The first quarter was by far the ugliest of the night, with the two teams totaling out at 15 combined turnovers in the games first 12 minutes. During the game, I said that it felt like a preseason game in that quarter. I also heard someone say it felt like "one of those kid's rec games where they don't keep score". Both were fairly on-point.
Ricky Rubio took an elbow to the face in that opening quarter (called for a blocking foul on the play), forcing him to come out of the game for the remainder of the 1st. He was treated with 15 stitches and didn't re-enter the game until midway through the 2nd quarter.
Things started feeling more like NBA basketball as the 2nd quarter got going, but it wasn't until the 3rd before we saw the Wolves make their move for a big lead, going into the final quarter with a 75-61 lead. They played well enough to keep a steady lead for the duration of the final quarter, en route to one of the easier wins the Wolves have had in a while.
"The first half, they had a lot of cross matchups. They put different people on our guys. We didn't do a good job of taking the guy that was on us or talking or communicating," Rick Adelman said following the game. "Second half, I thought we did a much better job of recognizing that. It's an obvious area that people look at and our transition defense."
Gorgui Dieng, yet again, played like anything but a timid rookie getting his first stints of long-term action. He finished with 15 points, 15 boards, and a block (though I think he had another that was waved off and called a foul) to round out his 5th double double in his last 6 games. Kevin Love finished with just 14 points, but took just 9 shots in the process.
"I think more you play, you get a better feel of where your position or where the ball is going, or how you're going to be on the weak side," Dieng said in the locker room. "You can't just pick that up just by watching the game. You have to practice and play the game so you can have a better feeling."
This Hawks team, while clearly dealing with an injury-ridden roster, did not play like a team fighting for their playoff lives. Nobody scored more than 15 for the Hawks (Mike Scott), and they shot just percent collectively. Neither team came out with too much energy, but the Hawks never turned it on, and it resulted in a 20+ point loss.
A few final notes:
- Read the A Wolf Among Wolves recap for tonight's game. It may not be until the morning, may have some game recap action, but will (hopefully) mainly have a good recap of a hilarious Twitter exchange that started with this:
- Ricky Rubio must have read that article about steals. He finished with 6 tonight, to go along with 10 assists. Many of those assists came in that stretch that gave them the big lead late in the game, putting it out of reach for Atlanta.
- Kevin Love's first score of the game came from a nice spin move towards the baseline for an easy bucket. Gorgui Dieng pulled the same move later in the game. It was nice to see some solid play in the post with a Pek-less lineup.
- The Wolves will remain at home and get back to game action on Friday when the Lakers come to town. It'll be at 7pm and broadcast on FS North.
If you dress for the job you want, @Twolves_PR is looking to manage a nightclub in Miami in 1989.— Steve McPherson (@steventurous) March 27, 2014