Kevin Love played a season-high 43 minutes which included the entire second half, but the Wolves are finally back over .500 at 23-22 for the first time since late-November when they were 8-7. Adelman said after the game (about Love) that "I was just testing his conditioning. He wasn't coming out." It's a bit concerning with the Wolves schedule getting a bit busier the next couple weeks prior to the All-Star break.
Tonight's game certainly wasn't very pretty, but we got the desired result. Minnesota was a bit lucky that they were playing a Pelicans team that is without Anthony Davis (finger), Ryan Anderson (herniated disc), Jrue Holiday (leg) and Jason Smith (knee).
The Pelicans had to rely on Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans for their offense. The problem was that they shot a combined 9-32 from the field. That was thanks in large part to the defense from Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. LRMAM played his first meaningful minutes in quite some time. Mbah a Moute played 23 minutes off the bench and saw plenty of time matched up against those two versatile scoring guards.
All around, it was interesting to see how Adelman's rotations changed with Nikola Peković out of the lineup. Ronny Turiaf was the starter at center along with Rubio, Martin, Brewer & Love. Gorgui Dieng saw some court time in the first half, but didn't play at all in the second half. With Turiaf in foul trouble, Adelman turned to a frontcourt of Mbah a Moute, Cunningham and Love.
Dante had one of this best scoring nights of the year, tying a season-high with 12 points and 6 made field goals. He was hitting some mid-range shots, but what was most impressive was his aggressiveness in attacking the paint--something we haven't seen much of at all from him. With Pek out for the next week or more, they're going to need him to continue to be aggressive and got get some scoring inside the painted area. The same goes for all of Minnesota's big men.
Tonight's box score...
The Timberwolves held the Pelicans to just 77 points which second for TWolves opponent in scoring (the first being that game vs. the Jazz last week when they scored 72). The Pelicans also shot just 9.5% from deep which is a new TWolves opponent season-low. The Wolves' defense did look better, but it seemed as though it was more of a very short-handed opponent struggling to find offense with their usually deep rotational players.
As far as injuries to your key players goes--no Wolves fan is going to feel bad for their team beating up on a shorthanded squad.
Minnesota's next outing will come on Friday night with the Memphis Grizzlies in town at the Target Center. The Wolves will have their work cut out for them going up against Zach Randolph & Marc Gasol, without their bruising big man (Pek). That game will tip at 7pmCST. GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
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