Wolves Lose in OT to CSKA Moscow, 108-106

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolves opened their exhibition season tonight at Target Center with a loss to a team visiting from Moscow. Rick Adelman spread the minutes around and the reserve unit almost won the game in regulation before falling in OT.

Wolves coach Rick Adelman was noticeably upset tonight over Alexey Shved's foul on Milos Teodosic. It happened with just seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, and Teodosic's free throws tied the game up and sent the game into overtime. Overtime, preseason overtime specifically, may have bothered coach Adelman just as much.

The Timberwolves couldn't close it out tonight, losing in overtime to Euro powerhouse CSKA Moscow 108-106 in their Target Center preseason debut.

"I didn't like the way we were playing," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said following the game. "We didn't share the ball like we had been doing in practice. They tried to pressure us, body us and be physical with us, and if we're going to let them do that, we can't get into an offense."

The game's two stars were Minnesota's Derrick Williams, who put together 21 points and 9 rebounds in 30 minutes, and CSKA's Milos Teodosic, who finished the game with 26 points and 9 assists in 29 minutes.

Despite a few mistakes, Derrick Williams showed improvement tonight, especially mid-air. His finishing seemed to be at a higher level than a year ago, and for the most part, he was making smarter decisions with the basketball.

"I'm just trying to be more aggressive," he said. "Whenever I have the opportunity to score, we try to score. I think tonight I did a pretty good job of that."

CSKA Moscow is a very good team with NBA talent that goes pretty deep into their bench. This is the third time this team has taken out an NBA team in exhibition play, and they have been one of the dominant forces in European basketball in recent years.

Some of the Lynx players were in attendance tonight, and they took witness to a roller coaster of a first half for their male counterparts. The Wolves fell to a deficit of as much as 18, much due to the shooting of bench sharpshooter Milos Teodosic, who was picking and popping to perfection all evening.

Things changed partway through the second quarter, especially during the second stint with the starters in the game, part of which included Williams in at small forward over Brewer. High-low action between Love and Pekovic finally got going, and the rest of the offense came with it, as the Wolves narrowed the deficit to 3 at the half, CSKA leading 53-50.

The game stayed close throughout the second half, and came down to the wire in regulation. A missed free throw by Williams and a foul by Shved late were components that led to the overtime, as regulation was left at a 96-96 tie. CSKA Moscow was able to hold off Minnesota on a final possession where both Shved and Othyus Jeffers had chances to tie up the game.

Despite finishing the game shooting 5/15 from the field and a surprising 5/8 from the free throw line, the crowd seemed generally pleased with Kevin Martin's performance. Given the dearth of shooting guards that has plagued this franchise for years, it isn't surprising that a guy with a diverse offensive game seems like a breath of fresh air.

As for Minnesota's big 3, Kevin Love played well in his limited minutes, putting up 9 points, 7 boards and 5 assists (facilitate!) in 27 minutes of play. Ricky Rubio had 10 points and 3 assists, but also had trouble with forcing passes at certain points during the game. Nikola Pekovic had 9 points and 7 rebounds on 4-8 shooting, and was troubled early by CSKA's Kyle Hines, who showed a strong ability to defend in the post.

A few notes:

  • On an early technical free throw for Minnesota, Kevin Love took the shot over Kevin Martin. I'm not absolutely certain on this, but it looked like Martin and Love discussed it before the shoot and they both opted to have Love take the shot.
  • Noticeably in their first stint, the starting unit had trouble getting shots for Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic, who wound up with rather quiet stat lines. CSKA effectively swarmed the paint to negate Pekovic's post-ups. Love looked like he may have been working more on his passing then his scoring.
  • Which paid off with five assists for the big man, a couple of which were spectacular: A long outlet to a leaking Brewer for a fast break layup, and a beautiful touch bounce pass from the high post to a cutting Martin for another layup. Fun to watch.
  • The Wolves forced turnovers and controlled the defensive glass (only 3 offensive rebounds for CSKA), but they allowed CSKA to shoot over 50% from the field. Very similar to their problems last season.
  • Dante Cunningham sat due to flu-like symptoms, and J.J. Barea was not present due to personal reasons.
  • It was a very difficult game for Alexey Shved, who seemed plagued by the same problems he had last season when things were not going well. Poor shot selection and a tendency to force the action. He finished 2-12 from the floor.
  • Both Robbie Hummel and Othyus Jeffers impressed today. Hummel did all of his work in the first half, finishing 2-3 with 5 points. Jeffers had significantly more minutes (20 vs 6), and took advantage of the extra playing time, finishing 3-7 with 6 points and 5 rebounds. AJ Price also played well in the later minutes, going 5-7 with 14 points.
  • Rick Adelman did as promised and left his second unit in the game for the entire fourth quarter and overtime. That group was A,J. Price, Ronny Turiaf, Alexey Shved, Derrick Williams, and Othyus Jeffers.
  • There were two plays in the game where Derrick Williams missed putback attempts, going up with one hand instead of two. This clearly bothered Rick Adelman on the court, "Twice he tried to make the one handed slam, the hero play, just grab it with two hands, and put it in. We need the basket," he said following the game.
  • The Wolves shot poorly in all facets tonight, but especially from the free throw line, where they made just 21 of 36 attempts (61%).
  • Shabazz Muhammad got a 6 minute first half stint, and did not impress, missing a couple of shots and making several poor plays on the defensive end. He didn't get back in the game.
  • Gorgui Dieng and Chris Johnson did not play. Expect them to get minutes on Tuesday against Toronto.
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