Monthly Archives: December 2013

Can a defender slap a shooter on the hand? (Mavs 100, WOLVES 98)

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There’s a blurry screenshot of the play.

Down by two with three seconds left, Ricky Rubio inbounded the ball to Kevin Love. Love took a dribble to his left and set himself for the game-winning (or tying? I can’t quite tell) shot. Shawn Marion then reached across Love’s arm and hand to tip the ball away. Replays confirmed that The Matrix caught at least Love’s hand, if not part of his arm. He must’ve bent the laws of physics too, because neither referee with clear sight of the play blew his whistle.

The Wolves-fan outrage was predictable, but justified. Any NBA player deserves that call. But an MVP candidate playing on his home floor, on the last play of the game?

As Adelman questioned after the game, what would happen if that were Dirk or LeBron taking that shot? The rhetorical question doesn’t even require an answer.

After the game,’s John Schuhmann took to defending the refs’ interpretation of a rule:

For convenience, I’ll just paste in the rule page linked by Schuhmann, with the pertinent sections circled: Continue reading


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Weekend Sweep

The Timberwolves are back to five hundred. On Friday night at Target Center, they beat the Wizards by 22. On Saturday night in Milwaukee, they beat the Bucks by the same lopsided margin. With these wins, their record is now 15-15; good for ninth place in the West.

Taken together, the games’ eight quarters were like a sandwich made of stale bread, but with the finest meats and cheeses. The first quarter against Washington was rough. Well, the opening few minutes were rough, as John Wall came out hot and the Wizards led 9-0 on the Wolves home floor. The crowd started to groan. But the Wolves, led by Kevin Love, chipped away and cut the deficit to one at the quarter break.

The Wolves next six quarters, second through fourth against Washington and first through third against Milwaukee, were a walk in the park. Shots went in. Turnovers were forced but not committed. Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic were the best players on the floor. Corey Brewer scored on his fast-forward-button throws at the backboard square. Ricky Rubio organized an effective offense and bothered his opponent on defense. Against the Wizards, JJ and Shved played well above their norm. Against the Bucks, Kevin Martin was red hot.

Quarter scores in this six-period stretch were all in Minnesota’s favor, save one tie: 39-24, 27-27, 32-24, 34-28, 30-27, 39-21.

The fourth quarter in Milwaukee was that other slice of bread; the one with the mold on it. Rather than continue the focused offense and aggressive defense, the Wolves second unit let up. What was a 31-point lead with 51 seconds left in the third dropped to just 17, halfway through the fourth. Instead of subbing in rookies Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad for some needed reps, Rick Adelman instead barked at his starters — Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, and Kevin Love — to get back in there.

They won the game easily enough and upped the lead by five points before the final buzzer. But ending such a nice weekend of blowout-winning basketball with such a crappy final period was enough to upset Adelman. I’m sure he’ll use it as teaching point in prepping the team for its upcoming stretch of eminently winnable games. The Wolves will be favored to win their next six games, five of which will be played at Target Center. The effort and focus they put forth in the middle six periods this weekend will get it done. The performance bookending that excellence will not.

A few bullets:

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Ricky Rubio and John Wall: Two Sides of the Same Coin?


The Timberwolves take on the Washington Wizards tonight at 7 P.M. CST at Target Center. The game can be seen on NBATV or heard on WCCO 830.

The marquee matchup tonight is at the point guard position, where Ricky Rubio and John Wall will square off.

Rubio has been predictably enigmatic (OXYMORON!) this season. He does so many things well, but the unanswerable question is whether Ricky’s kryptonite–the jump shot–will forever banish him to second-tier status among NBA point guards and compromise his team’s chances to keep opposing defenses honest in half-court sets. Similar questions have been raised about Wall.

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Carlisle, Holzman, and Productive Pep Talks


Howard Beck wrote a great piece about Monta Ellis. “The Evolution of Monta Ellis: Mercurial Former ‘Chucker’ Is Thriving In Dallas” examines the ways Ellis has improved this season — his first as a Dallas Maverick — and includes quotes from coach Rick Carlisle, owner Mark Cuban, and the player himself, explaining the process by which Ellis is transforming his image from ballhogging loser to efficient winner.

