The Minnesota Timberwolves were without Kevin Love, who at the last second was experiencing 'flu-like' symptoms and sent home for the night. Not surprisingly, looking on Twitter, no one was too concerned with Love being out, instead the news was the #ReturnofRubio. It comes as no surprise because Kevin Love has clearly been struggling shooting the ball and perhaps some time off the court will help him when he returns to the court.
Ricky didn't disappoint in his first action since March 2012. He played 18 minutes and finished with 8pts, 4reb, 9ast, 3stls. He missed a three-pointer with under 10 seconds to play that would've sealed the win, instead the game went into OT. Rubio didn't play in overtime (he was to be limited to 16-18 minutes), however Adelman said post-game that Ricky would've played in the OT had they needed him.
Luckily they didn't and it was thanks in large part to Andrei Kirilenko. AK began the overtime with an assist on an Alexey Shved slam dunk, he also scored 5 of the Wolves' 12 points in the extra innings and pulled down some clutch rebounds.
The Wolves stumbled out of the gate in this one and after one quarter the Mavericks were up 22-32. After a brief break between quarters, a completely different Wolves squad took the court, while the same seemed to hold true for the Mavs. The Wolves outscored Dallas 32-13 in that second quarter to take a 9-point lead (54-45) heading into halftime. Derrick Williams had 12 of his 16 in that quarter, while Shved added 7 of his 18.
However, as has been the case far too many times this season, the Wolves let the lead slip away. The Wolves were up 15 points at one point in the third quarter however thanks to a 32-point fourth quarter the Mavericks were able to tie it up at 102. Rubio missed a game winner and 1-2 tips apiece for Pekovic & Kirilenko couldn't find bottom and the game went into overtime.
Minnesota collects their 12th win of the season and is now riding a season-high four game winning streak. With this win the Wolves remain at #6 in the West standings and #2 in the Northwest (behind the OKC Thunder).
Let's take a look at the key players for each team in this one...
HOT: Both teams were hot offensively, however thanks to a late boost from some stellar play via Andrei Kirilenko the Wolves were able to waltz away with the victory in OT. AK scored 5 of his 14 in overtime, assisted on one more and grab some very clutch rebounds. With 14-10 he had his sixth double-double of the season. Shved continues to prove he's the future for this team at shooting guard, he had a killer first half, scoring 8pts & 7pts in the first and second quarters.
NOT: On a night like tonight, there aren't too many players that you can single out (on either side--but especially for Minnesota) that did poorly. My usual scapegoat (Derrick Williams) had one of his best games of the season with 16pts on 5-of-9 shooting in 19 minutes off the bench. For the Mavs, both Vince Carter & Derek Fisher fouled out in the fourth quarter. Both were having good games up to that point and without them on the floor in the latter stages, likely helped seal this W.
The team stats....
Both teams shot similar percentages from the floor, though the Mavs connected on an astounding 50% of their threes. Luckily the Wolves held a +7 on the boards, finished w/15 steals while forcing 20 turnovers the Wolves turned into 18 points. Minny was also able to build off their paint dominance on Friday night with a 50-36 edge in points in the paint. 42pts off the bench (led by 16 for D-Will and 14 for Barea) doesn't hurt either.
That's all for now, the Wolves will be back in action in Orlando vs. the Magic on Monday night. A full gameday preview of that one will be available before then. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!