The Wolves offense looked better Tuesday, given that coach Rick Adelman finally had all his top players healthy and ready to actually start playing together on the court.
Brandon Roy scored 19, with 14 coming in sneaky-productive third quarter. Kevin Love had 24 points and eight boards. Nikola Pekovic was one rebound away from a double-double.
But this night, in my opinion, belonged to Andrei Kirilenko. In patented fashion, Kirilenko had 13 points, seven boards, five assists, two steals and a block. Oh, and he played shut-down defense on Maccabi Haifa's best player, Donta Smith. Smith scored eight points just a few days after scoring 28 against Golden State.
I'm not exactly breaking new ground here, but if Kirilenko can stay healthy, he is going to do a lot of very good things for the Wolves.
After the game, everybody was praising his effort.
Adelman: "At the start of the game he had the first three rebounds. Sometimes he gets too overly aggressive, but he is always in the right spot. He just brings an energy we really need."
Love: "He is going to (affect the action) in every single piece of the game."
Roy: "It's good to have him on the floor. I think just offensively keeping the ball moving, but defensively he gets his hands on a lot of basketballs. He does a really good job of moving without the basketball. He is the guy we have to make sure we keep healthy and keep on the floor."
Kirilenko's passing ability from the forward position adds an element to the Wolves offense. He will take the other team's top player on defense on most nights. He is going to make it harder for Love to pile up those huge rebound totals.
And, for Kirilenko, it's just business as usual.
"You have seen me play for 10 years," Kirilenko said. "It's always been my game. I bring a lot of hustle to the floor on defense and offense. I like to get everyone together and get everybody going. It's a new system for me and I'm still learning. It's a long season and we are going to learn and get better. It's inevitable."
That's about all for tonight. Jerry will be back at Wolves practice tomorrow.