The Minnesota Timberwolves have registered their first win over the Orlando Magic, at the Target Center since March 2006 and they did so, with ease. Despite a second quarter lapse, where they let the Magic back in the game, the TWolves were ultimately able to easily breeze past the Orlando Magic.
This was a Magic squad without three of their best players: Jameer Nelson (hamstring/groin strain), Hedo Turkoglu (broken hand) and Al Harrington (recovering from offseason knee surgery). Of course, Minnesota is without two of their best players: Kevin Love (broken hand) and Ricky Rubio (recovering from reconstructive knee surgery).
Comparing these two teams, you can see how well David Kahn & Rick Adelman have done assembling this roster, especially when compared to Orlando. Both are teams without their best players, however one team (Minnesota) is better equipped to handle that with the depth on the roster.
The Timberwolves got out to an early 25-12 first quarter lead. That was thanks in large part to Derrick Williams who scored 7 of his 14 points in that first quarter, Ridnour added 6 (of his 19) and Kirilenko added another 5 (of his 7).
It was a tale of two quarters though. The roles reversed and the TWolves were outscored 22-13 in the second quarter.
Coming out of haltime, the Wolves got things back on track, outscoring the Magic 30-21, thanks in large part to 8pts from Ridnour, 7pts from Pekovic, 6pts from Stiemsma (of his 12) and another 5pts from D-Will.
By the fourth quarter, Minnesota was well on their way to victory which allowed the Wolves to play their deep reserves: Will Conroy, Malcolm Lee & Lou Amundson. The Wolves pick up their 3rd win of the season, they're now 2-1 vs. Eastern Conference foes and remain among the top in the Northwest Division and the Western Conference.
Let's take a look at tonight's top performers...
Luke Ridnour & Derrick Williams finally got things going. Both have struggled early on this season (and preseason), but tonight they were able to get on track and contributed big games! Luke Ridnour is certainly our Player of the Game. 19pts and only three missed attempts, not too shabby. If J.J. Barea is out (again) for an extended period of time, the Wolves will definitely need games like this from 'Cool Hand Luke' (Barea dove for a loose ball and appeared to injure his ankle--no word yet on the severity/timetable...stay tuned). D-Will had 14pts and led the team in rebounds with 6. The craziest thing? Each TWolves starter had 5 rebounds (besides Williams who had 6). Stiemsma had another 5 off the bench & Cunningham/Shved each added 4 apiece (among a few others added 1 or 2 off the bench). Stiemsma was one point off of his career high (13), his 6 made field goals is a new career-high though and he continued to patrol the paint coming up with big blocks and altering plenty of shots.
The Magic struggled. Arron Afflalo & Glen Davis have been the Magic's leading scorers. Glen was averaging 22.3ppg heading into this game, however the Wolves held him to just 4 on 2-9 shooting. Arron Afflalo had been averaging 19ppg coming into this matchup (including a 28-point outing vs. Chicago on Tuesday), but the Wolves held him to just 12pts on 5-of-11 shooting.
Let's take a look at the teams stats...
The TWolves kept the Magic off the three-point line and that was a big difference in this one. The Magic have always been known for their three-pointers, but the Wolves allowed them just three makes on twelve attempts. The Wolves (without Kevin Love) held a +5 in rebounds and did so (as we noted before) with no one player having more than six rebounds. More assists, steals, blocks and points in the paint. Both teams turned the ball over the same number of times (something that'll continue to be one of Minnesota's Achilles Heels going forward). All around great game for Minnesota as they head into Friday's matchup vs. Indiana.
That's all for now, that game vs. Indiana will be at the Target Center and will tip at 7pmCT and you can expect a full gameday preview of that one sometime Thursday afternoon. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!