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.
This was just like the good old days, Kevin Martin said.
Martin, the Wolves’ starting shooting guard, whose 12-point second quarter sparked the Wolves to victory Tuesday here in Auburn Hills, was talking about the first couple weeks of the season, when the Wolves were moving the ball, cutting hard off picks, scoring points.
“The whole team was in rhythm tonight,” Martin said. “We were sharing the ball. It’s been a while. We looked like the team we were in the first two and a half weeks of the season tonight.’’
On a night when Kevin Love, in his first game back since the death of his grandmother, stole the show, the rest of the Wolves did their part, too. Here are some thoughts on the game:
--All five starters scored in double figures tonight.
--Nikola Pekovic got the better of Andre Drummond tonight, in a big way, with 18 points and five rebounds.
--Martin, himself, had another strong game. He had 18 points, made all five of his free throws and had four steals.
--Five players had at least three assists tonight, one reason the team had 31 of them on 41 made field goals. And only 13 turnovers.
--Ricky Rubio had a very strong night. He scored 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting, hit one of two three-pointers, had nine assists and no turnovers. It was his first zero-turnover game of the season.
--The bench scored a relatively whopping 33 points, with J.J. Barea getting 10 points and six assists in 17:09 of playing time.
That’s about it. Have a good night. Jerry will be with the team tomorrow
Rick Adelman was upset after this loss. He was angry with his team’s lack of effort out of the gate. He was angry with the lack of defense as his team lost for a third straight time. He actually seemed a bit offended that, at home, a team could come out that flat.
And he said so. He talked about how the coaches can only talk so much, that the leaders on the team have to start policing things on their own.
So, I would imagine the Wolves will have a nice, lengthy practice on Friday, which will follow a long, less-than-fun review of the film of Wednesday’s 117-110 loss to the Nuggets at Target Center.
Here are some final thoughts on the game:
--Ricky Rubio continues to struggle. I don’t care that he actually hit some shots tonight (he was 6-for-12). A starting point guard on a quality NBA team can’t have seven turnovers.
--The Wolves continue to struggle with quick backcourts. Tonight Ty Lawson, Randy Foye (yes, Randy Foye) and Nate Robinson off the bench had their way with the Wolves.
--Eight different Nuggets players scored in double figures tonight. The Nuggets bench outscored Minnesota’s 47-10.
--The Wolves continued to struggle from long range, going 5-for-20 on three-pointers. Kevin Martin was 0-for-5, Love 3-for-9.
That’s about it for now. Have a great Thanksgiving and I’ll get back to you after the Wolves practice on Friday.
What an interesting game that was.
I don’t know how many of you remember the game played here between Boston and the Wolves in late March of 2012. Kevin Love had had a monster March. There was talk about whether he might eventually be the best forward named Kevin to play here. And then Garnett and the Celtics came to down, Garnett clearly out-played Love, and then did a little trash talking on the way out of town.
Two seasons later, Love got at least a measure of revenge. This time Garnett, now with a Brooklyn team that, already old, is riddled with injuries, got out-played by Love. And it was Garnett who lost his cool, throwing a forearm at Love early in the third quarter, got called for a flagrant foul and a technical foul, then watched the Wolves use that to kick-start a 16-0 run that put the game away.
Here are some thoughts on the game:
--The Nets’ plan tonight was to not let Love get the ball. They never left him, not on pick and rolls, never. As a result the Wolves played off Love much of the night, and all five starters scored in double figures. Love, who had a career-high 11 first-quarter rebounds, scored his first nine points on second-chance opportunities and finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds.
--Ricky Rubio got into early foul trouble, but rallied to score 12 points with eight assists.
--It was a fun night for the Wolves bench, which played the entire fourth quarter. It scored 35 points. In all, 11 players played and scored. Perhaps all that rest the starters got – Love (31:21) was the only player to play more than 30 minutes – will help them tomorrow in Houston.
--The Wolves played very good defense tonight, holding the Nets to 39.7 percent shooting and forcing 20 turnovers, which resulted in 22 points.
That’s about it for now. Jerry will pick up the team tomorrow in Houston. Have a great weekend.
And now, Kevin Martin said, we’ll find out what the Wolves are made of.
This is not necessarily a crucial part of the season. It’s too early, there are too many games left. But the Wolves’ poorly-played loss in Washington has now become a two-game losing streak. And the team’s upcoming schedule is scary, to say the least.
Friday the Wolves played hard, but looked tired. Especially Love who, frustrated with what he thought was excessive force on the part of the Clippers, struggled with his shot.
Here are some thoughts on the game:
--Love thought the Clippers got away with too much. But the Wolves did have a big edge, getting 31 free throws to the Clippers’ 16.
--Still, it was a tough game, with the Clippers getting called for two flagrant fouls.
--What a night by Chris Paul. He scored 16 of his 20 in the fourth quarter, personally keeping the Wolves at bay down the stretch, taking time to smile at the Wolves bench a few times while he did it.
--Martin was nearly as good as Paul. He got his first double-double since 2009, scored a game-high 28 points and scored 15 in the fourth quarter on 6-for-8 shooting.
--It has become pretty clear that teams, having done their homework, are not allowing Brewer to get that fast-break pass as much these days. But Love – who had five turnovers – keeps trying.
--Center Nikola Pekovic continued his strong recent play. He scored 20 points on 9-for-13 shooting. Over his last six games he has shot 44-for-64 (68.8 percent).
--There is still work to be done with the Wolves bench, which was out-scored 32-18 tonight.
That’s about it for now. Have a good night.
Further proof that the Wolves are becoming a good team can be found in Saturday’s victory over Boston.
The Wolves were clearly tired. Coach Rick Adelman put heavy minutes on his starters in Friday’s loss in Denver and the Wolves got back from Colorado very late. The Wolves were playing their fifth game in seven nights.
But they powered through. Good teams win games against inferior teams no matter the situation. And, tonight, the Wolves did just that.
Here are some thoughts on the game:
--And now they get to do it again. The Wolves have their first two-day break between games this season, and then they play another five games in a week. And this is a pretty tough stretch, with games against the Clippers, Brooklyn, Houston and Indiana in that stretch.
--Robbie Hummel continues to play himself into a rather significant role on this team. Adelman loves guys who know what they can do, do it, and don’t try to do anything else. Hummel can hit an open shot, hustle on defense and get some rebounds. And so he does. His eight points and five boards helped pick up Corey Brewer, who had an off night.
--And, as a consequence, the Wolves bench is suddenly more productive. Adelman has done a good job of sprinkling starters in among his reserves. As a result J.J. Barea (13 points tonight) has more room to operate. And Dante Cunningham (12 points tonight) is starting to learn his place in a deeper rotation.
--I find it fascinating to watch Kevin Martin, a pure scorer, and his ability to shake off a difficult spell and score when needed. Martin was only 6-for-18 tonight. But he scored 10 points in the decisive third quarter. And he has a whopping five steals this evening.
--All five starters had at least one steal tonight.
That’s about it for tonight. I’ll get back to you after Monday’s practice.
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