The Minnesota Timberwolves were without their best player in tonight's bout with the defending champion Miami Heat. Despite his absence, had he suited up it may not have made much of a difference.
There were just two players that shot 44% or better for the Wolves tonight. Robbie Hummel went 2-for-3 (67%) & Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (44%). Of the other ten players that saw the court--no one shot better than 39%.
Minnesota's best players struggled the most: Kevin Martin went 5-for-16 from the field (31%) and 1-for-7 from deep (14%); Brewer shot 30% from the field and 33% from deep and Peković shot 39%.
As a team the Timberwolves made a season-low 24 field goals and shot a season-low 29.3% from the field. Do you remember that game against the Indiana Pacers last month? Do you recall how dominate the Pacers were defensively and how terrible the Wolves looked in that one? This game was substantially worse.
The Heat came into tonight's game as the NBA's worst rebounding squad and they were allowing opponents to score at will in the paint. Tonight, the Heat nearly out-rebounded the Wolves 45-44. Their 44 rebounds are +9 from their season average. The Heat also dominated in the paint with 56 points while holding the Wolves to a season-worst 28.
Adelman said before tonight's game that he was worried that the Wolves would struggle to put points on the board without Love. The Wolves got plenty of shots up and had quite a few open looks, but they just couldn't hit them!
After one quarter the Wolves led by one-point; 25-24, but the Heat took control in the second quarter outscoring the Wolves 17-31. Dwyane Wade returned from a two-game absence and thanks to the play of the MVP, Miami made short work of a floundering Timberwolves squad.
I didn't think the Love-less Wolves would win tonight, but I definitely though they would've been more competitive in this one. Unlike in games past--Minnesota's offense was as bad as their defense has been. The Timberwolves have now allowed opponents to shoot 50% or better in five of their last six games (the lone game where they kept a team under 50% was the lone win in that set where the Mavs shot 48.9%). Miami's 55.1% field goal is the second-highest for a Timberwolves opponent this season (second only to the 56.3% OKC shot in Minnesota's previous outing).
This was was over midway through the third quarter and that was proved when A.J. Price entered the game in the final few minutes of the third quarter. It was garbage time for the Wolves deep bench for the entire fourth quarter as the starters were forced to watch from the bench, hoping the reserves would at least break 80 points in this one. Minnesota's 82 points are still a new season-low.
Let's take a look at tonight's box score...
Not only did Minnesota shoot a season-low percentage from the field, but they also set a new season-low in assists with 13 and points in the paint with 28.
The Timberwolves reserves shot a combined 5-for-25 from the field just 20%. Take away Robbie Hummel's numbers from that and it's 3-for-22 just 14%! Dante Cunningham posted a dismal -29 and J.J. Barea pitched in with a -21. I pray that Chase Budinger and Ronny Turiaf are very near to a return to the floor, because despite what any numbers may say this is without a doubt the NBA's worst offensive bench unit!
LeBron James finished just two assists shy of a triple-double, but he did have a double-double at halftime. LBJ had 13 points, 10 rebounds & 6 assists after two quarters. His 14 total rebounds is a new season-high, though those 10 rebounds he had at halftime would've also been a season-high!
This was the first time in the last six games that the Heat have gone over 100 points as they hit 101 with under a minute to play. They broke a two-game losing streak while sending Minnesota to a two-game losing streak of their own. This is also Minnesota's fifth loss in their last six outings.
Tonight's 19,888 in attendance at the Target Center was the first sellout of the year for the Timberwolves.
That's all for now, the Timberwolves will be back in action on Tuesday night in Detroit, stay tuned for a preview of that one, thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!