It wasn’t a pretty game. Lots of turnovers and missed shots. But the Wolves, for the first time since Thanksgiving, are a winning basketball team.
So it’s funny that, after it was over, nobody seemed too thrilled by having won. Everyone was already looking forward to Friday’s game against Memphis, which will be a tough test without Nikola Pekovic. But maybe that’s a good thing, a sign of a team becoming aware that bigger things are possible.
Here are some thoughts on the game:
--Against a New Orleans team forced to play small, Wolves coach Rick Adelman was able to use a small lineup that included Love at center and Dante Cunningham at power forward for most of the second half. Cunningham responded with a very strong game. He made six of seven shots, scored 12 points and had six rebounds.
--Ronnie Turiaf started in place of Pekovic. And while he didn’t score like he did in Chicago Monday, he still played some strong defense and pulled down eight rebounds. Still, without Pek, the Wolves found out very quickly how much more difficult things are going to be for Love in the halfcourt offense. Adelman talked after the game of figuring out different ways to utilize Love. We’ll see what he comes up with.
--JJ Bara had another nice night off the bench, with 10 points and six assists. Three players (Barea, Rubio and Love) had five or more assists tonight. Nobody on the Pelicans had more than three.
--After going 5-for-7 for 12 points in Chicago, Chase Budinger was 1-for-5 tonight for three points. Without Pekovic, the Wolves will need to get more out of Budinger going forward.
That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you after tomorrow’s practice.