When it rains it pours. The Minnesota Timberwolves lost to the Lakers last night, lost Ricky Rubio for the rest of the season with a torn ACL and tonight lost to the Hornets as they grabbed just their 10th win of the season!
The Timberwolves were strong early with great play from Nikola Pekovic & Kevin Love. Pek scored 12 and Love added 10 in the first quarter that saw the teams tied at 24. Love & Luke gave them 5 points each and Wayne Ellington added 9 in the second quarter, but the Hornets got 7 from Thomas, and five each from Vasquez & Belinelli in the second quarter as the Hornets took a five-point lead heading into halftime; 44-49. A key to that second quarter was four scoreless minutes for the Wolves as the Hornets went on an 11-0 run.
The deficit remained at 5 as both teams scored 21 in the third quarter. Pek & Love combined for 10 in that quarter as did the Hornets' froncourt of Kaman & Ayon, while Jack also added 5. It was still anyone's ball game heading into the final quarter. The Hornets outscored Minnesota by just one point in the final quarter (24-25) as the Hornets snuck out of Minneapolis with their 10th win of the season. Love had 10 in that final quarter and Pek added 5, but a balanced Hornets effort led by 6 from Aminu got them the W.
The Minnesota Timberwolves fell back to .500 on the season, 21-21 and fell further out of the playoff picture, just as soon as they became part of that discussion.
Let's take a look at some of tonight's key players from each team...
Kevin Love posted another great stat line that continues to seem routine (still astounding a 30-15 is the 'norm' now). Pek is establishing himself as one of the best centers in the NBA as his stellar play continues, another double-double for Pek--shooting efficiently and bruising big men down low. Ridnour manned the point with Rubio down and turned in a double-double, but struggled a bit as he adjusting to defending legitimate point guard. He doesn't have the playmaking ability of Rubio, but he's still a solid point guard and although the loss of Ricky hurts--Luke isn't 'chopped liver'. Ellington saw significant minutes for the first time in a long time and scored 12pts, but also turned the ball over 4 times as he looked a little rusty out there. Adelman opened his rotation back up and played 10 guys in tonight's loss (beyond starting five--Lee, Ellington, Williams, Beasley & Miller).
For the Hornets, they were without three of their key players: Emeka Okafor, Carl Landry & Jason Smith, they're also, of course, still without Eric Gordon. They got solid play from a number of different players. Kaman (whose name is circulating the trade deadline rumors) had a great game with 20pts. I've watched Jarrett Jack since he came into the League and I'm glad he's in a situation where he's getting the start and making the most of it after toiling as a backup in Portland, Toronto and last year in New Orleans.
Let's take a look at some of tonight's team stats...
The key stat from tonight? 17 TWolves turnovers leading to 25 Hornets points. The loss of Rubio attributes directly to the loss of the TWolves' ball control. Hopefully the TWolves can learn quickly to handle the ball and the return of J.J. Barea may help that cause (he's expected back sometime next week, if not Monday vs. Phoenix then later in the week). The Wolves also got beat on the break while NOH shot better from the field, three-point line & the line.
The Wolves will be looking for a bounce-back win Monday vs. the Phoenix Suns as they begin a 7-game road trip (won't play at the Target Center for the next 15 days!).
Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!