Two games into the season, the Minnesota Timberwolves are displaying a disturbing weakness. Opposing veterans have been able to bully the young Wolves in the post. In game one, Zach Randolph was able to bully this way to 19 points and 11 rebounds in only 25 minutes.
Friday, in Sacramento, the Timberwolves faced the most dominant low post force since Shaquille O’Neal. DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay dominated their similarly-skilled Wolves counterparts with their superior strength and weight advantages. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins put up a valiant battle, but the fact remains: the Kings pushed them around.
Cousins and Gay scored 29 and 28 points respectively, and were able to get shots in the paint at will. Cousins put on a virtuoso display of big man handles and pure strength.
Cousins ‘bounding and astounding!
DeMarcus Cousins Highlights
Cousins fatal flaw was on full display tonight, as well. Gorgui Deng used excellent positioning and patience to reject a cousins post shot and Cousins lost his mind. He grabs Town’s leg right in front of the referee and then has the audacity to blame Towns for flopping and continues to argue with the referees until they give him a technical. Eventually Cousins fouls out, at which point he walks deep into the stands to pick up the mouth guard he threw.
Cousins gets blocked, then goes off half-cocked!
Gay also had his way, exposing Wiggins’ most glaring weakness. Wiggins is not going to be able to put on muscle during the season, so it seems obvious that stronger forwards will be able to continue to bully him this year.
On offense, Wiggins put on quite a show, especially in the first half. Wiggins and Zach LaVine’s aggressive drives to the basket kept the Timberwolves within striking distance in the 4th quarter. Andrew used his two steps masterfully on a drive that left DeMarcus Cousins looking like a statue.
Wiggins driving and thriving!
Andrew Wiggins Highlights:
All of the Timberwolves starters made respectable contributions, as the Timberwolves won the rebounding battle, turned the ball over less, and earned more free throws than the Kings. This is a game they could have easily won. The Timberwolves built an early 18 point lead, but surrendered it during a hail of mental mistakes as the Kings started to dial up the defensive pressure in the mid third quarter.
During one stretch, KAT uncharacteristically threw the ball out of bounds on an errant post entry pass and then committed a frustration foul after missing a shot against Cousins. This was followed by a careless walk by Wiggins and then a shot clock violation.
Shabazz Muhammad was a bright spot for the Timberwolves off the bench tonight. The Wolves absolutely fed him in the post and he responded with 9 points in 11 minutes with only one missed field goal. When he didn’t score, Bazz drew the defense into the post and then kicked it to Kris Dunn for a 3. Hopefully, the Wolves can get a contribution like that off the bench from Shabazz consistently this year.
Shabazz Muhammad Highlights
More disappointing than the loss, Ricky Rubio injured his arm in the second half and was unable to return. It appeared to be a severe hyperextension, and Tom Thibodeau confirmed that Rubio sprained his elbow. Hopefully Rubio is able to make a swift return. He had back-to-back steals leading to dunks and layups for LaVine and Wiggins.
Tricky Ricky with the fingers that are sticky!
Ricky Rubio Highlights:
Until next time, Canis.