Tonight’s game was the opposite of Saturday’s versus Miami at Target Center. Rather than miss tons of shots, the Wolves made tons of shots (11-24 from three). Rather than face a great team, they faced a bad one. (Though to be fair, Detroit is now 10-12 compared to Minnesota’s 10-11.) Rather than play without Kevin Love, they played with him. And he was awesome. Love returned from an extended hiatus (Mexico smoke-out combined with his grandmother’s passing meant Love had 8 straight days off between games) and was easily the player of the game. His 26 points, 16 rebounds and 7 assists all came during the game’s first three quarters and allowed him some beneficial rest with another game tomorrow at Target Center vs. Philly.
Detroit was awful. It’s important to emphasize that even if it’s self evident from the 27-point defeat on the Pistons home floor. Their defense was porous throughout the game, allowing Ricky Rubio to navigate gaps and bounce clever passes for assists. Alexey Shved played some first-half minutes, and looked okay. (That’s how ugly things were for Detroit tonight.)
For an extended stretch from the opening tip to about halfway through the second quarter, the Wolves defense stunk. The Pistons (Denny Green voice) then LET EM OFF THE HOOK with some of the worst shot selection known to NBA men. The method of consistent scoring (make the Wolves work for 20+ seconds) gave way to quick, ill advised jumpers that could be had any time. The halftime lead was 13 and probably should’ve been higher. The third quarter was a breeze and the fourth quarter allowed Ricky, Love and Martin to rest.
Rick Adelman’s rotation is coming under closer scrutiny as he struggles to find successful lineup combinations against better competition. Tonight, he sat Gorgui Dieng until garbage time. Robbie Hummel sat until the second half, and then came in and played 10 productive minutes. ([an efficient] 8 points, 3 rebounds.) In typical Hummel fashion, he played during a stretch where the Wolves outscored their opponent; in this case, by 7. Interestingly, Adelman played Shved first with Rubio, then brought in JJ to play with Kevin Martin. That seemed to work better. I wonder if we’ll see it again tomorrow night? Alexey had 3 assists, but — before we get too excited — continued his miserable shooting (0-3 FGs) and had a pair of turnovers in short minutes.
Tomorrow night the Wolves will have a huge talent advantage. And home court advantage. If they can beat Philly, they’ll be back at .500 with a winning streak as added momentum into the thick of December.
Season Record: 10-11