The Timberwolves struggled to get things going as Maccabi Haifa hung around through the first half. They definitely made it a contest in that first quarter, that was of course until the Timberwolves' offense caught fire in that third quarter for 39 points.
The TWolves starters were the reason for that. Roy had 14 of his 19 points in the 3rd, Kirilenko had 10 of his 13 points in the 3rd, Kevin Love had 9 of his 24 and Pek added 4 of his 10.
Not only did the Wolves have a great third quarter, but they followed it up with a solid fourth quarter, as well. It was the starters who put on a show in the 3rd. In the 4th it was the reserves. Barea had 6 of his 11, Cunningham had 7 of his 11, Budinger added 3, 5 for Shved & Conroy (as well as 2 from both Taylor & Harris).
A Tale of Two Halves. That's your storyline for this one. This is a game the TWolves definitely should've won, playing a non-NBA team. Haifa nearly took down the Warriors last Thursday, but lost in a close one: 100-108.
Maccabi Haifa will fly back to Israel tonight and they begin their regular season on Sunday. The TWolves move to 3-1 on the preseason and will next face the Chicago Bulls on (Friday) Oct. 19th.
A few notes from tonight's game on a couple of our Wolves. Roy had his best game of the preseason, finishing with 19 points, 4-8 FG, 2-2 3PT & 9-10 FT. He knocked down two wide open corner threes and his other two made field goals came on turnaround fadeaway jumpers that snapped through the net. He had a great game and showed he can most certainly still get it done on the offensive end.
Watching Andrei Kirilenko tonight, he now (officially) joins Nikola Pekovic as my favorite Timberwolves players. The man literally does everything and at such a high level! A frontcourt of AK47, Love & Pek will be lethal this season.
I've been hearing the TWolves could/should win 40-56 games this season. I know that tonight's game was versus a non-NBA team, but there were a lot of positives that have made me more of a believer. My guess? 44-38 in 2012-13. Also, speaking about this team as a whole, the TWolves should lead the league in team offensive rebounds. Kevin Love was second in the NBA last season, Pek grabs 3-5 a game and guys like AK47, Cunningham, Stiemsma and Amundson should certainly help.
Lastly, Greg Stiemsma. I'll be completely honest, I'm still not overly impressed with Greg...yet. Through four preseason games, I've watched him miss box-outs that lead to offensive rebounds and has also missed some defensive assignments. He's certainly sent some shots back, but being that his specialty is post defense...I haven't been too impressed. I know he has that skill set, but I (personally) have yet to see it. Rebounding on both ends of the floor will help him see more time on the court, as well. All in all, Greg is a big upgrade over Darko Milicic & Brad Miller.
Let's take a look at tonight's top performers...
The TWolves starters put on a show tonight. November 2nd vs. the Kings (the season-opener) can't come soon enough. Kevin Love played 31 minutes and had his usual output on O. Brandon Roy proved once and for all that he's definitely still got it. Can you see why AK47 is my newest favorite Timberwolf? The man literally does everything! Points, rebounds, assists, defense...EVERYTHING!
Let's take a look at the team stats...
The Wolves struggled shooting in the first half, just 36% from the field. Clearly they turned things around in that second half. Free throws definitely helped. When you get 33 points from the line, while your opponent can only manage 5 made free throws, it certainly makes for a big advantage. The Wolves held the advantage in the paint (+12) on the break (+14) and forced more turnovers (+10) for and scored more points off their opponents turnovers.
The Timberwolves continue their preseason on Friday vs. the Bulls. You can find a full gameday preview of that one later this week. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!