I'm not going to give you our usual full gameday recap today. I don't think I have the energy following yet another pathetic TWolves performance.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were up by double-digits for the majority of the first two-and-a-half quarters. We've all learned WAY to many times this season, that the TWolves are one of the worst teams in the NBA at maintaining a big lead. Tonight was yet another prime example as the Bobcats came roaring back in the second half.
The Minnesota Timberwolves got off to a great start, they scored 34 in the first quarter and led by 12 points. Greg Stiemsma scored 10 of his 11 points in the first quarter (to go along with 6 of his 7 rebounds) while Luke Ridnour added 11 of his 22. Stiemsma found himself open three separate times for an easy dunk. He played great, but the entire time, I was wishing Pekovic was on the court (he probably could've gone for 40 tonight).
The Cats kept it a little closer in the second quarter as they outscored the Wolves 25-24. Dante scored 8 of his 10 in the second quarter, while Rubio & Barea added 5 apiece. In the preview we talked about Kemba, Gordon & Sessions being the key to a Cats W tonight and they certainly got things going in the second quarter. Gordon had 8 of his 18, Kemba went for 7 of his 25 and Sessions added 6 of his 23.
At halftime the Wolves led 58-47. The Wolves shot 51.2% from the field and 60% (6-of-10) from deep in that first half, while also out-rebounded the Bobcats 18-14. By halftime Ridnour had 11pts, 4reb, 6ast, 1blk and Ricky added 7pts, 1reb, 5ast, 2stls.
Things started downhill in the third quarter as the Bobcats opened up the quarter with a run that saw them instantly erase that slim Wolves lead. Walker (7 of his 25) and Henderson (8 of his 15) led Charlotte in the third, outscoring Minnesota 19-26. Charlotte found themselves down just four points after three, 77-73.
Just one quarter to go and unfortunately it would end just as the last matchup did between these two teams. In the last matchup the game was tied at 87, when Kemba Walker hit a step-back jumper over Alexey Shved to seal a two-point Bobcat victory. Tonight, the Wolves took a two-point 101-99 lead after Ricky Rubio hit a reverse layup out of a timeout. With roughly 35 seconds to play it was Bobcat ball, the Wolves would just need one stop and they could seal the W at the free throw line. In that final Bobcat possession the Wolves force Charlotte to lose the ball three different times. The ball was tipped into the backcourt by Rubio and it looked as though a dive by AK could've got the Wolves the ball, but MKG snagged it and quickly tossed it to Gerald Henderson. Henderson took a pump fake that AK bit hard on and threw up a three-pointer as the shot clock expired to give the Cats a one-point lead 101-102 with just 4.6 seconds to play. The Wolves took a timeout. Out of the timeout they got J.J. the ball, he drove the lane and was blocked by Kemba Walker as he flopped to the floor, time expired and the Wolves have now lost four straight games.
Ricky Rubio had his best all-around game of the season (hopefully a sign of things to come) as he finished with 14pts, 1reb, 8ast and 5stls, including 4-of-9 from the field and went 1-of-2 from deep (which was his first made three of the season, after going 0-for-11). Ridnour led the Wolves with 22pts on 9-for-14 shooting, including 3-for-5 from deep while also adding 7reb, 7ast, 1stl and 1blk. Despite that last second play, J.J. did have a solid game (statistically), he finished with 19pts, 5reb, 4ast and he went 7-of-18 from the field, including 4-of-7 from three.
The Bobcats were led by their trio of guards (just as I knew they would be). Walker finished with 25pts, 8reb, 8ast, 3stls, 2blks; Sessions added 23pts, 3reb, 4ast off the bench and Ben Gordon also came off the bench to dump in 18pts and add 2reb, 2ast, 1stl & 2blks.
MISC. TEAM STATS: Minnesota's 21 fast break points are tied for a season-high.....The Wolves' 30 total rebounds ties a season-low.......The Bobcats shot just 11 threes, which is a season-low in attempts for a TWolves opponent.......
MISC. PLAYER STATS: J.J. Barea tied season-highs with his 7 made field goals, 4 made threes and 7 attempted threes, he also set a new season-high with his 18 field goal attempts......Luke Ridnour set a new season-high with 22 points, while also tying season-highs in field goals made (9), three-pointers made (3), blocks (1) and minutes played (41).......Ricky Rubio had his best game of the season, scoring a season-high 14 points and making a season-high 4 field goals. He also tied a season-high with 9 field goal attempts and was just one shy of his career high (6, reached twice) in steals with a season-high 5.......Greg Stiemsma tied season-highs in free throws made (3) & attempted (4) as well as offensive (2) and total rebounds (7).......
The Wolves are now 7 games behind .500 and have truly reached rock bottom. The Wolves faced the two worst teams in the NBA (record-wise) these past two nights and given each their 11th win of the season. The Bobcats had lost 16-straight games at home coming into the game....that obviously ended tonight. Things don't get any easier as their next two opponents are the two L.A. teams: the Clippers and the Lakers. Here's hoping Nikola Pekovic and Alexey Shved will be back.
Minnesota won't play again until Wednesday (vs. LAC), stay tuned these next few days for updates on Pek & Shved. The Wolves also have a decision to make when Gelabale & Johnson's 10-Day contracts expire on Tuesday (it's sounding as though they want to keep them both and will likely either trade or waive Lou Amundson to do so). Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!