Greetings for a final time from Target Center, where the Wolves just lost by 20.
I guess losing, again, is not surprising considering the Wolves’ injury situation; tonight coach Flip Saunders started his 27th different lineup of the season, a franchise record.
But, even so, this was a listless loss. The defense was again lacking, especially in the lane. I know all the big men are hurt. But giving up a 29-6 run from late in the second quarter into the third is hard to accept.
That said, there were a few memorable Wolves moments, all supplied by Andrew Wiggins, including his second-quarter dunk on Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
Here are some thoughts from the game:
--Chase Budinger, off the bench, was again impressive tonight. From start to finish no other Wolves player matched Budinger’s intensity, at either end of the floor. Budinger had 14 points and seven rebounds to go with two assists and a steal.
--Zach LaVine also had his moments. Yes, he struggled with his shot (7-for-19). But he scored 21 points with five rebounds and six assists. And, in more than 43 minutes played, LaVine only had two turnovers. That is progress.
--It was a tough night for Adreian Payne, easily his most difficult with the Wolves. He was 0-for-7 shooting, didn’t score a point and had just five rebounds in 32 minutes oa playing time. And he had four turnovers.
--The Wolves continue to get to the line, getting 27 free throw attempts tonight compared to 18 for Utah. Leading the way, again, was Wiggins, who was 7-for-9 on free throws.
--To give you an idea how dire the Wolves big man situation is, Budinger and Robbie Hummel came off the bench to lead the team with seven rebounds each.
That’s about it for now. Jerry will have the team Wednesday.