At the newly renamed Smoothie King Center, the Wolves and Pelicans faced off in less than ideal circumstances for our T-Pups. They were looking at their 3rd game (of 4 in 5 days and the first half of a back-to-back) against a team they dispatched last week in an ordinary fashion at home. Complicating matters, Kevin Love's return wasn't confirmed until late in the day.
At the start, Love was affected by his injuries and struggled to defend the lanky Davis in a back-and-forth 1st quarter. After picking up his 2nd foul in the 1st 8 minutes, he hit the bench. Martin and Brewer helped pick up the slack.
The traditional Adelman substitution pattern was on full display as the 2nd unit started the 2nd quarter and the Wolves held on to a 5 point half time lead. It was here where it seemed like the Wolves had this game under control as they exploited their trademark foul-drawing super-powers, while holding everyone except for Anthony Davis to meager offense returns. This continued throughout the 3rd quarter, with some good defense and solid offense play.
Despite being up by 10 points at the start, what happened next will not be surprising to many of us. The Pelicans started hitting shots, the Wolves missed many. The defense was scattered and allowed a lot of transition points and the 4th quarter collapse was complete.
After all that sturm and drang, I came out of the game feeling like if we'd just have hit a typical number of 3's we might have been okay. The Wolves were 4 of 18 from the three point line while the Pellies were 8 of 15.
The loss comes with a nice, long cross-country flight to Portland. Godspeed, Timberwolves.
Kevin Love (A-)
What more can we say about this guy? He was so good battling through his injuries yet again this game. At one point, he fell in the 3rd quarter while trying to score against the Steamer. He routinely used skilled head and ball fakes to get good position/shots and naturally drew a ton of fouls.
Ricky Rubio (B)
Encouragingly, I felt that Ricky played a solid game. After too much JJ, he tried to turn it on in the 4th, giving Love an encouraging "We got this" expression on an in-bounds pass. He followed by hitting a 3 and keeping the defense on their toes by driving to the rim and making a shot and picking up a foul At one point, Ricky single-handedly broke up a New Orleans 4 on 1 break. I would like Ricky to take more 3 point shots since the defense sags off him so much.
Kevin Martin (C+)
A largely average effort and I find he settles for those contested mid-range jumpers far too often.
Corey Brewer (B)
Not nearly as out-of-control as usual, Brewer had an efficient offensive game. I would take this Corey every game if I could.
Ronnie Turiaf (B)
He had 3 blocks in the 1st half and an emphatic dunk off a Rubio assist.
JJ "Best Chance to Win" Barea (D)
We got Bad JJ this game and once again he played too long in the 4th coinciding with a 6-17 run to start the quarter. He turned the ball over 4 times in 15 minutes and even Austin Rivers blocked his shot.
Dante Cunningham (B)
While he didn't get involved offensively, he was very active on defense and kept Davis out of sync in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. A lot of grit by Dante tonight and I really feel he has been playing so much better recently.
Chase Budinger (D)
Feel better, Chase.