This time the Wolves didn’t let an opponent get any confidence. This time they got up early, established a lead and built on it the rest of the way.
This time the Wolves won. Their 30-point victory over Phoenix at Target Center was Minnesota’s first in 10 games. That nine-game losing streak had worn on the players. So they were happy to bust out the miniature disco balls that had been hiding in the players lockers for so long.
“We’re around ‘em every day,” Wolves interim coach Sam Mitchell said. “The thing I give ‘em credit for is they don’t hang their heads or point fingers. They came to work every day and tried to become a better basketball team. You need some wins along the way to verify the hard work you’re putting in. This afternoon was just a good win for us.’’
Here are some thoughts on the game:
--Proof of the way the ball was moving? The Wolves scored 117 points on just 69 shots, had a slew of three-point play opportunities and got to the free throw line 40 times, making 32.
--Seven players scored in double figures and 12 players scored overall.
--What a day for the bench, which out-scored the Suns bench 61-27. Nemanja Bjelica, Zach LaVine and Gorgui Dieng were all a plus-20 today.
--This was the Wolves 16th victory by 30 or more points in team history, their first since March 28, 2014, when they beat the Lakers 143-107.
--Ricky Rubio’s 18 points were his most since scoring 28 on opening night.
--Minnesota’s 56.5 shooting percentage was the second-best of the season.
--Bjelica struggled with fouls again, but he started to show his playmaking ability late in this game. I think his confidence is rising. And I think Mitchell’s confidence in Bjelica is rising, too.
That’s about it for now. Stay warm.