Rick Adelman put it pretty well:
"We were not good last year at home. We had our moments, but we were not consistent. If you're going to be a decent team you've got to win at home, and hopefully you break even on the road. Every time we come here, no matter what the schedule is, we have to take advantage of that."
Injuries were obviously a factor, but even so, Timberwolves finished last season 20-21 at home, tied for seventh worst in the NBA. After tonight's win, they're off to a 5-1 start at the Target Center with hopes to continue that success as the season presses on.
The Timberwolves had a big third quarter run on the Boston Celtics tonight, en route to a 106-88 at the Target Center. The victory puts the Wolves at 7-4, tying their second best start in Timberwolves history. The finished 8-3 in 1998-99, and 7-4 in 2000-01.
"They competed," Adelman said. "I'm glad to see us come up in the third quarter and open it up.
The Wolves led for the majority of the first half, with the exception of some rocky play in the opening minutes of the game. Love, Martin and Pekovic all reached double digits in the first half, despite only Pek managing to shoot over 50 percent between the three of them.
It looked like Minnesota was going to run away with it in the first half, but a late second quarter run by Boston brought it down to a 55-50 Wolves lead at intermission. That was the last substantial run Boston would have in the game.
The Wolves pulled away in the third quarter, winning it 34-20 (89-70 overall), and giving them enough of a cushion for the rough shooting they experienced in the fourth quarter. Boston's fourth quarter shooting was just as poor, resulting an a dull 18-17 score in the game's final 12 minutes.
Love and Pekovic finished with nearly identical stats on the evening. Love had a late three pointer to finish with 23 points and 12 rebounds (and 7 turnovers), while Pekovic ended the night with 20 and 12, 8 of them coming on the offensive end.
Pek was getting into great position to score all night, and has been slowly getting back to the guy he's been the last year and a half for the Wolves. He's starting finding himself within an offense where Kevin Love and Kevin Martin will often see the most shots.
"I know I've got the same role, but with the two Kevin's, they're going to get the majority of the shots, I'm just trying to find myself inside," he said in the locker room. "Try to be open, try to get in position where I can, and try to get offensive rebounds."
Kevin Martin didn't hit a three pointer until early in the second half, his only one of the game in seven tries. He had a rough night from the field, but still put points on the board by way of the free throw line. He finished the game with 20 points on 6/8 shooting, going 7/8 from the free throw line.
"It was just me coming back down to earth," he said. "I'm not going to be shooting the way I've been shooting all year and I'm going to go through stretches like that."
The other two starters, Ricky Rubio and Corey Brewer, had quiet nights. They shot a combined 3/13 from the field for 7 total points, though Rubio did have 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Brewer did not play particularly well on this back-to-back. He shot a combined 6/17 from the field for 15 total points, and has seemed less active on the fast break than he did to open the season.
With Rubio and Brewer struggling to find their shots, the Wolves bench was refreshingly active tonight, with Dante Cunningham and J.J. Barea getting into double digits, and Robbie Hummel coming close with 8 points of his own.
"I'm out there to play defense, rebound and hustle, and do the energy thing," Dante Cunningham, who shot 6/10 tonight, said following the game. "My offense is just going to come along regardless."
Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass were the only consistent source of offense for Boston all night. Bradley had 27 points on 12/23 shooting, while Bass had 15 points and 7 rebounds. Rookie Vitor Faverani stuffed the stat sheet in his own right, leaving the game with 9 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals and 4 blocks. He also hit a pair of three pointers in the second quarter during Boston's one big run in the game.
The Wolves finally get a couple nights off, and will get back to it on Tuesday in Washington when they face the 2-7 Washington Wizards at 6pm CST. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports North Plus.
Kevin Martin has an idea for their upcoming game.
"We are usually more focused after a loss," Martin joked. "Hopefully on Tuesday we can program into our minds that we lost tonight."