The Timberwolves lost a game tonight to the visiting Houston Rockets 107-89. Houston controlled the action for most if not quite all of the contest with the exception of a brief cold streak in the third quarter that gave Wolves’ fans hope for a comeback win to keep their faint playoff hopes alive. As Tim is already writing a site recap for this one I’ll just be lazy and kick out a report card.
AJ Price and Shabazz Muhammad: INC 1:44 in garbage time isn’t fair to judge anyone on. It was impressive that Bazz took no shots in that time though
Gorgui Dieng: D. Played a shade under 11 minutes and didn’t make an impact besides being whistled for two fouls. A tight officiating crew could have easily fouled him out in way less time than he played as he was all over Howard when they were matched up. No boards in a game where the Wolves could have used the help and no blocks either. Its one game and its one game against the leagues most physically dominant big since Shaq but Gorgui looked overmatched.
JJ Barea: F. A classic Bad JJ game. I think most of the attempts to blame Adelman’s coaching for the Wolves bad luck this season are pretty off-base but the PG situation drives me a little nutty. I get that sometimes Rick feels he has to pull Ricky from the game for errors, rest and teaching moments. I don’t understand however why Barea is given free reign to not run the offense (calling for a DC screen on ever possession isn’t what Pete Carrill wanted) but Ricky gets so few opportunities to free lance. On a day like tonight where the Wolves only possible candidate as a dynamic scoring threat is Kevin Love why not just run pick and rolls with he and Ricky to the wheels fall off? Focus: if you are playing PG you should rarely shoot nine times in 17 minutes. And you should never jack up that many shots if you are struggling to make those shots.
Dante Cunningham: C- Had a pretty Dante game. Was active and played good D at times. Struggled a little with his shot. When he was matched up against Dwight for a little bit he was hopelessly overmatched. Again, Dwight Howard.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute: A-. Shot the ball very well and had a couple of nice, for lack of a better word, "drives" to the rim. Played excellent defense on and away from the ball. There were a couple of rebounds that went to the Rockets that he probably could have had if he were willing to leave the phone booth to go get them. All in all a very good game and one aside from the hot shooting that is more reminiscent of his time with the Bucks.
Alexey Shved: C+- Had a great exciting shift in the first half punctuated by a impressive drive to the rim and yoke. His second half was dreadfulincluding back to back WTF TOs that led to easy transition buckets. Consistently inconsistent. I worried about his shot selection even during his brief hot stretch as a rookie. His shot selection is as bad, if not worse this year and now it comes with even more jump passes. Man, the jump passes. Not sure any Wolves player in the post KG era has done anything that indisputably wrong with such frequency.
Chase Budinger: C. Had a team worst -21 but that likely wasn’t on him. Tried to take on more of the scoring load but had (another) tough night from the field. A bad shot or two out of the 14 but none that were particularly cringeworthy. Was lost on defense on more than one occasion but helped on both sides of the floor on the glass.
Ricky Rubio: B-. Sometimes I feel like Ricky has his own curve. He is so poor shooting the ball that it is hard to decide what to make of a single game of really poor shooting. He was bad from the field today. Really bad. But he played pretty well otherwise. He lost Beverly a couple of times but all in all had a plus defensive game today
Rony Turiaf: B+ Did what was asked of him. He’s not a threat to score and he doesn’t dominate the offensive glass like Pek but he’s quite good defensively and he’s rebounded well this year. He took a couple of pork chops to the face today which had to hurt and was singularly responsible for four of six of Howard’s TOs. I used to like him as a fourth big at best but he’s really grown on me. Like DC a guy who as long as he’s on the cheap end of the salary scale I’ll have no problem ever having on the roster.
Brewer: C- Got a quick hook to start the second half and up until that point hadn’t done much. Was on the bench for most of the flurry of activity that made it close again in the third and then came back in in the fourth and played better. Corey’s not the team’s problem; but Corey starting and playing 32 minutes is illustrative of the many problems that have plagued this franchise since its inception
Love: C Not his best outing but its tough to criticize anyone for putting up 30 and 10 without another legitimate threat to score on the roster. Especially on a bum leg with a sore coccyx. Like the rest of the team he sure looks like he’ll welcome a break this weekend
Coach Porter: INC. Probably gave JJ too much lee way and didn’t run enough PnR with Ricky and Love when the starters were all out there. There were probably three separate times in the second half where the only thing that made sense was to call a time out and sit Shved down. But that’s around the edges. This Wolves team tonight could have been coached by Jim Boeheim and the Rockets could have had Kurt Rambis and the result still wouldn’t have been close. The Rockets are have a deep talented roster. They are DNP-CDing and leaving people like Brooks, Brewer and Greg Smith inactive.