So that went exactly as planned, didn’t it?
The Wolves broke a five-game losing streak on a night when it had just nine healthy players. And just seven of them had played for the Timberwolves before. I haven’t seen anything like what happened at Target Center – two fellows fresh off signing 10-day contracts, getting into their first game and combining to score the Wolves’ first 23 points of the fourth quarter.
No wonder fans were chanting “MVP’’ when Chris Johnson went to the line. There might have even been a chant or two for Mickael Gelabale, too.
In an offense stripped to its simplest core, the Wolves simply had Johnson set a pick, then roll to the basket. Gelabale just tried to find open spaces on the court. And then the Wolves – mainly Ricky Rubio, who had four fourth-quarter assists – found them.
“I haven’t seen it but I’m sure it’s been done,” Wolves acting coach Terry Porter said. “I would have to go back and look, but I don’t recall, in my experience, getting two guys like that and just having them step in and putting in (that) type of work for us. At both ends of the floor, not just the offensive end. Both of them had tough assignments at the other end.”
Now the Wolves head to Atlanta for Monday’s matinee. The team should have Dante Cunningham back; he missed Saturday’s game with an illness. There is a chance the Wolves will have Alexey Shved back from a twisted ankle. But will they be able to get back into the rotation with monsters like Johnson and Gelabale around?
A joke. But seriously, here are some reactions to tonight’s action:
--Porter will probably get some more demerits for playing Ricky Rubio 30 minutes, two minutes more than he was supposed to play. But Rubio looked very spry tonight. It appears he’s getting his legs.
--Andrei Kirilenko had a fine double-double, with 21 points and 11 rebounds. He also had three steals and two assists. He was 8-for-11 from the field.
--Luke Ridour has scored 37 points in his last two games. He has been in double figures in 20 of 25 games.
--The Rockets’ 32.1 shooting percentage was the 12th lowest by a Wolves opponent in franchise history.
--Greg Stiemsma and Lou Amundson were the only two players of the nine Wolves who played not to score. Six of the remaining seven were in double figures.
That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you Sunday.