The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night, but followed up that performance with back-to-back losses in Florida to the Magic on Friday and the Heat on Saturday.
The Wolves are now 2-4 on the season.
Versus the Nets, the Wolves started the game strong, building a quick double digit lead early in the first quarter. The Nets shook off a cold start to make it a ball game. The Wolves, however, finished the game as the started--strong. It was strong play from Nikola Pekovic who took advantage of his favorable matchup with Brook Lopez. It was a late bucket from Pek that aided the Wolves to the win. In addition to that, double-doubles from Pek (16pts & 11reb), Young (12pts & 12reb) and Rubio (14pts, 12ast)--Ricky was also just 2reb (8) shy of a triple-double. Minnesota was led by 24pts from Martin and Andrew Wiggins had his largest scoring output in his rookie campaign--17pts.
Unfortunately the Wolves were unable to follow up that impressive win over the Nets with a win over the Orlando Magic.
Orlando is a non-playoff team in the Eastern Conference. They're a young team with a lot of young players--much like the Timberwolves. The Wolves had a chance to win the game down the stretch. With the game tied at 94, Kevin Martin missed a jumper from the elbow. The Magic outscored the Wolves 18-9 in overtime for the 9-point victory.
The Wolves were led once again by Kevin Martin with 21pts & 5ast. Pekovic added 16pts & 7reb; Brewer came off the bench for 16pts, 5reb & 3stls in 28 minutes. Gorgui Dieng played 25 minutes off the bench and finished with a double-double: 11pts, 10reb, 2stls & 2blks.
Unfortunately the Wolves lost Ricky Rubio in the second quarter when he went down with an ankle sprain. Ultimately it was diagnosed as a severely sprained ankle. He'll be on crutches for the next 10-14 days and then be re-evaluated. The swelling in the ankle needs to go down before it can be properly diagnosed. A low ankle sprain will keep him out of action for a shorter period of time--the higher up the ankle the sprain is, the more time he's likely to miss.
The Wolves were back in action the very next night. Zach LaVine started in Ricky's place and finished with 5pts, 6reb, 4ast, 1stl and 2tos in 26 minutes.
The Wolves dug themselves an early hole with a TERRIBLE first quarter in which they made just 5 field goals for 13 points. They shot 31% FG, while the Heat scored 31 points on 72% FG.
The Wolves outscored the Heat in the ensuing three quarters, however that 16-point first quarter deficit proved to be too much to overcome. Minnesota did get it within 4 points with just over four minutes to play. This was thanks to a 12-0 run midway through the final quarter which included two triples from Kevin Martin.
Martin who led the Wolves in scoring with 22.5 points per game coming into the game, didn't score until this final quarter.
With no Rubio, the Wolves desperately needed big outings from Martin & Mo Williams, however they were unable to get anything going until late in that final quarter. Unfortunately the Heat were able to weather a late Wolves surge.
The Wolves got 19pts & 11reb from Pekovic who was guarded by Shawne Williams much of the night--a matchup the Wolves HAD to take advantage of--and did. Thad Young added 16pts & 6reb; Gorgui Dieng had 12pts & 6reb off the bench and Shabazz Muhammad came off the bench and tied a season-high with 13 points & 2 rebounds in 11 minutes--and was a big part of that late run that gave the Wolves a chance down the stretch.
The Wolves are now 2-4 on the season. They'll have a couple days off before facing the Houston Rockets on Wednesday in Mexico City. That is a late tip--9pmCST.
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!