Tonight's Wolves win may have been their easiest victory all season. They were up by nearly 30+ by the end of the half and never let up, making quick work of the Lakers by a score of 143-107.
Not surprisingly, that is the highest point total in franchise history.
The start of the game featured a pair of surprising game time inclusions, when it was announced that both Nikola Pekovic and Steve Nash would suit up and get playing time.
Not only did Nikola Pekovic start the game for the Wolves, he got the Wolves started in the scoring column. In his first quarter back, he compiled a perfect 4-4 from the field (and 4-4 from the free throw line) for 12 points and a pair of rebounds in 8 minutes of action.
This set the tone for the Wolves, who had 41 1st quarter points against a team they scored 47 on in the opening quarter back in early November. There was a period where both Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic's respective scoring totals were beating the Lakers by themselves.
From there on out, the Wolves piled it on, and the Lakers never caught up. The Wolves' lead got as big as 41, backed by an offensive display from Love and Pek that never seemed to slow down.
Love finished with his second career triple double, notching it at the buzzer of the 3rd quarter, finishing with 22 points, 10 boards, and 10 assists on the evening. Not surprisingly, he did not have a chance to add to those numbers in the 4th.
"It's a good thing he got [that rebound]", Rick Adelman said after the game. "Because he wasn't getting it in the 4th."
Pekovic finished with 26 points on 9-10 shooting in just 22 minutes of play. He had no problem getting in position, and would either get fouled (8-8 from the FT line) or finish the play. He was sensational in his return by all accounts.
As well as the Wolves were shooting the ball, it didn't feel like a blowout win that they necessarily earned earned through stellar team play and well-executed offensive plays. The Lakers just didn't bring it, at all. Obviously, they're struggling with injury, as well as the heartbreak that comes with a loss to the Bucks.
Stil, there were fast breaks where the Lakers simply didn't look interested in trying to make a stop. There were misses where the Lakers showed no interest in crashing the boards, even if they had a good chance at getting position.
Credit certainly belongs to Love, Pek, Rubio, Martin, Dieng, and the rest of the Wolves who all played extremely well and put on an offensive onslaught, but let's just say they've worked harder for other blowout victories in the past.
A couple final notes:
- Gorgui Dieng just missed his 6th double double of the season (he has 5 in his last 7 games). He also compiled 5 fouls on the night, though at least a few of them seemed like fairly weak calls, bordering on the famed "rookie treatment" theory.
- Shabazz Muhammad didn't get in until garbage time, but he took advantage of his time, putting together 9 points in just 7 minutes, going 4-4 from the field in the process. He hit a three pointer, had some nice looks in the paint, and also had a fun alley-oop bucket that got the crowd going.
- Rick Adelman was happy after the game, and mentioned Pek's health. I lost the recording, but to paraphrase, Pek never asked the Wolves coach to come out of the game. With that said, the blowout victory gave Pekovic just 22 minutes of action, so both parties won in that regard.
- He also mentioned frustration with the team's record, considering the total point differential. He called it a "weird season", and sounded frustrated with where they're currently at.
- The Wolves are now headed to the East coast, where they'll take on KG and the Nets on Sunday at 5pm.