The Houston Rockets came into the game as the NBA's best offensive team averaging 109.7 points per game. Tonight, despite being without their best player, they put on one of the best offensive displays I've ever seen!
The Wolves didn't quit--a trait that's great to see considering some of the team's this franchise has had in year's past--that when an opponent gets up by double digits, they roll over and die.
However, when you face a team that shoots over 50% from both the field AND from behind the three-point line--it's difficult to stay with such a high-octane offensive juggernaut. There were numerous possessions where one of the guards: Aaron Brooks, Patrick Beverley or Jeremy Lin would pull up with defenders around them and easily knock down the three-point bomb.
Rick tried to counter with different looks on defense, but nothing the Wolves could do, slowed them down. When the Rockets executed their offense, the ball movement was also very solid, they routinely found open looks.
The Wolves were able to stay in this one because of the turnovers they forced. Minnesota forced the Rockets into 24 turnovers and scored 37 points off of them! Corey Brewer & Ricky Rubio were the cause of a lot of those turnovers and Brewer had A LOT of fast break opportunities in this one. Brewer finished with 5 steals and Rubio added another 4 (all 4 of Rubio's came in the first half).
At halftime the Wolves were down 42-55 at halftime. The Rockets hit 9 of their 17 threes in the first half and were out-rebounding the Wolves 35-19. The Rockets however had 14 first half turnovers that led to 21 Wolves points, while only forcing Minnesota to turn the ball over three times for four points.
You could argue that the Wolves could've played better perimeter defense. You could say that Adelman going to a 2-3 zone in the second quarter was what sparked Aaron Brooks to begin knocking down all those three-pointers. However, Minnesota's defense was actually pretty good in this one--they forced a lot of miscues from their opponents. I really don't know that they could've done a lot differently. The Rockets were just insanely 'hot' in this one and they just didn't miss.
The Wolves move to 8-7 on the year, 2-5 on the road and are now losers of four-straight games away from Target Center. It's not going to get any easier either--the Wolves' next contest is Monday night in Indiana vs. the Pacers!
Let's take a look at tonight's box score...
Minnesota's 100 field goal attempts ties a season-high (with 10/30 vs. Orlando--that overtime win on opening night). The Wolves also set a new season-high with 18 offensive rebounds.
Minnesota also set new season-lows in free throws made (13), free throws attempted (17), defensive rebounds (26), assists (17) and fouls (13).
Obviously, Houston's 17 made threes is a season-high for a Wolves opponent as is their 54.8% shooting from deep and the 43 defensive rebounds.
Gorgui Dieng tied a season-high with 3 blocks and he did so in only 3 minutes. Gorgui definitely has a future in this League and I'm really excited about his development these next couple years!
Kevin Love had a great night scoring 27 points on 50% shooting along with those 15 rebounds. He's definitely got back on track these past two games after that awful outing vs. the Clippers earlier this week.
Aaron Brooks was without a doubt the player of the game tonight. The Rockets were without Harden and they needed someone else to step up in his stead--that's exactly what Houston's third-string point guard did with his season-high 26 points and 6 three-pointers.
Hopefully the Wolves can regroup and get prepared to face one of the NBA's best teams on Monday night when they travel to the Bankers Life Fieldhouse to battle the Pacers in Indiana. Stay tuned for a preview tomorrow evening, until then thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!