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.

Opportunity lost in 103-101 loss at Denver

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves postgame, Wolves news Updated: February 21, 2012 - 3:32 AM

Oh, what could have been Monday night in Denver.

The Wolves could have won their fourth straight.

They could have surpassed .500 for the second time this season.

They could have in just 33 games matched the 17 victories they won all season.

More than anything, they could have uttered the `P' word with some conviction.

Yes, that's right:


A victory would have brought them even with the depleted Nuggets, who are fighting Portland for what will be that eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

All that passed the Wolves by this time with their 103-101 overtime loss in which they led by 14 points in the second quarter, then lost Nikola Pekovic to a sprained ankle and were outhustled, outplayed, certainly outshot the rest of the way, all the way into their first overtime game of the season.

Yet they still could have, maybe should have and probably would have won if they hadn't shot 2 for 16 in the final seven-plus minutes (in the fourth quarter and into overtime), when Martell Webster missed an open three with 52 seconds left in overtime that would have broken a tied game or Luke Ridnour's open layup with 17 seconds left that would have tied the game.

Or if Webster had pulled up for a tying three in the final seconds after he stole the ball at one end and then went the length of the court and slammed it with 1.3 seconds left when the Wolves needed a three, not a two-point basket.

Afterward, he said he was aware of the score and clock and said he wanted to be "aggressive" by driving to the rim in an attempt either to draw a foul and a three-point play or score with enough time left so the Wolves could foul the Nuggets yet again and take their chances with Denver at the foul line.

The most revealing part of his postgame interview was when he said it could have been a "mental thing," implying his missing an open three earlier might have convinced him to pass up the shot and go to the hole.

Rick Adelman seemed mystified afterward, saying coaches had told players in the timeout right before Webster stole the ball that if the Wolves were to get the ball back, they needed a three, not two.

You'll find comments from both Adelman and Webster in the game story from tonight here.

Webster said "most people" probably would have pulled up and shot the three, and he said that's probably what he'd do again if given the chance.

When asked about Webster's decision, Kevin Love said, "He should have pulled up. We had talked about that. It's one of those things probably where he went mind blank for a second. We knew what we needed to do: Get a steal, pull up for a three. One of thoss things where he just messed up."

That, of course, wasn't why the Wolves lost.

There was no guarantee even if Webster had taken the three, that he would have made it, not on a night when the Wolves shot just 36.4 and went 6-for-27 from three-point range but 23 of 24 from the foul line.

The Wolves couldn't stop Nuggets reserve forward Al Harrington (31 points) anywhere but at the free-throw line, where he went 0-for-5 and allowed the Wolves to get to overtime.

And they couldn't contain Denver rookie Kenneth Faried on the board. He was the first Nuggets rookie since Carmelo Anthony in 2003-04 to get 14 in a game and he did Monday, when the Nuggets outrebounded the Wolves 57-50 with big Pek sitting after midway through the second quarter.

Pek stepped on somebody's foot in the first quarter but he said it felt OK as long as he kept playing. When he sat for a breather, it stiffened and grew sore on him and he watched the game from the locker room in the second half after doctors determined he hadn't hurt it more than just spraining it.

He said "it's not so bad" and walked out of the locker room after the game on it.

The test will be Tuesday, when he sees how sore and swollen it is.

When you're carrying 295 pounds, usually even a slightly sprained ankle is always something.

We'll see Wednesday, when the Wolves play Utah at home in their final game before the All-Star break after they take Tuesday off.

It's another chance now to get back to .500 and another game against a divisional foe who they're competing against in the race for the playoffs.

"What we keep talking about is the playoffs are always there," Adelman said. "We've got to go out and close the gap on teams ahead of us. If we can get a run, we're right there. You do have to talk about it. If you have a losing streak of any kind -- seems like everybody is going through that, it seems everybody has injuries or a bad schedule this year. We can't afford to do that.

"We can't get ourselves buried. I think they understand. That's (the playoffs) got to be the carrot that you're looking for when March ends and April begins."

Love said he hopes the team doesn't look back in April and say they wish they had won Monday's game.

One other thing: ESPN's Chris Broussard tonight reported the Lakers are intrigued by Michael Beasley and have explored talks with the Wolves about him for either a draft pick or cash. (I'm guessing that'd probably be a second rounder.) He says the Lakers think they can get Beasley to mature by putting him alongside Kobe Bryant in that winning culture.

It'sstarting to become obvious that Beasley's long-term future isn't here in Minnesota, isn't it? ( I know, I'm preaching to the proverbial choir, right?)

You can find Broussard's blog piece here.

That's it for Monday night from Denver.

If there's news Tuesday, I'll be back on the blog. Otherwise, I'll blog at you Wednesday from Target Center for that night's game against Al Jefferson and the Jazz.



Kansas City - LP: B. Finnegan 4 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 11
Detroit 8:30 AM
Buffalo 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 12:00 PM
Minnesota 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Miami 12:00 PM
Chicago 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 3:05 PM
Oakland 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Green Bay 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Buffalo 2 FINAL
San Jose 1
Boston 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
Montreal 3
New Jersey 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Dallas 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 7
Detroit 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Chicago 2 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Nashville 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Minnesota 7
Florida 1 FINAL(OT)
Arizona 2
Washington 3 FINAL
Calgary 1
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 14 FINAL
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 FINAL
(23) Marshall 35
Louisiana Tech 31 FINAL
Southern Miss 20
(1) Miss State 45 FINAL
Kentucky 31
Georgia Tech 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 28
(22) West Virginia 34 FINAL
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 27 FINAL
(10) TCU 82
Michigan 11 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 35
Boston College 23 FINAL
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 FINAL
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 14 FINAL
Missouri 24
Old Dominion 51 FINAL
Western Ky 66
Utah State 34
Temple 14 FINAL
UCF 34
(15) Arizona 59 FINAL
Washington St 37
Texas-El Paso 34 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 0
Wyoming 31 FINAL
Colorado State 45
Syracuse 6 FINAL
(21) Clemson 16
Texas State 22 FINAL
ULM 18
(3) Ole Miss 7 FINAL
(24) LSU 10
(4) Alabama 34 FINAL
Tennessee 20
So Carolina 35 FINAL
(5) Auburn 42
(13) Ohio State 31 FINAL
Penn State 24
(20) USC 21 FINAL
(19) Utah 24
(14) Arizona State 24 FINAL
Washington 10
Nevada 26 FINAL
Hawaii 18
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 0 FINAL
New England 1
Portland 2 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Colorado 0 FINAL
Vancouver FC 1
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 24 FINAL
Toronto 26
Brt Columbia 28 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
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