The Timberwolves rewarded their fans with an unlikely comeback tonight. Down by 11 with 2:21 to go, a victory seemed unlikey, to say the least. How did they do it? Namely by scoring the last 12 points of the game, thanks mainly to our budding superstar, Kevin Love.
That draft night swap with the Grizzlies is looking better and better. Thank you, Mr. McHale.
2:21 Wolves take the ball out after former Wolves reject Beno Udrih drilled a shot to put his team up by 11. Malcolm Lee, the latest UCLA import and resident SOD, dribbled confidently back and forth across the perimeter, until his teammates had sufficiently spaced the floor, leaving KLove one on one in the low block with Drew Gooden, who was helpless as Love easily backed him down and banked in a 5 footer to bring the Wolves within 9.
Score 84-75 with 1:59 to go.
On the ensuing possession, Udrih caught the pass and launched a hurried, 20 foot shot with 6 ticks left on the shot clock. He clanks the shot and KLove is there to fight for the rebound with Leuer, who was no match for the reigning rebound champ.
On the other end, Leuer helps with double teaming Beasley, who finds a wide open KLove for an open attempt at a 3. Leuer then rushes at KLove, who promptly dekes the rookie into fouling him behind the line. Result? 3 KLove free throws, and he calmly nails all 3.
Score 84-78 1:25 to go.
Gooden then forces an off balance half jump shot while surrounded by Beasley and KLove and with two ticks left on the shot clock. Result? Draws nothing but rim and Beasley scoops up the rebound.
Beasley brings the ball up the court, and with 56 seconds to go, KLove and Gooden fight for position down low, with Gooden drawing a foul. Wolves are in the bonus and KLove calmly sinks 2 more free throws.
Score 84-80 with 56.2 seconds left.
Leuer then hoists another jumper from the free throw line with 5 ticks left on the shot clock. The result is all too predictable. Another clanker that KLove corrals with ease. With the score still 84-80, there is only 35.6 seconds left to make some magic happen.
Love quickly brings the ball up the court like a 6-9 point guard. He can't find a shot, so he passes to Ridnour, who quickly clanks a shot instead of giving it back to our best player. KLove is forced to foul and it doesn't look good for our heros. Bucks were not in the bonus. Somehow, the Bucks treated the inbound pass like a hot potato, and Ridnour redeemed himself by stealing the ball.
With 18.7 seconds left, he finds a streaking KLove wide open at the 3 point line, and KLove, with ice in his veins, buries it.
Score 84-83 with 16.3 seconds left.
This is a perfect time for the Bucks to call a time out, regroup, and set up for the final play, which likely would have meant the Wolves being forced to foul to get the ball back for a final shot. Instead of calling a timeout, the Bucks panicked. A hurried inbounds pass was underthrown to midcourt and easily intercepted by Luke, who passed to Beasley. Beasley then calmly drove all the way to the rim for an easy bucket, but somehow missed.
No matter. He promptly took a gift blocking foul by Larry Sanders, the same goat who threw the errant inbounds pass that was stolen moments earlier.
B-easy calmly sank 2 free throws.
Score 85-84 with 9.1 seconds left, and the comeback was complete. All that was left was for Leuer, the rookie, to miss the final shot at the horn and your puppies had effectively stolen a game right out from under their noses. It helped that the Bucks shot 39% from the line, while the puppies made 81% from the charity stripe.
All in all, a fun game to watch, at the end at least. Was it meaningless? Sure. But at least we have a better idea who the closer on this team should be. And his name starts with a K, and it ends in Love.