In another disappointing Timberwolves basketball season marred by too many injuries to count, tonight was one of the lone bright spots. The Timberwolves grabbed their 29th win of the season, but more importantly it was Rick Adelman's 1000th career victory as an NBA head coach.
For over twenty seasons Rick Adelman has manned the sidelines and over that time he's earned the admiration of his peers as a real innovator in NBA schemes. Now he's part of the exclusive 1000 win club. Adelman joins Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkens, Pat Riley, Jerry Sloan, Phil Jackson, Larry Brown and the only other active NBA coach George Karl.
It was a special moment post-game, Rick Adelman was joined on the court with his wife Mary Kay, they shared some tears, a hug and a smooch. Rick said during an interview on the PA system after the game that he couldn't have done it without his wife. As you probably have heard, his wife has been having some health problems (unexplained seizures) this season that forced Rick to miss 11 straight games in the middle of the season.
Rick Adelman has 1000 wins and he's second in wins in Minnesota franchise coaching history. Just imagine how many more wins or how much sooner he would've got #1000 if he had two healthy Wolves squads these past two seasons!
Rick & Mary Kay
On to this Detroit game...
In a lot of ways this game mirrored Friday's matchup with the Toronto Raptors. So, of course, in the back of my mind I was thinking there's a good chance we'd be coming out of this one with another narrow defeat.
The Pistons were able to keep it close, much like the Raptors did. The Wolves would go on a run and find themselves leading by double digits only to have a guy like Rodney Stuckey/Brandon Knight (Friday it was Rudy Gay/DeMar DeRozan) dump in a number of baskets to cut the deficit.
Let's fast forward to the final 20 seconds of this one...
With 19 seconds to play, Jonas Jerebko intentionally fouled Luke Ridnour sending him to the line for two free throws. Before the two gimmes, the Wolves were up 102-101. Ridnour went 1 of 2 at the line to give the Wolves a 103-101 lead. It certainly gave Wolves fans a bit of worry who saw Ricky Rubio go 1 of 2 at the line on Friday, a second make would've tied the game, instead the Raptors secured the board and ultimately secured the win.
Fortunately, Nikola Pekovic tapped the offensive board out on the perimeter and it landed in Luke Ridnour's lap. Ridnour was again fouled and this time stepped to the line and hit them both to make it 105-101 with 15 seconds to play.
Out of a Pistons timeout, Rodney Stuckey missed a three-pointer, Pekovic secured the board and was again fouled. Pekovic stepped to the line and hit two more free throws to make it 107-101. Greg Monroe threw up a desperation three-pointer that couldn't find bottom and the Wolves walked away with the W, 29th of the season and 1000th of Adelman's NBA coaching career.
Let's take a look at tonight's box score...
Tonight, Brandon Knight (25pts) & Rodney Stuckey (20pts) were very similar to Rudy Gay (26pts) & DeMar DeRozan (25pts) on Friday. Brandon Knight had 7pts in the first quarter and added another 10pts in the 4th. 13 of Stuckey's 20pts came in the second quarter.
I thought the Greg Monroe/Andre Drummond frontcourt would've produced a bit more--especially with one of them facing Derrick Williams down low. Monroe & Drummond combined for just 25pts & 16reb. Greg Monroe had just 6 rebounds. Monroe did get going early with 9 of his 16pts coming in the first quarter. Rodney Stuckey did some work down low and finished with 8 rebounds on the night.
I was a bit surprised that Jose Calderon didn't contribute a bit more in this one. Calderon is known for his playmaking abilities, but finished with just 4 assists on the night. Jose is battling through a triceps strain which likely explains some of those below average numbers tonight.
For the Wolves, their big men got it going early. Derrick Williams scored all of his 14 points in the first quarter, while Pekovic added 9 of his 20 in the first. Nikola also finished with 13 rebounds, which is the most he's had since 3/29 vs. Oklahoma City a week-and-a-half ago, when he had 15.
J.J. Barea followed up his goose egg on Friday (0pts) and had 20 in this one, with 15 of those coming in the second quarter (to negate Stuckey's 13 second quarter points).
While J.J. Barea scorched the net shooting 9-for-13 from the field (69%). That helped to make up for the Wolves' starting backcourt's shooting woes. Luke Ridnour & Ricky Rubio shot a combined 2-for-19 from the field (11%). Ridnour finished with just 5 points and Ricky Rubio added 10pts, thanks in large part to his 8-of-9 at the free throw line. As such, the Wolves starting backcourt played a bit of limited minutes. Ridnour played just 20 & Rubio was on the court for 32--thanks in large part to that poor shooting.
Andrei Kirilenko had his best defensive game of the season, finishing with 2 blocks and a season-high 7 steals. Those 7 steals are one off of his career-high (8). AK also added 13pts, 6reb & 3ast in 43 minutes.
The 29-47 Minnesota Timberwolves now have a couple days off, before they return to action on Tuesday night to take on the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!