As of this moment there are five Western Conference teams within 1.5 games of each other, ranked 4 through 9. Having lost to the struggling Wolves today, Denver has slid to the bottom of that list, after tie-breakers are considered. In other words, today’s loss has temporarily removed them from the playoff picture. Which in Springtime NBA Land means that Denver really wanted this one, but couldn’t get it. The win, for the Wolves, means a bit more than the recent struggle over Golden State.
Luke Ridnour led the Wolves out of the gates with a dozen first-quarter points. The Wolves led by 13 after one. Luke would finish the game with 25 points on 9 for 14 shooting, and 6 assists. But K-Love was team MVP with 30 points, 21 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks. This was right up there with his best performances of the year, which is really saying something. He was relentless and genius in his offensive rebounding pursuits, pulling down 7 of those. On smaller defenders, he scored with jump-hooks. On larger defenders, he scored with jumpers and free throws. His bank shot has nearly become Duncanesque. Luke and Love were brilliant from start to finish and made a seemingly-tough game look rather simple.
* Derrick Williams got a quick yank after he didn’t hold position on Faried and allowed an entry pass to be stolen. After a productive first quarter (he started the game) he only tallied 18 minutes of playing time.
* Kenneth Faried spent the afternoon running seam routes down the middle of the floor. For whatever reason, the Wolves didn’t get back on defense to defend it. Kenneth did a lot of dunking today. We scored enough (obviously) to win comfortably but this would have been a talking point had the game not gone so well.
* Now that he’s making 3’s again, Anthony Tolliver is back in the lineup. He played 34 minutes tonight, chipping in 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. AT can be an effective and reliable role player, but he needs to make open shots because he absolutely CANNOT do anything off the dribble or in the post.
* Not a bad 14 minutes for Malcolm Lee. He played the defense we’ve been told so much about, and dished out 3 assists. One of those was especially smooth, setting up Love for an easy layup.
The Wolves now travel to Memphis for another key game for a playoff contender fighting with teams like Denver for a postseason bid. Memphis is a streaky team and has now dropped 3 games in a row (they also play the Lakers tonight). If the Wolves want to even entertain thoughts about playoffs (PLAYOFFS?!) they’ll need that win on Tuesday Night.
Season Record (24-26)