It wasn't just a win tonight for the Wolves, it was a blowout win and another embarrassing loss for a floundering Brooklyn Net squad. The Nets were extremely shorthanded in this one, but there's no reason that a team that still has Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce & Kevin Garnett available--should be this bad.
The Nets were without Deron Williams (ankle), Brook Lopez (ankle), Andrei Kirilenko (back) and Jason Terry (knee) for this one. In Williams' place, Shaun Livingston got the start. Unfortunately without Deron, that leaves the Nets without a viable playmaker. The Nets finished with just 7 assists as a team--4 came from Joe Johnson, 2 for Garnett and 1 for Pierce. That means there wasn't a single reserve who registered an assist in this one.
It definitely looked like a team of players that were simply taking turns shooting the basketball. There didn't seem to be a lot of great play calls and they reverted a number of times to the "Iso-Joe" gameplan. It was just disjointed basketball on both ends for this squad.
The Wolves led by 16 points after the first quarter, 30-14. That was Minnesota's eighth 30+ point first quarter of the season. Kevin Love finished the first quarter with 9pts, 11reb, 2ast & 1stl. The Wolves also had 15 second chance points in that first quarter! 5 of Love's 11 rebounds were offensive, Peković had 4 rebounds in the first quarter, 3 of which came on the offensive end.
By halftime the Wolves hadn't let up and led 57-37. To begin the third quarter, the Nets came out and played some better basketball. They went on a short run that seemed to spark the whole team to play a little better, then Kevin Garnett was called for a technical and a flagrant foul.
The call came underneath the basket with the Nets on defense, Garnett was guarding Love in the post, Love slapped away Garnett's hand and KG responded with a forearm to Love's chest. The refs quickly whistled it up and separated the players--though KG seemed to be the only player looking for trouble. The refs reviewed the play and ended up assessing him with a technical and a flagrant foul.
Following that play, the Wolves went on a 19-2 run that put this game away for good. KG's antics sparked the wrong team and following the end of that run, Coach Kidd pulled his stars and put in his deep reserves. That was with a 5-6 minutes to go in the third quarter and by the end of the quarter, Adelman had also sat down his starters and for the remainder of this one--we got to see extended stretches from Robbie Hummel, Derrick Williams, A.J. Price & Gorgui Dieng.
The Wolves led by as many as 37-points in this one and it ended up being a 30-point victory--the largest of the season for Minnesota.
Let's take a look at tonight's box score...
The Wolves also tied a season-high with 11 three-pointers made and set new season-highs in three-pointers attempted (36) and offensive rebounds (17).
The Wolves also held the Nets to 7 assists which is a season-low for a Wolves opponent and the 81 points they scored ties a season-low (with Oklahoma City on 11/1).
Kevin Love played just 28 minutes, but it was definitely a bounce back game for him following that dismal 2-for-14 shooting night on Wednesday vs. the Clippers. The best part about tonight's win is that no Wolves starter played more than 31 minutes. That's great considering the Wolves will be hopping on a plane this evening to travel to Houston to take on James Harden, Dwight Howard and the Rockets tomorrow night!
That game is set to tip at 7pmCT from the Toyota Center in Houston. Stay tuned for the gameday preview, until then, thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!