GREAT game, unfortunate result. The Minnesota Timberwolves played their hearts out, but fell to the Miami Heat, at the Target Center on Friday night--losing 101-103.
It was yet another game lost by just a few points. Thus far, the Timberwolves have lost their first three games by a total of 9 points. The Thunder by 4, the Bucks by 3 and now the Heat by 2. Is the game versus Dallas going to be a one-point loss?!
The Wolves were playing in front of their second consecutive sellout crowd in the Target Center, which was the first time since the 1991-92 NBA season! Clearly, Minnesota fans are eager to see K-Love go to work & new additions Rubio, Williams & Barea in action!
The TWolves had just five players on their bench. However, there's no question those five players were key in this VERY close game. All five bench players scored in double-digits--combining for 57 points total!
The Timberwolves were without: J.J. Barea, Malcolm Lee & Nikola Pekovic. You can find a full injury report under the Team Report-Injuries section on this site (updated daily).
The Heat were--as per usual--led by the "Big Three". The birthday boy: LeBron James (his 27th birthday), led Miami with 34 points. Chris Bosh battled with Love & Randolph all night and had 20 points. And of course, Dwayne Wade (who was nursing a foot injury) had 19 points and hit the game winning shot (again) on a lob pass--layup. Wade, had that final shot in a victory vs. Charlotte on Wednesday. Without a doubt--CLUTCH!
Kevin Love led the TWolves with his usual 25-12. Usually a big scorer: Michael Beasley--had just 4 points in 22 minutes (staying out of the game with 4 fouls). The big-time bench scoring was led by Anthony Randolph who had 14 points, then Ricky with 12, Ellington with 11 and Tolliver/Williams with 10 apiece.
The Timberwolves had a five minute stretch in the second quarter where they went on a 16-0 run (20-8 run to end the half) that got the Timberwolves back into the game, from a 13-point Miami lead through one quarter. The Heat starters came out strong in the third quarter, but a 10-1 run to begin the 4th quarter had the Timberwolves up 85-83 with 8:38 to go in the game.
Let's take a look at some team statistics for each team...
Clearly the story tonight was the team turnovers. The Timberwolves' very lackadaisical ball control is extremely frustrating and against a fast break team like Miami--looking for highlight reel dunks on the break--is anything but good! Surprisingly, however, the Timberwolves were able to force 15 Miami team turnovers in which they converted 22 points--not bad! A +7 for Minnesota in rebounding and a 38% shooting clip from deep--is GREAT! The Wolves at the free throw line though? ROUGH! The Timberwolves went 1 for 2 at the line in their final three trips (2 'trips' by Tolliver), that could've won them the game! Leaving those three points, cost them the game (among other things--of course!).
The Timberwolves were in it till the end, however, like last season, this team just cannot close games. This team was able to "hang" with one of the best Western Conference teams: the Thunder on Monday and at the end of the week--one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference! This team has awesome potential, but I'd rather be talking about W's, then how good we could/will be!
Let's take a look at some individual stats from tonight's game...
Kevin Love lead the team, but once again, his turnovers totaled six! Last season, I can't even remember too many games with half that many TOs. Adelman wants him to "dish" the ball more, which is the result of his assist totals being up this season. He had another good game, however. He out-dueled the likes of Bosh & Haslem in the post! Randolph made the most of his minutes--being one of only five Timberwolves bench players. He didn't even get to play vs. the Bucks on Tuesday and tonight he played 25 minutes and delivered with 14pts and a block in the paint that got me out of my seat! :) The last three TWolves players on the list above--may have impressed me the most! Ricky Rubio registered his first double-double game with a GREAT 12pt, 12ast game! Flat-out FUN to WATCH! Wayne Ellington proved his worth to the team with main backup guard J.J. Barea out. He outscored starting shooting guard Wayne Ellington (who had 6), but also played double the minutes (Wes played 17). If I was Adelman, I might give Ellington a run at the starting shooting guard. We'd at least get a two-guard who could score! Tolliver may have been the most impressive tonight though. Yes, he missed those free throws at the end, but he did a lot of other things GREAT! His defense on LeBron was impressive, it was like DeShawn Stevenson (the "LeBron Stopper") out there! Very impressive defensive output from Tolli.
What can you say about the Big Three that hasn't been said. There all great scorers, their all all-stars, without one of them--the struggle. They have some bench players who could step up, but their bench isn't consistent. Norris Cole was a huge addition for them this season. A fun fact: both of the Timberwolves' point guards were players the Timberwolves drafted and traded to the Heat--both Cole (2011) & Chalmers (2009)!
That's all I've got for now! Stay tuned for some pictures of tonight's game that will be added to the Media--Pictures as well as a video recap! Thanks for reading, the Wolves' next game will be versus the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday (1/1). Tipoff is set for 6pmCT and a full gameday preview for that game can be found for that game on this site under the Gameday header, before then. GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!