We seem to have a pattern. Fall behind early, look terrifyingly like a D-League team, then somehow hang around for most of the game before losing. Today the start was particularly grim, as the Wolves turned the ball over five times before recording their first field goal. The first quarter ended 25-11 as only Adreian Payne, perhaps inspired by his Michigan State Spartans winning their Elite Eight game against Louisville, had the range. It was a particularly rough start for Andrew Wiggins, who struggled with some early turnovers and couldn't get a foothold in the game.
The Wolves welcomed back Robbie Hummel and Anthony Bennett from lengthy injury absences today, which meant goodbye to Sean Kilpatrick, whose 10 day contract was not renewed. Hummel played 18 minutes and looked like his smart but limited self, while AB missed all four of his shots though did have a couple of nice feeds to Wiggins in the 2nd quarter.
Getting those guys back is nice, but of course that required another injury, this time to Gorgui Dieng, who played only 9 minutes before going out and not returning.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Dieng has played just 9 minutes today because of a facial contusion</p>— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) <a href="https://twitter.com/JerryZgoda/status/582302555423825920">March 29, 2015</a></blockquote>
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We'll see if he misses any games. Dieng is one of two Wolves (Wiggins) who has appeared in every game this season.
The Wolves closed the gap to two points in the 2nd quarter, but were down 9 at halftime. The third quarter was a clear lesson in why Zach LaVine should play off the ball. He had a poor game for the most part, but had by far his best stint in the third quarter, when he scored 10 points, eight of them off filling the lane twice in transition, and another off a catch-and-shoot three that emerged thanks to a drive and kick by an actual point guard, Lorenzo Brown.
When he took the reins back as point guard in the 4th, things completely fell apart, and LaVine ended the game with six turnovers vs. 1 assist.
Wiggins, who has been playing insane minutes, looked early like he just had nothing today. He looked slow both physically and mentally early, but a couple of easy ones got his game going a little bit. He still struggled from the field (6-15), and committed five turnovers, but did get more aggressive as the game went along, and got to the line for 9 FTAs, finishing with 20 points and six boards.
Defensively the Wolves had no chance. The Pels shot 57% from the floor and 6-13 from three. Anthony Davis had just another day, going for 28 and nine, along with five assists. Omer Asik was too much inside for the Wolves, and the Pelicans finished with 60 points in the 2nd half.
The Wolves return to Minneapolis for a game against the Utah Jazz tomorrow night.