The Wolves got going very early in this game. They forced the Mavericks into a lot of early turnovers that led to a lot of easy transition buckets. Corey Brewer scored 11 of his 13 points in the first quarter and the majority of them were run-outs on the break.
Even when the Wolves weren't getting transition baskets, they were running very simple offensive sets that ended in wide open layups at the rim.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was livid in the first half of the game. He burned through 4 of his timeouts in the first thirteen-and-a-half minutes of the game. Apparently, whatever he said in that fourth timeout, his Mavericks took it to heart.
The Mavericks committed to playing at least a little defense and outscored the Wolves 20-35 in the final ten and a half minutes of the first half, capped by a Vince Carter buzzer beater three just prior to halftime.
Things didn't come as easy for the Wolves through the remainder of the game (at least not like they did in the first quarter). They shot over 65% in the first quarter and finished the night shooting just under 48%.
The Mavericks struggled on offense and that was slightly hampered by Monta Ellis. Ellis got into early foul trouble and it plagued him for the majority of the game. Vince Carter also struggled with foul trouble and he picked up his sixth with 2:16 remaining in overtime.
When you couple that with Dirk Nowitzki's 11-for-27 shooting (including 0-for-7 from deep) and it's hard to combat a hungry Wolves team.
The Wolves held a 22-point advantage early in the second quarter, but the Mavericks were able to battle back before halftime and keep this one close for the remainder.
The Mavericks actually took a brief lead late in the fourth quarter thanks to Monta Ellis, who scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth. He had an and-one and scored three-consecutive triples to give his team a 111-113 lead with 1:25 to play. Rubio's two free throws with 50.1 seconds to play made it 113-all. The two teams exchanged a couple misses to finish regulation and send the game into overtime.
The Mavericks scored the first five points of overtime, but the Wolves fought back with buckets from Brewer & Rubio. Shortly thereafter Vince Carter picked up his sixth foul by fouling Kevin Love attempting a three-pointer. Love made all three free throws and finished with 6 of Minnesota's 10 overtime points including what ended up being the game winner (with four Mavericks defenders surrounding him). Dirk Nowitzki's shot just before the buzzer clanged off the back rim and was rebounded by Brewer, who hit the floor as time expired.
Tonight's box score...
- Ricky Rubio's aggressiveness from start to finish. If he can be half as confident as he was tonight in every outing and he'd be an even bigger asset to the Wolves.
- Gorgui Dieng's last two outings. Dieng struggled a bit tonight with Samuel Dalembert, but Gorgui's aggressiveness and efficiency were fun to watch. He finished with his second-straight double-double (10pts & 11reb) and did it in just 25 minutes (opposed to 37 vs. the Kings). Add to all of that, that running hook shot he hit and he is putting together a nice late season stretch of games. He would have played more if Hummel hadn't hit those late shots and stayed in for all of the fourth and overtime.
- Robbie Hummel's outing. He had been inactive or a DNP-CD in 21 of the last 31 games before that win over the Kings on Sunday. Hummel played some big minutes down the stretch for the Wolves in that one and tonight was the same story. Robbie played 21 minutes and hit two big three-pointers in the fourth quarter that helped keep this one close. Adelman likes Hummel because he trusts him to do the right things on both ends. Robbie also grabbed a few boards and even drew a charge. I really like what Shabazz Muhammad was doing a couple weeks ago and though it is a bit inexplicable that he's 'lost his job', Hummel played some good minutes the past couple outings.
- Devin Harris. I like him as a combo guard off the bench, he's quick and is trustworthy enough to be competent and run the second unit. He'll be a free agent this summer, though he's likely to stay in Dallas. His injury history should make the Wolves leery anyway. With J.J. Barea on the roster I guess it really doesn't matter.
- J.J. Barea's game. If the Wolves faced the Mavericks or the Nuggets every night, J.J. Barea would be a fringe all-star player. He turned in another decent outing against his former team.
- Mark Cuban's passion. Watching the Mavericks broadcast they showed the owner a handful of times on the sidelines. It's really cool to see such a hands-on, passionate owner who is so committed he seems affected on a play-by-play basis.
Things I Didn't Like...
- The trio of Dallas Mavericks broadcasters. I couldn't understand why the sideline reporter continued to chime in all night long as part of the broadcast team. I thought the other two, regular commentators were good, but there was something "douchey" (for lack of a better word) about the third broadcaster.
- Minnesota's complacency. The Wolves built a commanding lead and just as they always do--they allowed the Mavericks to come all the way back. Luckily they escaped Dallas with the win. No reason a team with this much talent should blow a 22-point lead.
- Chase Budinger over Shabazz Muhammad. I understand that Adelman has an allegiance to Chase, but his play has warranted him to see any playing time. Everyone has been hoping he'd find his shot and his return would spark a big push by the Wolves as the missing piece to a putrid Wolves second unit. Instead, he's just become another reason that the Wolves bench is so bad. There's no reason that Shabazz shouldn't be taking his minutes.
I'm sure there were a few more, but that's all I've got for now. The Wolves will be right back in action tomorrow night in Houston vs. the Howard-less Rockets. Tipoff is set for 7pmCST, enjoy!