Greetings for a final time from Target Center.
I’m not a big one for moral victories, but this might meet the cut. The Wolves, hampered again by injury, started slow, but fought back and played a very entertaining game, staying in the contest in an ice-cold fourth quarter that saw them hit just one of 14 field goal attempts. That’s only happened three times in franchise history.
Afterward both coach Flip Saunders and Kevin Garnett praised the play of the young players on a night when rookies Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Adreian Payne all scored in double figures.
Here are some final thoughts on the game:
--The Wolves keep pushing LaVine to attack the basket, and he did more of that tonight. Part of that was being able to play the off-guard spot, and often being on the floor with Ricky Rubio. He really got out on the break tonight, had two impressive dunks and finished with 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting.
--It was a wonderful game for Rubio, who hit 5 of 11 shots, 11 of 12 free throws. He got his fourth career triple double with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. He has had at least a points-assist double-double in three straight games, the longest such streak in his career.
--Gary Neal’s 19 points was his best in a Wolves uniform.
--Two things on Gorgui Dieng: First, he keeps working very hard, and keeps racking up double-doubles. He had his 15th of the season tonight. But, second, he has a lot of muscle to add before he can bang with the likes of DeAndre Jordan.
--If I told someone who hadn’t watched the game that the Wolves had made just one fourth-quarter field goal, then asked them to guess who hit it do you think anyone would guess Chase Budinger?
--Garnett had 12 points, his first time in double figures since returning to the Wolves.
That’s about it for now. Have a great night.