I'm not even sure how to feel after tonight's loss. I could be angry, but how can you be angry at a team that's playing without six of their best players, but remains competitive. How can you be angry at a team that rallies from a large double digit deficit and ties the game with just seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The Wolves went on a furious rally and got a few lucky breaks, but the end result is still a loss. Derrick Williams went 1 of 2 from the free throw line with just under 15 seconds to play to tie the game at 87. With no timeouts remaining, Kemba Walker took the ball up the court, guarded by Alexey Shved, Walker crossed him up and pulled the trigger on a beautiful step-back jumper that found bottom. The TWolves didn't have any timeouts left and Luke Ridnour had to throw up a three-quarter court shot with 0.7 seconds to go.
Minnesota loses their third game of the season (all against Eastern Conference opponents) and their first home loss of the year (now 3-1 this season). The Charlotte Bobcats grab their fourth win of the season and their 3rd straight (wins vs. Dallas, Washington and now Minnesota).
The Timberwolves had just nine healthy guys and by the time that final buzzer sounded, just eight (Malcolm Lee left midway through the fourth quarter with cramps, so thankfully not too serious). Beyond Kevin Love (hand), Ricky Rubio (knee) and Chase Budinger (knee), the Wolves were also without Nikola Pekovic (sprained ankle), J.J. Barea (mid-foot sprain) and Brandon Roy (sore knee) were all on that injured reserve list.
Sure, I could say that Minnesota would've crushed the Bobcats if they had even one of those guys (literally any one of them could've changed this game), but that's a real cop out...so...forget I even said it :)
The Timberwolves struggled in some areas (we'll get to those in the team stats, shortly), however Minnesota had some great performances from the few players they had healthy. Let's take a look at the top performers for each team...
The Minnesota Timberwolves are down to having two scoring options in the starting lineup: veterans Andrei Kirilenko & Luke Ridnour. Yeah, this would've been a perfect game for D-Will to have a 20-point outburst, but of course that didn't happen (he'd finish with 9pts on 3-12 FG) and despite Kirilenko's 26 and another 16 from Ridnour the Wolves couldn't get it done.
The Bobcats' two point guards: Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions had a nice outing, combining for 40pts, 10reb, 9ast, 6stls and 1blk. Mullens had a great all-around game as well, scoring in double digits, pulling down Kevin Love-esqe rebounding numbers and sending back a fair number of shots.
Let's take a look at the team stats...
When you leave 17 points at the free throw line and shoot just 54.1%, you deserve to lose! 17 points! Minnesota executed fairly well in plenty of other areas (out-rebounding Charlotte by a +10, and a +5 in assists). Two reasons for tonight's loss: 1.) INJURIES & 2.) Free Throw Shooting.
That's all for tonight, the Wolves are back in action on Friday night vs. the Golden State Warriors at the Target Center. I'm going to that game and I hope the Wolves can field a team to watch! If nothing else I'm praying Nikola Pekovic can return! You can expect a full gameday preview prior to that 7pmCT tipoff on Friday, until then thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!