The TWolves moved to 2-4 on the season after another narrow loss--this time at the hands (or paws) of the Memphis Grizzlies, losing 86-90.
The Wolves battled back from an early 15-point deficit, trailing 20-5 in the first quarter. A 9-0 run by the Wolves made it 20-14, after one quarter.
After the first half the Timberwolves were down 43-37, a close back-and-forth throughout the entire first half. At halftime Minnesota's bench was outscoring it's starters 19-18, there was also no starter with an assist. Rubio had 8 assists after the first half, which accounted for the majority of Minnesota's 9 first-half assists. Unlike the game vs. the Spurs, the TWolves were shooting 35% from the field against Memphis.
A 9-0 run to begin the second half put Minnesota up 46-43. In the final quarter, Minnesota was leading 68-63 with 7:45 left in the game when Memphis went on a 15-0 run to take a 78-68 lead, which never saw Minnesota regain a lead. A stretch between the 7:15 and 2:45 minute marks (thereabouts) saw Minnesota goes scoreless for 4.5 minutes including 5 consecutive missed field goals & 4 consecutive missed free throws, before a three by Ridnour at 2:45.
A big turning point in the game, was a drive to the basket, by Tony Allen who was fouled by Luke Ridnour. The refs decided it was a flagrant 1 foul, that gave Allen two free throws (made both) and Memphis the ball back. A flagrant 1 foul is unnecessary contact. You can watch the replays a hundred times and see that Luke's foul wasn't--he got part of the ball! Rick Adelman said after the game that, that was a BIG call--saying the refs saw something different than he did!
The Timberwolves had to "play the fouling game" with just under 30 seconds to go. A three by Ricky Rubio made it an 84-83 Memphis lead with 16.5 seconds to play. Minnesota fouled on the inbound, Memphis hit both free throws. Next possession a risky pass to a slicing Kevin Love made it 86-85. Another foul and another two made free thrrows made it 88-85. The Wolves needed a three, as there was just over 3 seconds to play. Rudy Gay fouled Luke Ridnour on the inbound sending him to the line for two free throws. Ridnour hit the first one. On his second try, he intentionally missed it by throwing it at the rim, however he crossed the line to quick and was called for a lane violation. It then made it an 86-88 Memphis lead, Minnesota fouled again, Memphis hit both free throws and that was the game.
Tonight's game saw Kevin Love become the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975 to record at least 20 points and 12 rebounds in his team's first six games!
The Grizzlies were without Zach Randolph, but that didn't matter. "Having the big fella out we definitely have to raise our focus level up a little bit and execute better offensively," O.J. Mayo said following the game. "Execute better defensively and try to give ourselves a chance to win every night.
Let's take a look at some statistics for each team tonight
The Grizzlies advantage came on those 21 points they got from the free throw line as well as the 17 turnovers they forced the Wolves to make and the 21 points they got off of those. That's a combined 42 of the Grizzlies' 90 points. The Grizzlies also got out on the break, outscoring the Wolves in fast break points 9-25! A lot of slashing to the rim and a lot of easy layups as Memphis just tore apart Minnesota's interior defense. The Timberwolves shot just 54% from the line, leaving 11 points at the line! That's been just one of Minnesota's Achilles' heal early this season.
Let's take a look at some of both team's key players' individual stats...
The Grizzlies got a nice balanced scoring attack and a big night from Tony Allen. Averaging around just 5ppg this season, he exploded for 20 on 100% shooting from the field and the line, not to mention his usual lockdown perimeter D. For the Timberwolves it was three players with double-doubles! Kevin Love's output is becoming contagious!
"They were too lax in their approach," Rick Adelman said. "I told them, you haven't won anything. Don't come out there thinking you just won the championship." There's a very good chance the Timberwolves come back strong in Friday's game against Cleveland.
That's all for now, stay tuned for some pictures from tonight's game. We'll also have a video recap sometime tomorrow as well as a preview for Friday's game vs. Cleveland. Thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!
"We had the victory and we let it go."--Ricky Rubio
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!