The TWolves faced the Rockets a week ago and lost by 15 at the Target Center. Tonight at the Toyota Center in Houston--the Wolves strut away with a 12-point victory.
Unlike that game a week ago--the Wolves got contributions from players beyond Kevin Love. They had two key pieces tonight--they didn't last: Martell Webster & Michael Beasley. Martell had 7pts on 75% shooting and some good perimeter defense, while Beasley actually worked within the constructs of the team and shined with 34 points in 32 minutes off the bench--while shooting 10-for-14 from the field.
The Wolves still struggled to defend Kevin Martin who had 31 a week ago and 29 tonight. They put a combination of different players: Martell, Wes & Ellington--but they still couldn't seem to slow down K-Mart.
The Wolves got hot in the third quarter--which was when they took the game over. They outscored the Rockets 42-25. Those 42 points sets a new franchise record for third quarter points! The previous best? 41 third quarter points in two different games: vs. the Clippers on 12/8/95 & vs. the Bucks on 3/19/00.
That game a week ago marked the return of Kevin McHale & Jonny Flynn to the Target Center. Tonight's game was the return of Rick Adelman & Brad Miller to the Toyota Center. Each duo returned to a previous home and got the W. Of course both of those players (Miller & Flynn) aren't key players for their teams. Miller saw limited minutes as the backup center behind Pekovic tonight and Flynn is buried behind Lowry & Dragic on the depth chart.
Let's take a look at some statistics from each team's key players...
The Timberwolves got a huge boost from Michael Beasley. He shot efficiently and did so within the confines of the team plan and we saw more assisted buckets to Beas--rather than his ball-stopping and isolation. Kevin Love had another great game--surprisingly, however, just 7rebs, still shot efficiently in all aspects and didn't have to play 40+ minutes. Ricky Rubio was the best all-around player today--18pts, led the team in rebounds and assists while playing a team-high 38 minutes.
For the Rockets--they got Martin back after missing two games and led the Rockets with 29pts. However, the problem that plagued the Wolves in their meeting a week ago--was apparent for the Rockets this time. Like Love a week ago--Martin was the only Rocket who was able to score and contribute on the offensive end. The Rockets were still able to put out 108 points and got some 'balanced' low numbers from a variety of players. Ultimately no one was able to step up to the level Martin did tonight and that's why they fell short. That--and they couldn't stop Beasley, Love & Rubio!
Let's take a look at some team statistics...
Let's start with the negatives for the Wolves tonight. Bad news out of the way, first. The Wolves were beat on the break (as usual) 15-6 and they turned the ball over 18 times--allowing 16 points. Those are the only negatives you could really take away from this game when you look at those stats.
The positives are plenty! The Wolves shot high percentages from the field and the line--astounding 58% from the field and 90% from the line--leaving just three points at the line! They struggled a bit from deep--but the Rockets shot two more and made just one more. The Wolves more than made up for that, however, with their dominance in the paint! The Timberwolves boasted a +14 tonight as the likes of Scola & Dalembert didn't seem to be to concerning while the TWolves flew around the paint. The Wolves also outscored a Rockets bench that's got a reputation for being VERY good. Those 50 bench points--were of course headlined by 34 from Beas.
That's all for now. The Wolves' next game will be back at the Target Center vs. the Pacers on Wednesday (2/1)--a full gameday preview of that one can be found on this site tomorrow afternoon. We'll also have some pictures, videos and an updated injury report and stats! Thanks for reading HOWL--stay tuned & GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!