The Minnesota Timberwolves played their first true home game in the past 18 days on Wednesday night when they took on the New York Knicks.
The Wolves were without Ricky Rubio (ankle), Nikola Pekovic (wrist) and Thaddeus Young (personal). That meant that they were without 60% of their starting lineup!
Saunders trotted out a starting lineup of Mo Williams, Kevin Martin, Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng to go up against Shane Larkin, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, Quincy Acy and Samuel Dalembert.
Both Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer were game-time decisions. Both of them had to receive IVs before the game. Martin led the team with a game-high 37 points while Corey Brewer added 14 points off the bench.
Despite being shorthanded, the Wolves had five players finish in double figures. Mo Williams, who hadn't started a game this season (despite Rubio going down with that ankle injury). Saunders had been going with LaVine at point guard and despite flashes of the potential that made him a lotto-pick this summer, he didn't look entirely comfortable running the team. Part of this reason was to keep the veteran Williams' minutes down, hoping to keep his court time around 25-30 minutes a night. In 31 minutes vs. the Knicks, Williams turned in his best game as a Wolf with 14pts & 13ast.
We found out on Friday afternoon that Kevin Martin fractured his wrist during this contest. It happened on a three-point attempt when he was hit by Shane Larkin during the first quarter. He continued to play and scored 34 points on a broken wrist! Unfortunately, Martin will now be out indefinitely.
That means the starting lineup will continue to change when the Wolves take on the Spurs on Friday night. The Wolves will be without Ricky Rubio (ankle), Kevin Martin (wrist), Thaddeus Young (personal), Nikola Pekovic (wrist) and Ronny Turiaf (knee). Which means the only starter the Wolves began the season with, will be starting: rookie Andrew Wiggins. If I had to venture to guess, Saunders will likely trot out: Mo Williams, Corey Brewer, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett & Gorgui Dieng.
Martin scored 37 points on 14-for-20 shooting including 7-for-11 from deep including 4 boards, 2 assists & 2steals. Mo Williams had the double-double, Corey Brewer had 14 points & 6 steals off the bench and Shabazz Muhammad (who started at power forward) had 17 points & 8 rebounds, however the most impressive stat line of the night (in my opinion) came from center Gorgui Dieng who finished with 8 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals and 1 block in 32 minutes. Dieng continues to round out his game and tonight's all-around effort is most certainly noteworthy.
The defending champs, the San Antonio Spurs travel to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves on Friday night. That one tips at 7pmCST. Enjoy the game!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!