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.
Well, just when you think nothing interesting will happen, this happens.
What a night. And I have to tell you, a night like this couldn’t happen to a better person than Corey Brewer. He scored 51 points, the most in a non-overtime game in Wolves history. He had a career-high six steals. He was relentless. And we had to wait for more than an hour after the game ended to talk with him because he had to take a league-mandated drug test.
So I guess this game had it all. Here are some thoughts on a very enjoyable Friday night:
--On Brewer’s night, there were other heroes. Gorgui Dieng had 20 rebounds and 12 points, the final four of which came in the final 38 seconds, including the game-winner with 4.6 seconds left. And Dante Cunningham (20 points, 13 rebounds) had his first career 20-10 game. Ricky Rubio had 16 points and 10 assists.
--the Wolves were a perfect 15-for-15 on the break tonight, where they scored 39 points.
--It was a long night, thanks to the 76 free throws taken between the two teams.
--One other Brewer stat: He played just a few seconds shy of 45 minutes. And the Rockets’ James Harden – who scored an amazing 33 points on just 14 shots – played 46.
--The Wolves scored 112 points tonight, and only eight of them came from the bench.
That’s about all for now. Jerry will be with the team on its two-game road swing in California. Have a good weekend.
Well, things were going pretty well for the Wolves Wednesday. And then the second half happened.
In my opinion, the beat-up Wolves hit a wall tonight, with Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger, J.J. Barea and Shabazz Muhammad all out with injuries. The Wolves bench looked like an ad for Men’s Warehouse tonight.
Some other thoughts tonight:
--Alexey Shved, getting big minutes with Barea out, played very well in the first half, not so much in the second. Still, he tied a season high with five assists and scored nine points in 15-plus minutes.
--Kevin Love hyper extended his right elbow in the first quarter and he said it bothered him the rest of the way. I think there is at least a chance he doesn’t play Friday.
--Gorgui Dieng again struggled with his shot, but he had another nine points and eight rebounds. He also had three blocks.
--From the what-if department: RonnyTuriaf came off the bench to score 11 points with five rebounds in 16½ minutes of playing time. He brings the energy. Wonder what might have been had he stayed healthy all year.
--Kevin Love is treating his teammates to the Twins game tomorrow. Not a bad way to spend a day off.
The Wolves have won three out of four games, and each has been a quality win: Miami on the road and home wins against Memphis and San Antonio.
Ultimately, of course, it means nothing. The Wolves are only playing for pride and, perhaps, a winning record.
Here are some thoughts coming out of the game:
--The Gorgui Dieng story continues. He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well tonight (4-for-15), but Dieng was not in awe of Tim Duncan. He finished with his sixth double-double (12 points and 15 rebounds and got a block, too. He has been something of a marvel these last few weeks.
--Ricky Rubio continues to play strong down the stretch. We saw everything from him tonight. He looked for and hit pull-up jumpers. He drove to the basket. He showed us that emerging runner. He hit a left-handed hook in the lane. He hit a career-high 10 field goals on the way to 23 points.
--The Wolves out-rebounded the Spurts by 15 tonight. Four players had seven or more rebounds.
--I thought Robbie Hummel played wells starting for Kevin Martin tonight. He started slow but ended up with nine points and seven rebounds.
--Corey Brewer is in the middle of a hot stretch. He had 14 points and four steals. It was the eighth time with 10 or more points in his last 10 games.
That’s about all for now. Have a good rest of your night.
Greetings one final time from Target Center tonight.
Given that Atlanta had so much to play for, it’s odd that the Hawks came out with such a listless effort tonight. The Wolves, meanwhile, are all but out of it in the West, but they still came out with a very strong effort.
Here are some final notes on the game:
--This was the team’s 11th 20-point win of the season, a franchise record and a league high. And yet the team is still .500. Go figure.
--Gorgui Dieng was the talk of the locker room after the game after his fifth double-double in six starts. Even the normally reserved Rick Adelman was wowed, especially by Dieng’s sweet spin move along the baseline.
--Ricky Rubio took 15 stitches in the first half but still finished with 10 assists, his 23rd double-digit assist game of the season. He also had six steals, his third game with six or more. He has 174 now, just two away from passing Tyrone Corbin’s single-season franchise record of 175 set in the 1989-90 season.
--This was the Wolves fifth game this season in which they’ve scored 30 or more points off of turnovers.
--This was just the ninth time this season the Wolves have held an opponent under 40 percent shooting.
--This is the 19th time since the season started that the Wolves have been at .500.
That’s about all for tonight. I’ll get after you after tomorrow’s practice.
Greetings for a final time from Target Center, where the Wolves flickering playoff hopes might have been doused for the season.
A 14-3 run to start the fourth quarter erased a 10-point lead after three quarters. All together, the Suns out-scored the Wolves 34-17 in the final 12 minutes to win.
Here are some final thoughts:
--I know it has become a preoccupation for me, but I continue to wonder why the Wolves continue to fail at closing out on three-pointers. The Suns hit 12 of ‘em this afternoon.
--Again the Wolves bench failed. Adelman, looking for something, went with a lineup of Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea, Corey Brewer, Dante Cunningham and Shabazz Muhammad to start the fourth quarter. We all saw how that worked out.
--It was another wasted gem from Kevin Love, who scored 36 points with 14 rebounds and nine assists.
--It was interesting how short the Wolves bench has become. He played eight guys tonight. He didn’t get Chase Budinger, Robbie Hummel or Luc Mbah a Moute into the game.
--It was another relatively strong performance from Gorgui Dieng. He scored six points, had nine rebounds, a steal and a very nice give-and-go assist to Love.
That’s about it for now. Jerry will be with the team in Memphis tomorrow.
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