I found one part of the story especially interesting. Beck described a meeting that took place between Ellis and Carlisle last summer, after he signed with Dallas. In it, Carlisle pulled no punches in explaining to Monta how he was perceived, why he was perceived that way, and how things would be different with the Mavericks.

Beck writes:

Over eight NBA seasons, Ellis had assumed the aura of a prototypical gunner—his shot count high, his accuracy low, his judgment questionable, his conscience undetectable. Selfish. A bad teammate.

That was how fans had come to view Ellis, and that was the stinging image painted by Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle last summer, shortly after Ellis signed a three-year, $25 million free-agent contract.

“He gave me a rundown of what was said about me,” Ellis said in an interview with Bleacher Report last week. “Me being all about offense. Didn’t want to practice. Really wasn’t a vocal leader. Didn’t want to buy into systems.”

There was more.

“And then,” Ellis said, “he told me what he sees for me with this team.”

A partnership with Dirk Nowitzki. A devastating two-man game. Open lanes to attack the basket. A cast of savvy veterans: Vince Carter, Shawn Marion, Jose Calderon. The chance to be a playmaker. The chance to win, to change perceptions, to change habits. To evolve.

This year, through 28 games, Monta is playing smarter and scoring more efficiently than he has in years. He is the second leading scorer on a winning team. It seems likely, if not obvious, that Carlisle and environment he has helped create in Dallas deserves some credit for the improvement in Monta Ellis.

* * *

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The Wolves Year in Review, 2013 (The Punch-Drunk Edition)


Here we go. A month-by-month rundown of our best and worst Wolves moments of 2013.

January (AG)

Best: Gelabale & Johnson Beat the Rockets

Remember all of the injuries last season?

What’s that? You’re hoping to never think about them again? Okay fine.

Let’s talk about who *was* healthy during the middle of the 2012-13 campaign. Signed to 10-day Kahntracts were Mickael Gelabale from France and Chris Johnson from Louisiana State and the D-League.

On January 19, 2013, riding a five-game losing streak and playing in James Harden’s house, a Timberwolves win was not expected. DNPs would be registered for Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Chase Budinger, Alexey Shved (pre stock plunge), and Brandon Roy.

Worries of a sixth consecutive loss were put to rest in the fourth quarter thanks to the dominant play of the 10-Day Wonders, Johnson & Gelabale. The Wolves won by 13, largely on the backs of the two newbies. Johnson had 15 points and 6 boards. He made all of his field goal attempts. Gelabale scored 11 points, 10 of which came in a hot stretch of the fourth quarter. He also contained Harden on the other end.

For one night, amid a miserable season of bad news and medical updates, the Wolves provided a feel-good story about two young guys trying to carve out NBA careers for themselves.

Worst: Everything else

Aside from that win over Houston, the Wolves were 2-10 in January. In the month’s first game, at Denver, Kevin Love reinjured his hand; this time shelving him for the rest of the season. In our season retrospective post, I named the January freefall as the lowpoint. I stand by that. They were getting blown out repeatedly. The injuries were such a real excuse that fans couldn’t really even get mad. What’s the opposite of cathartic?

I hated last January.

February (PJ)

Best: Timberwolves Destroy the Hornets in a Laugher on February 2

On February 2, the Wolves beat the New Orleans Hornets 115-86 in a laugher (boxscore here). The 29-point win was the only lopsided win the Wolves got in February, and it’s nice for Wolves fans to get to sit back and enjoy a dominant performance every once in a while.

Kevin Love was already out for the season by this point, but everyone contributed, making the lopsided win even more satisfying.

Indeed, the bench did most of the damage: Dante had 18 points on a perfect 9-9 from the floor; Shved had 12 points, 8 assists, and 4 boards and looked like a real prospect; Gelabale had 11 and 5, shooting 4-5 in 21 minutes.

Worst: The Games Didn’t Mean Much Anymore…and Alexey Shved Started to Disappoint

February was another bad month for the Wolves. After going 3-12 in January, they went 3-10 in February. Apart from the lopsided win over NOLA on February 2, their only wins in February were over Cleveland and Philly–not exactly powerhouse teams.

