1. The Bruise Brothers putting up a 59 & 24. Total domination.
2. Ricky Rubio making an impact with his defense — contrary to this:
Rubio is actually a very good, probably “great” defender. It was obvious once again tonight and helped lead the Wolves to a win.
3. Alexey Shved playing like November & December 2012 Alexey Shved. He had a little extra bounce in his step and made a positive impact. Shved had 4 points and 3 assists in just 6 minutes of +11 ball. He’s played a little bit better of late.
4. Rubio being so much better on defense than Lillard. Obviously, Ricky’s shooting is a problem and Dame is playing at a higher overall level than him this season. But MANNNNNN, Lillard’s a bad defender. His only hope is to clutch and grab. Luckily for him tonight, Bennett Salvatore
had money on the second-half spread let a lot of contact go, so he didn’t get burned as badly as he should’ve.
5. Kevin Love nearly getting a triple double (29/15/9) but not quite getting one. It’ll keep him hungry. You could see him gunning for that final assist in the last few minutes (he barked at Ricky for passing up a trey attempt on a would-be-tenth assist). He played an unbelievable game.
6. The 2nd Quarter lineup that blew the game open and stretched the lead to 30. Cunningham and Mbah a Moute ended up with +/-’s of +24 and +23, respectively.
7. Wes Matthews shooting 2-9 from downtown. I hate Wes Matthews. So should you. He kills the Wolves. But not on this night.
8. Pek having his hook shot going. When he does, he’s completely unstoppable.
9. High-lows from Love to Pek, and from Pek to Love. We saw both tonight.
10. Watching Lillard On Fire Code. Guy can light it up from 26+ feet off the dribble.
11. Watching Lillard (finally) get called for some overdue hand-check calls. He’s not as likeable as he could be. Bad defender who bitches about more-than-legit foul calls.
12. That Alexey misdirection, “I’m just gonna pull this out rather than force a fast break” alley-oop setup to Dante.
13. Robin Lopez shooting 0 times in 25 minutes. That’s kind of funny.
14. Rick Adelman acknowledging what’s obviously true even if it doesn’t affect his overall decision-making:
Adelman when asked if Gorgui is his best rim protector: "By far, by far."—
Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) December 19, 2013
(Gorgui didn’t play tonight.)
15. The fact that Robbie Hummel will remain ready to play, even though he also didn’t get in the game tonight. (Hummel was practically putting himself through a rigorous shootaround at halftime, when most guys are joking around and loosening up.)
16. Kevin Martin’s 22 points on 15 shots, after his slump, one game off, and the inevitable concerns that an aging guard with an injury history was breaking down.
18. Corey Brewer intercepting a long pass to ice the win.
19. The Wolves getting back to .500.
20. Beating the Blazers. If the Wolves have a “rival” in the past decade of league-wide irrelevance, it’s Portland. Not because it’s a close head-to-head record (it’s not) but because of Brandon Roy. Martell Webster’s back. Neil Olshey being a d-bag. David Kahn also being a d-bag. Nic Batum’s Kahntract. LMA versus Love. Blazers Edge versus Canis Hoopus. We make our own rivalries and this is the best we got. I hate watching Portland rain threes at Target Center, like they did last year when they didn’t even have a good team. Every win over Portland is a good win. Let’s enjoy it.