Greetings. With Jerry on the road, I got to cover my first regular season Wolves game in three seasons. And it was interesting.
Make this clear: A lot of what happened Friday in the Wolves victory was the Bucks simply not making shots. Having said that, the Wolves defense was better, both on the perimeter against the Bucks’ Brandon Jennings and on the interior. Especially impressive was how the Wolves beat a Bucks team with the reputation of working hard by such a wide margin on rebounds (62-39). It’s hard to win a ball game, especially on the road, when you are out-scored 26-9 on second-chance points.
The big men clogged up the middle. Just about everybody got help on defense when they needed it, at least after the first quarter.
Here are some other impressions after the Wolves’ first victory of the season, in no particular order:
1. Michael Beasley is looking more and more comfortable in coach Kurt Rambis’ offense. His shots – and six crucial fourth-quarter points – came very easily out of the offense on Friday. “Coach drew up a couple plays, drew ‘em my way, we executed and I just knocked down the shots,” he said. “We got a couple guys on this team that can do that. I like to think of myself as one of them.”
2. It never gets old watching Kevin Love work on the boards. On a night when he made just three of 13 shots, he still scored 17 points (11 from the line) and got 16 rebounds, five on the offensive end.
3. I think Wes Johnson will be very, very good. He played nearly 27 ½ minutes Friday, played very well on the defensive end, scored five of his 12 points – off the bench – in the fourth quarter and continues to look very smooth in everything he does. He does have to watch the turnovers (five) though.
4. The 1-2 punch of Luke Ridnour and Sebastian Telfair worked well Friday. They combined to give the Wolves 15 points, eight assists and three steals.
5. Corey Brewer still can’t get his shot going – he was 3-for-12 tonight – but he had a big contribution in the game. He had a couple key stretches at both ends of the court in the second and fourth quarter.
6. Darko Milicic, in his own words, couldn’t shoot the ball into the ocean Friday. He went 0-for-6. But he had five blocks – three in the fourth quarter – and changed many other shots to go with his nine rebounds. He was a big part of the Wolves fourth-quarter defense.
That’s about it for tonight. Jerry will pick the team up in Memphis. Have a good weekend.
More from Star Tribune
More From On the Wolves
The Lakers' unveiling of a Shaquille O'Neal statue outside Staples Center reminds one sportswriter of the day he turned pro so many years ago.
Not having played in an NBA game in nearly a month and still wearing a small brace on his mending right thumb, Omri Casspi said he was excited to be wearing a Wolves jersey.
The NBA officially announced Monday that the Timberwolves will play Golden State in preseason games in Shenzhen on Oct. 5 and Shanghai on Oct. 8.
Wolves are replacing injured Nemanja Bjelica with eight-year veteran Omri Casspi, who, like Bjelica, plays both forward positions and shoot the three.
Nemanja Bjelica's season ends just when he was playing and producing a lot, both in terms of minutes as well as rebounds and scoring off the bench.