The NOLA game was one of the last times Good Alexey has been seen in an NBA game. Starting in mid-February, his game took a precipitous decline. The Alexey of late 2012 and early 2013 hasn’t been seen again.

March (AG)

Best: Ricky Rubio’s Triple Double

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Happy Holidays from Punch-Drunk Wolves

Holiday Cheers

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all our readers and friends out there. Thanks for supporting the blog, and for following the Wolves with us the past couple of years.

Now go eat, drink, and be merry. (Eds. Note: All can be done whilst watching as many as five NBA games today. Just sayin’.)

In the meantime, here’s some more Christmas goodness from Kurtis Blow.

– Patrick J and Andy G


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LOWE: Wolves 8th-Best in West

This should turn around, and the Wolves have played the league’s second-toughest schedule — and one heavy on road games. In a group of flawed teams, Minnesota has the most potential to stabilize as an above-average two-way club.

–Zach Lowe, in today’s Tuesday column at Grantland.

Link here.

Lowe runs through his Western Conference Power Rankings and slots the Timberwolves 8th in the conference; just ahead of the Mavs and just behind the Suns.

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by | December 24, 2013 · 10:03 AM

WOLVES LOSE HEARTBREAKER: The Emotional Investment Edition

Being emotionally fragile is an important part of being a successful critic; it’s an integral element to being engaged with mainstream art, assuming you aspire to write about it in public.  If you hate everything, you’re a banal asshole . . . but if you don’t hate anything, you’re boring.  You’re useless.  And you end up writing about why you can no longer generate fake feelings that other people digest as real.

–Chuck Klosterman, I Wear the Black Hat

Friday’s loss generated hate. Tonight’s generated shock. Hopefully the next game — Friday versus the Wizards at Target Center — will generate joy. Whatever happens, I’ll continue to try to be objective with the analysis and subjective with the emotional reaction. But sometimes they blend together and sometimes that’s for the best.

Kevin Love scored 45 points tonight. Nikola Pekovic scored 34. The Wolves led by 5 with 26 seconds left, but managed to lose the game. Leading by 2 and only needing to cleanly inbound the ball and successfully possess it until being fouled, Kevin Martin coughed it up. The game went to overtime and Chris Paul was a little too good to be given a second breath of life.

Rick Adelman was too upset to speak with the media. Kevin Love was not impressed by the questions he received from local media while he sat at his locker. Everyone is pissed. As they should be.

It’s a long season. I’ll overreact to a good Robbie Hummel or Gorgui Dieng performance just as often as I’ll describe a sky falling on the green Target Center rooftop. Sometimes that’s part of why I do this. Sometimes it’s the only reason why I do it.

But I won’t ignore the bad things as if they have no meaning. They obviously do. Tonight’s loss, removed from the context of how it occurred, isn’t so bad. The Clippers are a great team. They were the home team. But in the flow of that game, with Matt Barnes being ejected and Love and Pek playing their best game ever as a duo? It really sucks. Why else would Adelman storm out of the presser before it begins?

It doesn’t mean the team will miss the playoffs or even lose the next game. But it means something. And it obviously isn’t something good.

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Timberwolves at Clippers (The Getaway Day Edition)

The Wolves take on CP3, Blake, and MATT BARNES (!) tonight in LaLa.

The Wolves take on CP3, Blake, and MATT BARNES (!) tonight in LaLa.

Howdy, Wolves fans. Tonight’s game is in LA, at the Clip Joint, against CP3 and the Gang. Tip is at 9:30 CST. The Wolves will fly back to Mpls after the game.

It’s also getaway day for Patrick J, who’s leaving for PIT in a few minutes for a flight to MSP via ORD. (Eds. Note: Yes, he’s expecting the usual delay at O’Hare. He cannot recall having a single flight from that airport leave on-time in the 4+ years he lived in Chicago.)

So I’m going to leave you with a bit of crossover eye candy, courtesy of tonight’s opponent, @oneandonlycp3. (Eds. Note: Why did Paul abandon that Twitter handle? It was one of coolest in the League.)

Part I

Take a deep breath. A short intermission. Grab some eggnog, and feast on some more tasty CP3 crossovers in Part II.

