About Tonight's Game...
Rant over...I feel much better. The Wolves are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they'll take on the Suns back in Minneapolis at the Target Center. Tipoff is an early 2:30pmCST.
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!