Greetings from Houston.
Youngblood here. I had the distinct privilege to cover tonight's game. It was something to watch.
You probably already know the numbers. That the victory, the Wolves' fifth on the road, matches their road win totals from each of the past two seasons. That the Wolves' 42 third-quarter points was the most in the third quarter in franchise history. That Michael Beasley's 34 points off the bench matched the franchise record for a Wolves reserve.
The way the Wolves performed in that quarter was really something. Beasley has had some big games for this team before. But I can't remember him being more efficient. Nothing he did tonight seemed forced. And, with a smaller man covering him, he attacked when he needed to, making a personal-best 12 free throws.
Here are some other thoughts post-game:
1. The clamor will now be for Beasley to be inserted into the starting lineup, especially with Wes Johnson struggling and the Wolves -- with the exception of tonight -- starting games slowly. I guess that should eventually happen, but he sure looks good leading the second unit. And, talking with him after the game, he insisted he is OK with a sixth-man role if it helps the team win. We'll see.
2. We should start a contest to guess when Rubio will get his first triple-double. It's going to happen. He came two rebounds short tonight.
3. The Wolves did a good job of using some zone defense to slow the Rockets' smaller lineup. Here's how Adelman described it: "Last time they used the pick and roll with one big guy and shooters all over the place," he said. "One thing they do really well is, when they drive and kick, the next guy can take it to the hole really well. And they have shooters. We were kind of ready for that. That's why we went zone. It took them out of the pick and roll."
4. The Wolves got some effective performances from a few guys not named Beasley, Love or Rubio. Luke Ridnour, who has struggled a bit of late, hit on five of 11 shots, scored 11 points and had five assists. Nikola Pekovic had eight points and seven rebounds. Martell Webster came off the bench to play some pretty good defense and score seven points with three boards and a steal.
5. It's going to get tougher and tougher for players to find minutes as the team gets healthy. Derrick Williams played a season-low 6:46. Anthony Tolliver played 5:31.
And it appears the Wolves could get J.J. Barea back soon, perhaps as early as the Indiana game Wednesday.
That's about it for tonight. Have a good tomorrow.