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We are who we are. (LAKERS 104, Wolves 91)

Los Angeles Lakers Practice, NBA Europe Live

Pau Gasol got the best of his friend and fellow Spaniard in last night’s game at Staples Center.

The Timberwolves lost, last night. They lost to the Lakers. L.A., as you probably already know, is without veterans Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, and even Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar. In their stead are Nick Young (The Swaggy Point Guard Edition!), Xavier Henry, and former Timberwolf, Wesley Johnson. It seemed like a game that the Wolves should win easily. But they didn’t.

Corey Brewer missed all 8 of his shot attempts. Alexey Shved made just 1 of his 7. Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea were the best backcourt scorers last night, shooting a combined 6 for 17. Kevin Love was awesome and Nikola Pekovic was okay. Kevin Martin was mediocre. Playing 2.5 on 5 isn’t going to cut it. Despite a slew of Laker turnovers in the middle of the game, the Wolves played down to their competition and allowed the outcome to be determined by late-game, Pau Gasol hero ball. Some difficult shots went down and that was that.

Over at Canis Hoopus, Eric in Madison captured the sentiment of Wolves fans everywhere. It was a terrible loss that highlighted the team’s primary weaknesses of poor shooting and an inability to contain opposing scorers. (The Wolves currently have the league’s fourth-worst field goal percentage, and the league’s worst opponent field goal percentage. That seems like a bad combination, doesn’t it?)

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SportVu Stat Of The Day

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That is the number of points per game scored by J.J. Barea on drives to the basket.

It’s the most on the Timberwolves team and ranks just 40th out of all players in the entire league.

Second most on the Wolves? Ricky Rubio with 2.4, which ranks 64th.

The Wolves don’t score much off of dribble penetration.

For some perspective, Monta Ellis leads the league with 8.0 drive ppg. Tony Parker is second with 6.6.

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20 things I love about that game

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:

(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.
17. This:

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.


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Wolves vs. Blazers: Can Vengeance Be Ours?

Two of the NBA's best power forwards, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love, square off tonight at Target Center (Photo credit:

Two of the NBA’s best power forwards, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love, square off tonight at Target Center (Photo credit:

The Wolves take on the Portland Trailblazers tonight in Minneapolis. Tip is at 7 P.M. CST. You can watch live on FSN or League Pass, or listen on WCCO 830.

The Blazers have the best record in the NBA at 22-4. They have the best road record in the NBA at 12-2. They’re on a five game winning streak, and they’ve won 9 of their last 10.

In short, the Wolves have their work cut out for them tonight.

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Lowe on 3s & Uniform Strategy

In this view, the game is tilting toward uniformity, in both team strategy and the types of players each team will seek to execute that strategy.

That comes from Zach Lowe’s excellent piece (sorry, no need to be redundant) about the modern, analytics-inspired NBA trend of more three-point shooting. Lowe focuses on most of the key issues and gets enlightening quotes from authorities such as Jeff Van Gundy, Rod Thorn, and Shane Battier.

While fully appreciating how annoying it is when bloggers copy and paste URLs in an “I was already writing about this” sort of way, I’m going to use the Lowe piece as a launch pad to copy and paste some URLs in an “I was already writing about this” sort of way.

My focus is usually geared toward the declining relevance of low-post offense and the “uniformity” point advanced by Lowe (and apparently rejected — so far — by league officials as an important consideration) that so much copy-cat’ing (in this case, jacking tons of threes, particularly from the corners) might be bad for basketball.

Without further ado:

This one from 1/19/12 was my original piece that called for narrowing the lane as compensation to centers for the hand-check rules that made pick-and-roll so comparatively better an option for offenses.

This one from 10/24/12 calls for basically the same thing, with added emphasis on the point that by freeing up low-post play the league would introduce an additional avenue to success. Why not give more teams, built around a greater number of available helpful players, a chance?

This one from 1/18/13 — specifically, #14 — addresses an issue raised by Lowe: Isn’t it weird that the corner three is shorter than the above-the-break three?

This one from 2/9/13 is an appreciation of Carmelo Anthony’s awesomeness and how his throwback iso game runs counter to modern developments. It also calls for abolishing zone defense restrictions, along with narrowing the lane.

