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...
- The assistant coaches need to work with Greg Stiemsma on boxing out! I watched a play in which the Warriors grabbed four offensive rebounds on a single possession and the entire time Stiemer looked like a lost puppy wandering around and looking to block someone's shot. He finished with 4 rebounds in 17 minutes as the starting center.
- The gentleman who sat behind me was the biggest douche I've ever had to listen to. Apparently I was sitting by a basketball god who knew everything about everything and had to be sure everyone around him heard about it. No reason that this is relevant, I just wanted to vent.
- I only saw Ricky Rubio & Nikola Pekovic sitting on the bench. J.J. Barea, Kevin Love, Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger were nowhere to be seen. I can understand Chase (just coming off knee surgery), but I'm not sure where they other three were.
- I honestly believe that with Pekovic the Wolves would have gone 2-0 in their last two games--rather than 0-2.
Let's take a look at tonight's top performers from each team...
D. Williams: 23pts, 7reb, 2ast, 4blks, 3tos, 1fl, 8-16 FG, 1-2 3PT, 6-6 FT in 37 min.
A. Shved: 22pts, 3reb, 7ast, 1blk, 2tos, 5fls, 8-17 FG, 3-8 3PT, 3-4 FT in 33 bench min.
A. Kirilenko: 18pts, 6reb, 4blks, 3tos, 2fls, 5-9 FG, 2-3 3PT, 6-8 FT in 39 min.
D. Cunningham: 14pts, 6reb, 1ast, 1stl, 1blk, 3fls, 6-9 FG, 2-2 FT in 28 bench min.
D. Lee: 18pts, 13reb, 3ast, 1stl, 1to, 2fls, 8-15 FG, 2-3 FT in 34 min.
H. Barnes: 18pts, 9reb, 1ast, 1to, 2fls, 8-15 FG, 0-2 3PT, 2-2 FT in 35 min.
S. Curry: 17pts, 4reb, 6ast, 1stl, 1blk, 3tos, 6fls, 7-12 FG, 0-3 3PT, 3-3 FT in 29 min.
C. Landry: 15pts, 7reb, 2blks, 3tos, 3fls, 6-8 FG, 3-5 FT in 29 bench min.
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...
Fast Break PTS
PTS in the Paint
Team TO's (PTS off)
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!