Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.
A while after Sunday's game was over Wolves guard Ricky Rubio was sharing his admiration of the Chicago Bulls. Sunday the Bulls came to Target Center and, without the services of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Rip Hamilton -- beat the stuffing out of the Wolves.
And by that I mean physically beat up a Wolves team slowly returning to full health.
"I mean, they could complain about the guys they have hurt," Rubio said. "They don't do that. They play aggressive. We have to learn from that. If they can do that, we can do that, too.''
True enough. The Wolves got beaten on the boards and beaten to the punch. They spent more time complaining about calls to the officials than playing defense. Or at least that's the way it seemed. Minnesota finally came to play in the second half, but the Bulls never really relinquished control of the game.
Here are some more observations from tonight's game:
--Against the physical Bulls, both Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko struggled. AK had just four points in nearly 26 minutes with just three rebounds. Pekovic ended up with 15 points, but he didn't get going until late.
--Derrick Williams ended up tying his career high with 28 points, and he did it on 11 for 18 shooting. Of those, 23 points came in the second half.
--Rubio was one fellow who played with intensity from start to finish.
That's about all for now. Jerry will be covering practice tomorrow. I'll be at Tuesday's game in Detroit..
After the game, Wolves forward Andrei Kirilenko was saying he felt about 60 percent after having played his first game in the month of March. Nikola Pekovic? He looked and sounded tired.
But both came up big Sunday. Pekovic had a key offensive rebound and two free throws and Kirilenko had two blocks in the closing seconds to seal the Wolves' win in a disjointed game in which neither team ever felt in control.
It was the Wolves' first win in a one-possession game since Dec. 12. Here are some reactions to the game:
--Derrick Williams continues to play with more and more confidence. After scoring a career-high 28 points he talked about how he's finally getting his confidence back 100 percent. He was good all night, finishing with an 8-point fourth quarter. His fade-away jumper from the baseline with 2:53 left was very impressive, cutting a three-point Hornets lead to one.
--Ricky Rubio was very efficient from the field, hitting seven of 11 shots -- including his only three-point attempt -- while scoring 16 points. Rubio is 26-for-55 (47.3 percent) from the field in his last four games.
--More on Williams: He has scored in double figures 13 straight games (a career-long stretch), and he got his seventh 20-point game of the season. It was his 14th game with two or more three-pointers. He has averaged 17.4 points and 8 rebounds his last 19 games.
That's about it for now. Jerry will be at tomorrow's game in Memph
OK, let's get this out of the way. Yes, the San Antonio Spurs were shorthanded tonight. But the Wolves have been dealing with injuries all season, so let's not let injuries to Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard dampen what was a very enjoyable game to watch.
Ricky Rubio got the first triple-double of his NBA career tonight. But what was most impressive was that so many teammates matched his intensity. For example:
--Alexey Shved, mired in a long slump, broke out in a big way. He scored 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting (he hit three of his four three-pointers). He also had seven assists.
--J.J. Barea hit on five of seven three-pointers on the way to 17 points, to go with five assists. Barea and Shved were the cornerstones of the Wolves 29-10 third quarter in which the bench scored 24 of the points.
--Chris Johnson came off the bench to get six points, six rebounds and six blocked shots -- five in the second quarter.
--Luke Ridnour hit both of his three pointers on the way to 14 points.
But the night belong to Rubio, who played with his usual intensity from start to finish; he was finally taken out of the game after diving out of bounds for a loose ball.
It was his first triple-double as a pro. But he had three before while playing as a 16-year-old for Spain in the U16 European Championships in 2006, including that famous game against Russia when he scored 51 points with 24 rebounds and 12 assists.
It was Rubio's fourth game this season with at least 10 assists and eight rebounds. And he became just the third player this season (Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo are the others) to have 12 assists and 13 rebounds in the same game. It was Rubio's 10th game with 10 or more assists.
That's about all for tonight. Jerry will be at tomorrow's game in Indy.
At halftime of the Wolves' game with Dallas Sunday at Target Center a fan won himself $1,000 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets by making a three-point shot.
Perhaps the Wolves should have signed him to a 10-day contract on the spot.
Because the team's bad shooting continued in a one-sided loss to the Mavericks. The Wolves shot 36.4 percent overall -- the fourth time in seven games the Wolves have been under 40 percent -- and made just two of 18 three-point attempts.
It broke down like this:
Mickael Gelabale was 0-for-2
Derrick Williams was 0-for-2
Luke Ridnour was 1-for-3
Ricky Rubio was 1-for-4
J.J. Barea was 0-for-3
and Alexey Shved was 0-for-4.
Afterward coach Rick Adelman said the team will have to look at the team's shooting woes as it looks forward to next season. This isn't all about the injuries, either. The Wolves weren't hitting three-pointers when Kevin Love was playing, either.
Here are some other thoughts after Sunday's game:
--What has happened to Shved? He was 0-for-7 tonight. He is 9-for-43 in his last six games, 2-for-20 on three-pointers.
--Gelebale and center Greg Stiemsma were the only two Wolves players to shoot 50 percent or better; Stiemsma was two rebounds away from a double-double and Gelabale scored 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting.
--It continues to be painful to watch Derrick Williams finish around the rim. He is far more dangerous from 15 feet away from the basket than he is three feet away.
--Vince Carter turned the clock back a little Sunday. He scored a game-high 22 points off the Dallas bench, hitting eight of 15 shots and four of five three-pointers.
--Rubio's five assists was his lowest total in 12 games, thanks mainly to poor shooting by his teammates.
That's about it for now. I'll get back to you after Tuesday's morning shoot.
The Wolves have been playing without Kevin Love for a long time. But rarely has his absence been felt so painfully as it was Sunday, when the Golden State Warriors used offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter to lead them to victory over the Wolves.
The Wolves were out-rebounded 48-41 overall, 18-11 in the fourth quarter. Of those 18 Warriors rebounds, six were on the offensive end, including a key rebound of a missed free throw by Draymond Green in the closing moments.
Golden State out-scored the Wolves 10-3 on second-chance points in the fourth quarter.
Here are some other thoughts from today’s 100-99 Wolves loss:
--Derrick Williams continues to flourish. He was very aggressive, especially early. He had 23 points on 9-for-15 shooting, 12 rebounds and a block. But Williams allowed himself to get pushed out of the way by Green late in the game. Green grabbed the rebound of a missed Warriors free throw attempt.
--After the game, even guard J.J. Barea admitted it. The Wolves bench has to be better. Sunday Barea and Alexey Shved were both 2-for-7 shooting. Shved had two turnovers, Barea three. The Wolves four-man bench combined to score 11 points.
--Nikola Pekovic has scored 48 points with 26 rebounds in his last two home games. His performance Sunday was a nice bounce-back from a difficult game in Oklahoma City.
--Sunday marked the first time that Mickael Gelabale hasn't played since he joined the team.
That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you after Monday’s practice.
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