And this one from 8/24/13 focuses on SportsVu camera technology and the possibility that it will further regiment offensive strategy.

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by | December 17, 2013 · 12:15 PM

20 things I hate about that game

1. Barea wasting a 2-for-1 opportunity in the biggest possession of the game so that he could jack up a terrible shot with a dwindling shot clock.
2. Pekovic missing wide open dunks.
3. Brewer missing wide open dunks.
4. Rubio missing everything.
5. Love refusing to get a hand up when Kris Humphries (1st Half) or Jared Sullinger (crunchtime) are squared up for a shot.
6. Gorgui fouling Gerald Wallace on three-pointers.
7. The Wolves interior defense when Gorgui isn’t on the floor.
8. Shabazz never getting a chance to play on a mediocre team that needs another shooter/scorer.
9. Missing free throws when it’s almost always a team strength.
10. Losing to Eastern Conference teams.
11. Inevitable praise for the Celtics and Brad Stevens despite fact that Wolves lost that game more than Cs won it.
12. Falling below .500 at the 25-game mark.
13. Being worse than Portland every year.
14. Wasting a 9-10 shooting effort from defensive specialists Cunningham & Mbah a Moute.
15. Seeing Rubio benched, which leads to seeing J.J.’s late-game decisions.
16. Imagining Rubio feeding Love in the post and posing zero threat to shoot if Love is doubled.
17. Jordan Crawford’s shot selection and decision making resulting in a win over the Timberwolves.
18. Jared Sullinger being the best player on the floor when five other Timberwolves are on the floor.
19. The end of the Kevin Martin-Rick Adelman Honeymoon.
20. The seemingly-inevitable return of this discussion.


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Timberwolves vs. Celtics (The Jordan Crawford Has Killer Steez Edition)

Jordan Crawford's got killer steez. (Photo credit to

Jordan Crawford’s got killer steez. (Photo credit to

The Wolves are in Boston tonight to close a three-game road trip. The game will be on NBATV at 7:30 P.M EST.

The 12-12 Wolves will be going up against a surprisingly decent Celtics team, whose 11-14 record is probably better than a lot of Celtics fans would prefer, given the strength of the top end of the 2014 NBA Draft, which will likely feature uber-prospects Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, Marcus Smart, Dante Exum, Joel Embiid, and others.

New Celtics coach Brad Stevens is viewed by many as a coaching prodigy whose prowess on the sidelines underlies the Celtics (relative) success so far. There’s been a ton written on Stevens and the bang-up job he’s doing with a Celtics team largely bereft of blue-chip talent. Grantland’s Zach Lowe has a nice interview of Stevens here. (Lowe is always recommended reading, and this piece is no exception.)

The Celtics are a team on the rise.

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Friday Loss, Sunday Win, and a Closer Look at 4th Quarter Struggles

The Wolves three-game road trip — began on Friday, ends tomorrow night — spans the entire NBA spectrum. Friday night was at San Antonio, where the Spurs are the league’s gold standard of consistent excellence. Tonight was at Memphis, last year’s Western Conference finalist that has a new coach (Minnesota’s own Dave Joerger, who replaced Lionel Hollins) and –importantly — does not have the services of Marc Gasol, who is out with a sprained knee ligament. Tomorrow night is at Boston, where the Celtics are playing above their heads with an 11-14 record. Boston has a rebuilding roster and — despite the early success of Coach Brad Stevens — seems like a lock for the lottery. The mini tour includes the upper, middle, and lower classes of the current NBA, and in descending order.

The Spurs were 17-4 heading into the Minnesota matchup. Despite a stellar Kevin Love performance (42 points, 8-9 3pt field goals) the Wolves came up short. Love ran out of gas, trying to carry his team and go blow for blow with the Spurs Offensive Machine. Tony Parker, rested relative to Love, went to work in Winning Time. He navigated the Wolves defense to the tune of 12 points in the final 7:35. Parker scored 29 in the game and dished out 6 assists. When facing San Antonio — by far the league’s best-executing team offense — it’s always difficult to tell if they’re that good or you’re that bad. On Friday, the Wolves clearly struggled to defend. Their offense, without any help from so-far superstar scorer Kevin Martin (more on this later), was almost enough. But allowing 117 points will rarely result in a victory. The Wolves lost by 7. It was a splendid game to watch, but with a bittersweet result of defeat that seemed like wasting a special Kevin Love performance. The loss dropped the Wolves record down to 11-12, once again below .500.

