For two games last week Kevin Love didn't play due to an assortment of injuries. Love returned tonight and churned out yet another double-double, finishing with 31 points & 10 rebounds.
When Love was out vs. the Thunder and again vs. the Blazers last week we saw a Wolves team look to unlikely contributors to put points on the board. Ricky Rubio was aggressive, Dante crashed the boards and got putbacks, Budinger had his best scoring game of the season (vs. POR) and rookie Shabazz Muhammad actually played meaningful minutes and contributed a career-high in points (12).
That was on Saturday, tonight with Love back the Wolves went back to the same one-dimensional offense they've gone with since Nikola Pekovic went down with that ankle injury. Love is undoubtedly Minnesota's best offensive option, but those games without him (and Martin & Pek) showed that there are other players on this team that can be contributors.
There were multiple plays tonight (especially in the fourth quarter) that the Wolves continued to swing the ball to find Love for a shot (usually heavily contested or a bad pass resulting in a turnover).
Minnesota's 11-point fourth quarter is simply inexcusable. There's absolutely no reason that this team (even sans Martin & Pek) can't muster more than 11 points against an average Houston Rocket defense.
As per usual, the Wolves played a decent first three quarters before falling to shambles in the finale--something we've seen WAY to many times these past few seasons.
Tonight's game was one of runs, where each team took their turns scoring at will against shoddy defense. Unfortunately the Wolves couldn't get anything together in that fourth quarter. The Wolves shot just 5-for-24 from the field in the fourth. Getting Pek & Martin back will undoubtedly make this team better, but now that the Wolves have fallen 4 games below .500 and now 6.5 games behind the 8th seed in the Western Conference.
The All-Star break begins for the Wolves following their Wednesday night contest vs. the Nuggets, it certainly can't come soon enough for this floundering Wolves squad.
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!