Led by Kevin Love's second career triple-double and the return of Nikola Pekovic, the Minnesota Timberwolves blew out their second-straight opponent, with this one even more convicing than the last.
Love played just 29 minutes, but managed a 22-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple-double. As a matter of fact, Love grabbed his 10th rebound just as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter just in front of the Wolves bench as they stood and cheered. Love became the first player in Timberwolves history to finish with a triple-double in less than 30 minutes played.
Nikola Pekovic got rolling early and the likes of Chris Kaman, Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly & Jordan Hill didn't stand much of a chance of slowing down the big fella. In the first quarter, Pek played 7 minutes and went a perfect 4-4 FG & 4-4 FT for 12 points. He finished shooting 90% (9-10) from the field, 8-for-8 from the line along with 3 rebounds and 26 points.
The Wolves controlled this one from the tip and they didn't let up at all. They scored 41 in the first quarter to take a 17-point lead and added another 33 points in the second quarter to take a 31-point lead at halftime. Those 74 points in the first two quarters set a new season-high for points in a half and fell just three shy of tying the franchise record.
With no Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol and playing with an injured Steve Nash (who is a shell of the former MVP he was) hasn't got it done for the Lakers this season. I've been caught off guard by the Lakers fans that think they'll have a quick turnaround next season. They'll be paying Kobe $48million over the next two years and it remains to be seen if he'll return to the court anywhere near the All-Star level. He tried this season and failed miserably. At 35 years old, I'm not so sure he can return to anywhere near that level...though if anyone could do it, it's Kobe Bryant. Add to that the $7million-plus they have to pay Nash and the fact that they're likely to lose Pau Gasol in free agency, if I'm a free agent, I don't want any part of what has become a toxic LA environment these last couple seasons.
The Wolves got a good win and avoided any mistakes over the inferior team. By the end, Alexey Shved was lobbing dimes to Gorgui Dieng & Shabazz Muhammad for alley-oops...it was that kind of a night.
Here are a few things I liked about tonight's game...
Nikola Pekovic's return to the starting lineup and the 'issue' it creates with, does Pek or Dieng start? When you have two talented big men who deserve big minutes in the frontcourt, that is the exact type of situation you want. It will definitely be interesting to see how Adelman manages the minutes at center between Pek & Dieng in these final 11 games.
The J.J. Barea to Dante Cunningham alley-oop! The oops from Shved to Dieng and Shved to Muhammad & Shved to Dieng! Alley-oops for everyone!!
A game like this where everyone on the roster gets minutes. Granted, the game became a glorified pickup game at some point early in the second quarter, it was still nice to see Shved running the point, Shabazz & Hummel getting some fourth quarter minutes and even Mbah a Moute getting extended minutes checking Nick Young, Jodie Meeks & Kent Bazemore.
Kevin Love's triple-double and the fact that he grabbed that 10th rebound as the third quarter buzzer sounded. It just puts the cherry on a easy win in a season when the Wolves have struggled in so many close games.
That the Lakers suck. It isn't very often that the Lakeshow is terrible. These past two seasons, they've been bad. They were mediocre a year ago and they're absolutely dreadful this year. As a Wolves fan who has been drug through 10-years of playoff-less basketball, it's nice to see a team and a city that takes winning for granted, lose and fail so miserably. Fair weather Laker fans have left their team proven that by the STAPLES Center suddenly not being the hot ticket in LA and sold out every night.
A few things I didn't like about tonight's game...
Just one: Jordan Hill's hair. What in the hell?!
How can you dislike anything about a game in which the Wolves score 143 points and win by 36?!
That's all for now, the Wolves will be back in action on Sunday evening in Brooklyn, when they take on the Nets at the Barclays Center, tipoff is set for 5pmCST, enjoy the game!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!