Tonight, the Wolves came back from a double digit deficit to beat the NBA's last-place Milwaukee Bucks 112-101. Kevin Martin had a great night shooting the ball, going 9-18 for 26 points on the night. Kevin Love shook off some early shooting woes to finish with 27 points, 10 boards and 6 assists.
Numbers-wise, everything seemed relatively normal, but to me, things just felt off.
The first quarter was weird. Early on, it wasn't the Bucks looking like the team in the process of tanking. In fact, they made their first 12 shots, including a 5/5 start from Brandon Knight. Minnesota eventually got on pace and got the game within 5 points to end it, but the numbers were not in the Wolves favor early, as the Bucks outshot the Wolves 71 percent to 44 percent.
"I thought they [the Bucks] were going to break some sort of record," Rick Adelman joked.
Also, Corey Brewer missed on a breakaway dunk in that opening quarter. More than anything, I was surprised at how surprised I was at that miss, and for that, I'll add it to the weird pile.
Here's the play if you missed it:
The second quarter was weird. With Kevin Love struggling to hit shots early, it was J.J. Barea, who has struggled in numerous stretches this season, who stepped up and took control when the team needed it most. In an extremely rare case, Kevin Love's plus/minus was in the the negative, with Barea's sky high (relative to the season he's had, anyway) in the game's first 24 minutes. Despite J.J.'s solid play, the Wolves were still down by 6 going into halftime, and would need a lift from their star player to get over the hump.
The third quarter was weird. Kevin Love, certainly not known for his shot blocking, had 2 at-the-rim stuffs (including a dunk), and Milwaukee's starting center, Zaza Pachulia, had 10 assists upon the conclusion of the quarter. During this stretch of weird, the Wolves won the quarter by 8, giving the Wolves the lead heading into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter is when the strange finally started to fade, and when Kevin Love was back to hitting shot the way he's used to. Also, Nikola Pekovic (who was in foul trouble for the entire game) was hitting shots inside with a good level of consistency. The Wolves were able to pull away and get back over .500 on the year with the victory.
At this point in the season, against a team with the worst record in the league, who is also deal with injuries, weird is to be expected from time to time. Heck, it's been a weird season, why not a strange game while we're at it?
Their next matchup will be Friday night in Charlotte, as they face off against the Bobcats at 6pm.