I had the pleasure of attending tonight's game, at the Target Center. I don't know what it is about going to TWolves games, but no matter what the result is, I always enjoy it and have a fun time. Sure, the Wolves lost tonight, but I still had a great night. I can't say the same when I watch a TWolves game at home and they lose--it's anything but fun.
Sure, there was no Nikola Pekovic or J.J. Barea or Brandon Roy...or Ricky Rubio or Kevin Love or Chase Budinger....BUT somehow the Wolves were still competitive against a very good offensive team: the Golden State Warriors.
Through most of the first half the TWolves had a comfortable lead (double-digits) however they only had nine healthy players and by the beginning of the fourth quarter it was showing that our guys were tired. Minnesota found themselves down by more than 15 points, but somehow--thanks in large part to Alexey Shved, Andrei Kirilenko, Derrick Williams, Luke Ridnour and Dante Cunningham the Wolves cut into that lead and even had it down to four points with under a minute to play, that's as close as they'd get and the Warriors were able to hold on for the W.
I had the chance to see Josh Howard's TWolves debut. He was definitely forcing some shots on O, finishing 3-for-10 from the field, but he appeared to be moving pretty well and did a really good job on the defensive end. He finished with 6pts, 2reb and 2stls in 14 minutes off the bench (in the preview I guessed he would play anywhere from 8-12 minutes).
The Minnesota Timberwolves don't play again until Wednesday (11/21) vs. the Denver Nuggets. That'll give J.J. Barea, Brandon Roy and Nikola Pekovic time to recover. Pekovic should certainly be back in action by Wednesday (which will be a HUGE help). This will also give Josh Howard a chance to familiarize himself with more of the playbook and his new teammates.
A few more observations from tonight...
Let's take a look at tonight's top performers from each team...
Derrick Williams finally had a breakout game. His night started with a blown 'bunny' shot in which the Target Center crowd (myself included) let out an audible groan in unison, however it got much better from there. Shved also had another stellar game as he continues to impress. I don't know where we'd be without Shved, Kirilenko & Cunningham these last few weeks.
With no interior presence, David Lee went to work scoring and snagging rebounds, rookie Harrison Barnes continued his stellar play. The Warrior who impressed me the most, however was probably Carl Landry. I know Landry is a good player, but the whole time he was throwing down dunks on Amundson & Cunningham, I was thinking: We could have signed him this offseason (he was on the Wolves' radar). I have, however been pleasantly surprised by Dante Cunningham (he's on a tear, thus far).
Let's take a look at the team stats...
When you compare these, I wonder how the Wolves even kept it close. The W's shot a higher percentage from the field, out-rebounded Minnesota by a +16 and absolutely dominated in the paint (with a +36). Minnesota did make 7 three-pointers and forced the Warriors into 16 turnovers for 21 TWolves points.
The Wolves are back in action on Wednesday vs. the Denver Nuggets and we'll have a full gameday preview of that one before then. Until that time, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!