The Denver Nuggets have now rattled off 8 consecutive victories and 13-straight home W's. Thanks to Ty Lawson & Corey Brewer, the Nuggets pulled away in the second half for an easy 88-111 W.
The Timberwolves kept things close through the first half, it was just a one-point game after two quarters, 49-50. Then midway through the third quarter, George Karl protested a offensive foul on Ty Lawson in which he lowered his shoulder and sent Rubio to the floor. He had to be contained by his assistant coaches and even shoved one of his own players out of the way as he came out to near mid-court, barking at the officials. The tantrum he threw, obviously garnered a technical foul.
Karl knew exactly what he was doing, however. The 'fit' he threw energized his team as they rattled off possession after possession with easy baskets to pull away.
The Wolves didn't got within single digits just one more time after that big run as the Nuggets closed it out for the 23-point victory.
Midway through the fourth quarter, with the outcome of this one no longer in doubt the Nuggets began to 'clown' the Wolves. They were running the break for easy transition dunks and on a specific possession, Andre Miller threw the ball off the backboard to Kenneth Faried who attempted (but missed) the oop. He didn't make that shot, but it was that kind of fourth quarter for the Timberwolves.
The Wolves have now lost 38 games and will head back home to facet the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow night at the Target Center.
Let's take a look at tonight's top performers...
Mickael Gelabale had a season-high 19 points in this one as he played a team-high 31 minutes. He was actually quite impressive in this one. He scored 7 points in both the first & fourth quarters on a variety of mid-range and three-point jumpers. Barea came off the bench for 15. He had 7 in the second quarter which was a huge spark for the Wolves. He didn't shoot very efficiently, but with the current crop of healthy Wolves players, he's one of the few scorers the Wolves have left (along with Williams and...yeah...Williams). Ricky Rubio had 43 steals in his previous games, tonight he had 0! He still had a decent game, but his defense was definitely not up to par in this one.
I was expecting a good duel from Lawson & Rubio, but Ty absolutely killed the Wolves tonight. He had 14 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter (and 14 of the Nuggets' 28 total 4thQ points) as the Nuggets easily closed out Minnesota. Former Wolf Corey Brewer had a good time against his former squad. He added 15 and had 6 of those in the final quarter as he was above the rim for the majority of the night. Iguodala had a spectacular all-around game as he stuffed the stat sheet.
I realized while I watched tonight's game that I had almost completely forgot that Andrei Kirilenko & Nikola Pekovic even played for the Wolves! It's only been 4 games for AK & 3 games since Pek has been out, but its definitely seemed like a lot longer. They'll also miss tomorrow's game vs. Dallas and will be re-evaluated next week.
The Wolves had a poor shooting night (not something too uncommon this season) and they turned the ball over 22 times. The Nuggets aren't a team that you can turn the ball over against, because they excel in transition offense. Tonight was a perfect example as they finished with 26 fast break points. The Nuggets are definitely a top-tier NBA team, but I don't see them getting much farther than the second round of the playoffs, for one simple reason: limited halfcourt offense. They don't have a big man that can use his post moves to maneuver in the paint for easy buckets. A team like Memphis, San Antonio, L.A. Lakers (assuming they make the playoffs) or Utah Jazz would give them fits with their low-post offense. A team that doesn't turn the ball over and can execute in halfcourt sets will be trouble for Denver this postseason.
That's all for now, Wolves are back in action tomorrow night at the Target Center vs. Dallas. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!