Tonight the wolves did a lot right. They shot the ball at about 50%, made three point shots, played solid defense without fouling and crashed the boards with authority. Even with spotty free throw shooting this was enough to get the wolves, and their fan base, a much needed win.
The truth is that this Minnesota Timberwolves team will never be a lock down, Thibideauian defensive squad. They will not win games by shutting teams down, but I do believe they have the capability to be a good defensive team. Tonight they flexed there defensive muscles a bit more against the Dallas Mavericks. Clearly they didn't dominate defensively, Dallas scored 106 points, but they limited the defensive lapses that happen in previous games.
Another one of the wolves deficiencies of late (one that seems very surprising) was their rebounding efficiency. Being a team that hasn't shot the ball all that well, and having the rebounding duo of the "bruise brothers" Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic, you would think that the wolves team would have higher rebounding statistics as a team. So far that hasn't been the case at all. Tonight we saw a different team on the boards. Pek and Kevin were relentless and newcomer Luc Richard Mbah a Moute came down with 7 in 26 minutes.
The fact that Luc Richard Mbah a Moute recorded 26 minutes tonight is evidence of how much of Rick Adelman's focus tonight was on being more physical. Luc played alright for his first game as a wolf. He had a nice look out there with his length and effort. Get him on the court and he's going to hound opposing scorers and work on the glass. Tonight, he even showed some nice moves offensively. Nothing flashy of course but he looked good.
Of course the main reason the wolves one tonight was their shot making. They got out to a slow start but caught on at the end. All five starters scored in double figures and the big three scorers for the wolves (Pek and the Kevins) all scored over twenty points. This is an ideal offensive out put for an NBA team. If the starters can get close to this production on a nightly basis the wolves could be okay with having a lack of offensive fire power on the bench (thankfully however Chase Budinger is returning to help in that catagory as well).
Pekovic's play was definitely the alpha dog today. He took control early and made it difficult for Dallas. I was thrilled to finally see Pek put up one of his uber efficient games in the post.
Side note: it seems to me that Pekovic has seen way more touches of the ball outside of the low post. The Adelmanian offense gets the bigs on the elbow and in the high post and I think Pek has been trying to adapt to that a bit. Of course, it's good to see the wolves getting deeper into playing Adelmanian offense, sometimes the fans just want to see what works. Run the Pek and Roll and let him seal the crap out of dudes under the basket and get buckets!
Anyways ... It was a good win for the wolves... ahh fresh air...finally.
To me it looks like this team could take off at any moment. The team is getting their stuff together, and with health and bringing new addition Luc up to speed, look out western conference! The pack is on the run!