The Timberwolves fell to .500 in preseason action after tonight's 97-104 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Both of Minnesota's preseason losses have come at the Target Center, on their home court.
The good news is that the Wolves will have a full week before they have to play again. Minnesota's next preseason game will be on Sunday (Oct. 20) vs. the Boston Celtics.
The Wolves got off to another slow start, making just one field goal in their first nine tries. It was a similar start that doomed the Wolves when they dropped their first preseason game to the CSKA Moscow and the same kind of slow start that nearly took down the Wolves in Sioux Falls vs. the Bucks.
The Wolves were without Kevin Martin for the second consecutive game as he continues to sit for "precautionary reasons" with a sore right achilles. Other players who didn't see action tonight included Chase Budinger (knee) and Chris Johnson, Robbie Hummel, Lorenzo Brown & Gogui Dieng (all DNP-Coach's Decision).
I worked a 14-hour shift on Saturday and was unable to see the game, so this will be more about what the box score tells us--than a quarter-by-quarter analysis or in-depth look.
It's clear that the Timberwolves need to find some cohesion among their starters. It doesn't help that Martin isn't playing and that was VERY evident in this one. Minnesota's starting backcourt of Ricky Rubio & Alexey Shved went 0-for-11 from the field, 0-for-2 from deep and 6-of-10 from the line. Not very efficient work from Minnesota's guards.
In 28 minutes of action, Kevin Love dropped 28 points, while also grabbing 11 rebounds, dishing 2 assists and registering 2 steals. If Minnesota wants to finally end their decade-long playoff drought, they'll need these kinds of performances from Kevin Love, nightly. In addition to that, others need to step up!
Kevin Love had a third of Minnesota's total rebounds and no other player on the team had half as many as he finished with. He's the NBA's best rebounder, but Love's partner in the post (Peković) needs to do more than just 2 boards.
It's hard to analyze a game like this because, first off I didn't watch it and secondly, because of that it's unclear what kind of rotations were used. Was Adelman going with the guys he'll look to during the season, or was this another game of trying to feel out who has the "chops" and the talent to contribute at the next level.
Minnesota forced 26 turnovers for 22 points, however the big difference in this one was efficiency. The Wolves finished just 28-of-77 from the field, 6-of-20 from deep and 35-of-50 from behind the free-throw line. That's 36.4%, 30% & 70%! The Raptors countered with 50%, 47.4% & 73.5%.
The Wolves also lost the rebounding battle (33-44) as well as the battle in the paint (36-38). The biggest difference beyond Minnesota losing the battle on the boards or their poor field goal percentage was free throws. Minnesota lost this game at the line. The Wolves shot 35-of-50, while the Raptors shot 25-of-34. That's 9 missed free throws for Toronto and 15 missed free throws for the Wolves. In a 7-point loss, leaving 15 points at the line hurts!
The Wolves have the week off, then they'll face the Celtics in Montreal on October 20th.
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!