What a difference a couple games make.
Greetings. Kent Youngblood here. I covered the Wolves' victory over Houston tonight.
The last time the Wolves played at home, Wednesday against Indiana, the Pacers -- in Ricky Rubio's words -- punched the Wolves in the mouth and the Wolves never really punched back.
Tonight, after a fairly interesting third-quarter play upped the physical ante, the Wolves responded. You probably already know the play I'm referring to. It came in the third quarter when Kevin Love stepped on Luis Scola.
You can find it on YouTube.com here:
I have a story in tomorrow's paper with reaction from both involved. Here's a quick sum-up: Scola didn't say he though it was intention, but didn't seem happy. Love said it wasn't intention, shouldn't merit further review from the league and that he and Luis are members of a mutual admiration society.
But there is no question that play -- which resulted in the Houston bench being called for a technical at the other end moments later -- motivated the Rockets. The game got very intense and very physical. The Wolves, who led by as many as 16 early in the third period, saw that lead dwindle to three midway through the fourth quarter.
But the Wolves responded. Big Pek got a basket, then Ridnour -- who had a fine evening -- hit a three. The lead was back to eight and the Wolves got just enough stops down the stretch to even their record at 12-12.
It's the first time the Wolves have been .500 this late in the season since 2007, two games after Dwane Casey was fired for being a .500 coach.
But I digress.
Here are some reactions to the game tonight:
1. The Wolves bench didn't score as much as it has of late, but coach Rick Adelman has a lot more talent to use off the bench than any Wolves coach has in recent seasons. This time J.J. Barea came off the bench to score 10 points and dish out three assists.
2. Afterward Adelman said he thought the team was learning the toughness it takes to win consistently in this league. I'll say this: if the team can start winning more at home, this season could get even more interesting.
3. Remember Monday, when Michael Beasley came off the bench to score 34 points? This He has scored 11, 10 and six points in three games since, hitting 10 of his 27 shots in the process. To his credit, Beasley worked pretty hard on defense and had six rebounds in less than 20 minutes played. Still, we're still looking for consistency here.
4. Nikola Pekovic continues to be a strong presence in the post. Tonight he had 11 points and nine rebounds -- four on the offensive end. And he only picked up one foul! He had a block and one turnover. Pek scored seven points in the third quarter and four in the fourth. He also got five of his rebounds in 9:33 of fourth-quarter playing time.
5. Ricky Rubio got yet another points/assists double-double. It was his 11th, and it tied him with Deron Williams for most in the league. He also had his 12th game with 10 or more assists, most in the league. Minnesota is 9-5 when Rubio starts.
That's about it for now. Have a good night.