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.
Before making his return for the first time in 35 games Kevin Martin was asked about his conditioning. He joked that, if he was making his shots, he wouldn’t feel tired.
Maybe that’s why he looked so good in the fourth quarter tonight, when he scored 12 of his 21 points, including a stretch when he helped put the Wolves in control for good by scoring nine straight.
For the first time in a while, at least for me, this was an interesting team to watch. I know I covered that win in in Indiana, when Mo went off. But that was all about one player going crazy. Tonight the ball moved, seven Wolves players scored in double figures and you started to get an idea how this team is going to attack people on offense when it’s finally completely healthy. Here are some thoughts on the game:
--Martin’s return did not take away from Andrew Wiggins’ opportunities. It only made some things easier for him. Especially in the fourth quarter when, after Martin had scored a bunch of points in a row, Wiggins was suddenly finding room to score six fourth-quarter points of his own.
--How about Lorenzo Brown. Signed to a 10-day contract today, with only a walk-through with the Wolves, he went out and played 24 minutes and scored 11 points. He played the point well enough that coach Flip Saunders left him on the floor for all 12 minutes in the fourth quarter. And this after Zach LaVine had been so good in the third. Flip loves those grinders who work their way up from the minor leagues.
--The 26-plus minutes Nikola Pekovic played tonight is a good number. It came after he had averaged about 33 minutes per game in his last two.
--Gorgui Dieng had a very, very strong night with his 12th double-double to go with three blocks and an assist. He had 14 rebounds to go with 16 points.
--LaVine had 17 points, six assists and three steals tonight. All in 24 minutes of playing time.
That’s about it for now. Have a good rest of your night.
Greetings for a final time from Target Center, where the Wolves just lost to Dallas 98-75.
It was an offensive clinic by the Mavericks, an offensive nightmare for the Wolves, who turned in season lows in both points and shooting percentage.After it was over coach Flip Saunders yet again talked about a lack of energy.
Here are some final thoughts on the game:
--Nikola Pekovic played very well in his first action after missing 31 games with a sore ankle. He hit on five of 11 shots for 14 points with four rebounds in about 23 minutes of playing time.
--It appears Mo Williams’ 52-point effort a while back might have taken its toll. He is 20-for-59 in the four games since that night. His last two games? He has 15 points on 5-for-25 shooting.
--Andrew Wiggins looked a little tired tonight, too. He finished with 18 points, but needed 17 shots to do it, and he started the game 1-for-7.
--Thad Young scored 10 points in the first quarter, just four the rest of the way. He did end up with a 14-points, 11-rebound double-double.
--Are we seeing Chase Budinger slowly fade into the sunset? He got just 7 minutes of playing time tonight, going 0-for-3. With the pending return of Kevin Martin, there might not be many minutes for him.
That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you after tomorrow’s practice. Have a good night.
Well that was interesting. I have now had the pleasure of covering two of the three games in franchise history in which a Wolves player has scored 50 points. I covered Corey Brewer’s 51 points. And now I got to watch the ridiculous 52-point game Mo Williams had this evening.
Williams said he joked with Pacers guard C.J. Watson during the game, telling him it didn't matter what the Pacers did. He was in a zone, he was, as he said, "throwing the ball in the Pacific tonight.''
Wolves coach Flip Saunders said it was the hottest he’d ever seen a player get in his 17 years in the league.
Thad Young said it was the best game he’d ever witnessed.
Mo scored 37 of his points in the second half, 21 in the fourth quarter. With just about every shot coming from the perimeter, Williams hit on 19 of 33 shots, hit six of 11 three-pointers and hit eight of nine free throws.
He also had seven assists.
He joins Brewer and Kevin Love in the Wolves’ 50-point club.
Here are some other thoughts from the game:
--Another strong outing for Gorgui Dieng, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds to go with six assists and two blocks. What a stat-stuffing night. He was standing tall against Pacers center Roy Hibbert, who was ejected from the game in the third quarter for pulling Dieng violently to the ground.
--Andrew Wiggins had a very strange 20-point night. Active early, he had six points in the first quarter. But then he went a stretch in which he was not aggressive. But he sure came through in the fourth, with a big put-back and two free throws among his nine fourth-quarter points.
--Thad Young had 11 points, six rebounds and four steals. But he didn’t get to the free throw line once.
--One big reason the Wolves won? The Pacers went 18-for-30 on free throws, 8-for-17 in the second half.
--The Wolves won despite getting just 14 points from the bench. But seven of those – all by Robbie Hummel – were huge. Because they all came in the fourth quarter.
That’s about it for now. Jerry will pick the team up in Phoenix.
Greetings for a final time from Target Center, where the Wolves’ losing streak reached 15, within three of tying the franchise record of 18.
This game was really never in question, given the efficient way the Spurs play and the continuing problems the Wolves have playing defense. The Spurs shot better than 52 percent through three quarters and were never really challenged after going on a 20-4 second-quarter run after the Wolves had pulled within four points.
Here are some final items from the game:
--Gorgui Dieng had his ninth double-double of the season. He is still making mistakes, but he continues to improve and he continues to be productive.
--A night after missing the game in Milwaukee with a sprained right ankle, Mo Williams managed to return, start, and play nearly 52 minutes. He was 2-for-10 from the field, and he never really looked completely healthy, but he gutted it out, picking up six assists.
--Andrew Wiggins’ streak of 20-point games ended at six games, with 18 points on 5-for-11 shooting.
--The Wolves did manage one GOOD record tonight. They made all 26 free throw attempts, setting a franchise record for most makes without a miss.
--The good news? The Wolves scored 50 points in the paint tonight. The bad news? They were 9-for-39 outside of the paint.
That’s about it for now. Have a good rest of your weekend.
Well, the 13th game wasn’t the charm tonight, as the Wolves fought hard but fell to the Phoenix, running their losing streak to 13 games.
Here are some final thoughts on the night:
--The killer play of the game came with 57.6 seconds left. The Wolves, down three, were coming out of a time out when Chase Budinger’s in-bounds pass was intercepted by Eric Bledsoe, who scored at the other end. It was a very bad finish to a rather strong game for Budinger off the bench.
--Mo Williams played very well tonight, but he turned his right ankle at the end of his 23-point, 11-assist game and might not be able to play Friday in Milwaukee. We’ll know more Thursday.
--Andrew Wiggins had a very strong game tonight. He hit on 10 of 16 shots and scored 25 points.
--Anthony Bennett came off the bench to score 14 points with 10 rebounds in 22-plus minutes of playing time. If he could only give that kind of energy every time……
--Shabazz Muhammad scored all 12 of his points in the third quarter.
--Starters Thad Young (6-for-18) and Gorgui Dieng (3-for-10) were a combined 9-for-28 tonight.
That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you after Thursday’s practice.
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