J.J. Barea had 11 first half points (all of which came in the second quarter). He was clearly on fire and taking it to his former team...in fact, he's the only reason the Wolves went into halftime, down just 10 points (ie: would've been a lot more without his production). As such, you'd think Porter would've gotten him in quickly in the second half. Unfortunately we didn't see him until their were under 3 minutes remaining in the third, by that time the Mavs had pushed the lead to 23 points!
Another example? Nikola Pekovic played just 12 first half minutes. In the first half he had 9pts & 6reb. He was absolutely destroying Chris Kaman and Elton Brand inside and yet he played 12 first half minutes and just 32 minutes on the night. Terry Porter has said that his limited minutes recently have been because of bad matchups against Pek. Instead, let's go with Greg Stiemsma for extended minutes, so we can get blown 1-foot layups, while getting outmuscled on the boards and on both ends of the floor.
Terry Porter has taken over for these last five games and VERY limited success, going 1-4 over that time. The worst part of it all? He's been trying to change things. Little things, like Pekovic's minutes and his insanely head-scratching substitution patterns. You can't blame these last four losses on Porter, but I'm not the only one who will be glad to see Adelman back on the sidelines.
The Timberwolves found themselves down by 21 points after three quarters and seemed on their way to another blowout loss. With a lineup of Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea, Andrei Kirilenko, Dante Cunningham and Nikola Pekovic the Wolves came roaring back and were able to cut the lead to just 8 points. That's as close as they'd get as they simply couldn't stop the Mavs on a night when everything they threw up (regardless of where on the court) seemed to find bottom.
J.J. Barea scored 8 of his 21 in the final quarter, Pek added 6 of his 20, while Rubio, Williams & Stiemsma all added four apiece in a 28-point fourth quarter. Regrettably the Wolves couldn't stop anyone and the Mavs walk away with their third straight win as the Wolves go home with their tails between their legs and losers of their last four games!
Let's take a look at tonight's top performers...
J.J. Barea returned to Dallas and was able to play for the first time since signing with the Wolves as a free agent two summers ago. J.J. had a great night that included four threes and a number of plays where he sliced to the rim and finished with a layup or found the open guy. It was clear watching tonight's game that J.J. is a big key to this Wolves offense right now as I counted a number of times J.J. would get the ball and everyone else would stand around and watch as he'd look to cross-up his defender and drive the lane.
Nikola Pekovic continues to play limited time under Porter and yet he still continues to produce. He struggled from the free throw line tonight, which is unlike the big guy. He finished just 40% on the night, whereas his season-average sits around 77% (75% after tonight).
Kirilenko had a solid all-around game, however AK needs to produce a bit more offensively. The three Wolves guys listed above are three of Minnesota's best offensive weapons. Without them producing consistently, the Wolves will continue to struggle to find wins.
Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo continued to prove why the Wolves' backcourt struggles are a glaring concern. Minnesota's backcourt allowed Darren & O.J. to combine for 43pts, 9reb, 18ast, 5stls, 15-22 FG, 4-5 3PT & 9-9 FT.
Elton Brand looked like Jason Smith did a few games ago. Any thing the vet threw up from mid-range found bottom as no Wolf could stop him. He made seven consecutive shots at one point. It was that kind of night when the Wolves let him go off for 20pts!
MISC. STATS: J.J. Barea tied season-highs tonight in points (21), three pointers made (4) and three-pointers attempted (7).....Dante Cunningham set a new season-high in field goals attempted (18).....Andrei Kirilenko's 6 offensive rebounds is a new season-high.....Ricky Rubio tied a season-high with his 2 made field goals and set new season-highs in offensive rebounds (3), total rebounds (5) and minutes played (26).....Greg Stiemsma tied a season-high with his two offensive rebounds.....Derrick Williams tied a season-high with his 2 steals.....
KEY STATS: The Mavericks shot almost 60% from the field, 46% from deep and 94% from the line, they finished with 33 assists, a +20 in fast break points and forced the Wolves into 15 turnovers that they parlayed into 22 points. The Wolves did hold a big rebounding edge (+13), but struggled in most every other area. It's clear that these last four games, the Wolves' defense has been bad as they're allowing guys to take warmup jumpers with very little defiance. Shooting between 32-40% from the field, doesn't help much either. Unfortunately the Wolves have just been bad on both ends as of late.
MISC. STATS: The Wolves set their second-best mark of the season on the offensive rebounds with 20 tonight.....The Mavericks set new season-highs for a Wolves opponent with their 46 made field goals, 59.7% field goal percentage, 33 assists and 113 total points, while also setting second-best marks in free throw percentage at 93.8% and their 31 fast break points.....The Mavs also set season-lows for a Wolves opponent with their 1 block and tied a season-low with their 4 offensive rebounds.....
That's all for now, the Wolves won't be back in action until the 17th (Thursday) when they take on the Los Angeles Clippers at the Target Center in Minneapolis Minnesota. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!