Tonight was a far different matchup. At Memphis, the Wolves faced a Grizzlies team that was 2 games under .500 and struggling without its team MVP and leaguewide Defensive Player of the Year, Marc Gasol. Behind more Kevin Love domination and a J.J. Barea scoring surge, the Wolves build a lead as high as 19 in the second quarter that fell down to 10 at the half. Barea was playing his usual style (dribble-happy, improvisational) and it was working for a while. He had 13 points on perfect 4-4 shooting (3-3 from downtown) in the first half.

Things got uglier in the second half, but the Wolves never quite surrendered their lead. It dropped to just 2 points more than once. Mike Conley was having his way on offense (28 points on 12-20 shooting) before injuring his knee and leaving the game with just 3:54 to play. I don’t know the extent of the injury, but he did go to the locker room. It was 95-92 with just over two minutes to go when Pek — on consecutive possessions — drew fouls on Zach Randolph. Each time he converted both free throws. Paired with some timely defensive stops, the win was sealed up.

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Wolves at Memphis: Soul to Squeeze?

The Timberwolves (11-12) take on the Memphis Grizzlies (10-12) today in Memphis. The game is at 5 P.M Central and can be seen on FSN (you), LP (me), or listened to on 830 WCCO.

The Wolves have won two of their last three. They’re coming off of a tough loss at San Antonio on Friday, in which Kevin Love was the main attraction. Love put up 42 & 14 whilst shooting 8-9 from downtown in the Wolves 117-110 loss to San Antonio. Kevin Martin had his second straight sub-par game. He scored 14 but shot only 4-12 and played bad defense. 

Tonight, the style of play is likely to look very different. Memphis is a grind-it-out, defensive-minded team that will try to stop the Wolves uptempo game.

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Timberwolves vs. Spurs: What to Watch For

Greetings, Timberwolves fans.

Tonight the Wolves take on the San Antonio Spurs  in San Antonio at 7:30 P.M. CST. Watch the game on FSN (you, probably) or NBA League Pass (me). Or listen to it on 830-AM.

The Wolves are back to .500, with a season record of 11-11. They are currently on a two-game winning streak, having beaten the Pistons soundly on Tuesday in Detroit and eking out a win over Philadelphia on Wednesday at home.

Tonight’s game was supposed to be the second between the Wolves and Spurs this season, but the first–The Ill-Fated Wolves Home Game in Mexico City That Never Was–was postponed on Dec. 4 because Mexico City Arena went up in smoke.

(Eds. Note: This really was an NBA pre-game scene. Contrary to popular belief, it is not an iPhone pic from the Snoop Dogg Puff Puff Pass tour.)

Anyway, the postponed game has not yet been rescheduled, but it will apparently be played in Minneapolis rather than Mexico (yay!).

Tonight’s Matchup

Extending its winning streak to three tonight in San Antonio will not be easy for Minnesota.

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Good Cop/Bad Cop (WOLVES 106, 76ers 99)


Good Cop: Wolves win! The Timberwolves beat the visiting Philadelphia 76ers 106-99 at Target Center on a bitter-cold, not-yet-actually-Winter’s night. The victory ups their record to 11-11, back to .500 around the season’s quarter mark.

Bad Cop: The win came against Philly, one of the league’s least talented teams and front runners for Andrew Wiggins in the 2014 Draft. Philly traded away Jrue Holiday for a rookie with a torn ACL. They are sitting their other rookie (and best guard) with a cryptically-explained skin condition. (Cough, #tanking, cough.) Oh, and the Wolves barely won. They allowed 39 points in the first quarter. Read that last sentence again. To quote Rick Adelman, “Obviously the first quarter was awful. They’re a young team. We told them exactly what they were going to do… They just got going and got us on our heels.”

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