Postgame: Back on the winning track
- Blog Post by: Kent Youngblood
- February 15, 2012 - 10:53 PM
The Wolves needed this one.
And not just because they entered Wednesday's game with Charlotte at Target Center on a four-game losing streak. They needed it because the Bobcats were a very beatable team, and the Wolves schedule coming up is filled with teams that are anything but.
Greetings. Kent Youngblood here for the final time today.
The Wolves will practice Thursday, then head to Houston to play Friday. That will begin a tough stretch for the Wolves that includes games against the Rockets, Philadelphia, Denver and Utah heading into the All Star break, and then the Clippers and Lakers coming out of it.
But back to the game. Yes, I know that any positivity should be tempered with the reality that this was the hapless Bobcats. Still, what happened Wednesday offered further proof -- at least to me -- just how much better coached the Wolves are this year compared to the past two seasons.
The Wolves haven't been able to practice much lately, given the compressed schedule. Coach Rick Adelman has had the team focusing on the pick and roll, which had been fairly successful. But, especially during the four-game losing streak, it had become clear that teams were defending the Wolves better and better. Opponents had basically figured out how to slow the Wolves down.
I believe that's a huge reason why turnovers had skyrocketed in recent games.
So, during Tuesday's practice, Adelman and his staff tweaked things. They worked on getting into pick and rolls out of motion after moving the ball from side to side. They talked about running multiple pick and rolls on a possession until the open shot presented itself.
The result was a season-high 26 assists with just 13 turnovers. Guards J.J. Barea, Luke Ridnour and Ricky Rubio combined to get 20 assists and just four turnovers.
The ball was moving like crazy. Five players had multiple assists in the game. And the Wolves were able to hit 50.6 percent of their shots as a result.
Other impressions from the game:
--Martell Webster showed a little more jump tonight, playing some good defense and moving the ball well.
--Am I the only one intrigued that Adelman didn't play Michael Beasley or Derrick Williams in the second half?
--After shooing 9-for-35 in his last four games, Ridnour hit on five of eight shots for 10 points with five assists. His being able to make shots is huge.
--After committing seven turnovers in his last game, Barea had a team-high eight assists and no turnovers. He also hit two of three three-pointers.
--Nikola Pekovic continues to amaze, with his seventh double-double in 11 games. He abused Charlotte rookie Bismack Biyombo. If Pek was doing this in New York it would be Peksanity. Or something like that. Pek is averaging 17.1 points and 11.7 rebounds in nine February games.
--Love had his 26th double-double, and his 10th game with 30 or more points and 10 or more rebounds. No other player in the league has more than five.
--Rubio had four steals. It was his 17th game with three or more steals this season.
That's about it. Have a good night.
© 2014 Star Tribune