I figured I would follow up with my first game review with an encore. This was certainly a tale of two halves as the wolves scored 49 points while only allowing 31 in the first half then managed to score 40 points while giving up 60 points in the second half. That's right, the wolves gave up 60 points in two 10 minute quarters. In the first half, the offense looked smooth and the team displayed great ball movement consistently finding the open man for a shot. The team also managed to shoot lights out from three because many of the shots were relatively open. In the second half, the offense got stale and the team resorted to playing one on one with the Suns. Needless to say, this ended with a lot of turnovers and poor shot selection. One thing that I definitely noticed was the fact that the whistle probably blew every 15 seconds or so as the refs seemed hellbent on calling every shuffle of the feet or slap on the wrist. The game ended with a combined 67 fouls and 39 turnovers (many of the traveling variety). Maybe the refs got a message saying they should call games extremely close to send a message to rookies but it really messed with the flow of the game for both teams. On to some player-specific observations:
- Shabazz Muhammad stated off the game really well as he was really working well without the ball in his hands to get open. He was also looking to find teammates when he had the ball in his hands and not just looking for his own shot. This quickly gave way to bad Shabazz as he was quick to chuck up a shot whenever he touched it as if the ball would never come his way again. He needs to continue to work within the offense and not against it by moving without the ball to get open and passing to teammates to create better ball movement and spacing; the shots will come. Additionally, until the last few minutes, nearly every shot he took was a jump shot. He is much more effective when he posts up a smaller defender or when he exploits lanes to the rim to get to the line. He also missed a number of crucial free throw going 1-5 from the line (the difference in this game). Some good things though were that he showed some defensive chops shadowing his guys pretty well and caused some bad shots. Additionally, even though they don't show up the box score, he had at least 3 or 4 assists that were negated because of fouls or that led to the shooter going to the line. It at least showed promise that he can be a willing passer.
- Lorenzo Brown did not do much from a scoring perspective scoring 7 points on 2-7 shooting but once again looked comfortable with the ball in his hands. He made a couple of really nice passes and showed that he can use his length to guard other point guards. His shot however does not look fluid and his release point is too low (see Ricky Rubio). He will need to correct this in order to use his size to get his shot off against taller defenders. Finally, Brown has a tendency to pick up his dribble which caused him to get into trouble a couple of times (however finished with only 2 turnovers).
- Dieng looked completely lost today and did not look like an NBA caliber player. Not only did he take a couple of ill-advised shots, but he turned the ball over 5 times and committed 4 fouls in 11 minutes of playing time. He recorded 1 rebound and no blocks. Dieng will have to be more careful with the ball and learn to avoid fouling when attempting to block shots (I believe he knows how to do this but just had a bad game).
- Chris Johnson did not have the offensive game that he had yesterday but showed a nice ability to pass the ball out of both the high and low post as he finished with 3 assists in just 20 minutes of action. He did not look for his shot much today but the guards were also not getting him the ball in the post. I want to see CJ just dominate one summer game to know that he has the ability to do so.
- Robbie Hummel was once again the best player on the floor for the Timberwolves. He scored 18 points on 6-8 shooting in just 25 minutes of play. He also led the team in rebounding with 7 (2 offensive). His jump shot from 2 and 3 just looks so smooth when he releases. He will never be a guy that should be relied upon to get his own shot but for someone that can hit open jumpers, he is one of the best I have seen in the summer league. The only negative was that he struggled when guarding larger 3s or 4s like the Morris twins who were able to out-muscle him in the post. He appears to be more of a natural 3 although Flip says he liked him better at the 4 (not quite sure who he expects him to defend). If I am coaching the wolves, I would find a way to get him on the team even if it means letting Brown play in the D league for a while. He just does so many things and is such a smart player that he can be counted on in an NBA game.
- The Morris Twins looked phenomenal and should really be done playing in the summer league games as they are both a couple of years into the league and regular contributors on their team. I could not always tell which was which but they combined for 40 points on 12-21 shooting and 10 rebounds. Other than that, no one really impressed me on the Suns team. While Kendall Marshall ended with a nice stat line (12 points on 3-6 shooting and 6 assists) he just did not pass the eyeball test as given his reputation as a poor shooter, i don't expect him to go 3-5 from three on a regular basis, but maybe I am wrong.