Whew, what a rough game that was. It wasn’t a surprising outcome at all, but man, that was still extraordinarily hard to watch. The Wolves got run out of the gym tonight, surrendering a ghastly 120 points to the Toronto Raptors.
While the Raptors technically played their entire roster (minus Serge Ibaka) tonight, their effort level spoke volumes to the way they viewed their opponent. No Raptor eclipsed Fred Van Vleet’s 27 minutes tonight, as coach Nick Nurse used his entire bench in order to, in a way, rest his entire team tonight.
The Raptors eviscerated the Wolves with very little opposition. It often looked like Toronto wasn’t even trying. That’s how easy everything was for them tonight. Kawhi was legitimately playing in slow motion all night. He clearly has his shortcomings as a distributor, but the ease with which he scored his 20 points tonight (8-14, 4-7) was alarming.
G-League MVP Chris Boucher got quite a bit of run tonight, and he showed out. He posted 15/13 with 3 blocks on 7-10 shooting and making one three-pointer. He’s terribly skinny, but you’d have to think there’s room on an NBA roster full-time for a guy like that.
Beyond that, it was an extremely balanced attack from the fake North team. They did whatever they wanted all night long.
The reason for that? The Wolves defense looked like swiss cheese once again tonight. The Raptors connected on 16 of their 37 3PA, and the Wolves are lucky it wasn’t worse. It does not bode well for the future of this team if the (likely) Head Coach cannot figure out how to stop giving up so many threes.
Now, I understand that it’s far from easy to make big adjustments in the middle of the season. However, if you’re getting obliterated in the same exact facet of the game every single time out, it might be time to adjust. Like, I don’t now, is it that hard to emphasize defending the three-point line? It doesn’t seem like it should be that hard, but what do I know. The current scheme is allowing threes to pour in at silly rates.
Over the last 15 games, Wolves’ opponents are making 44% of their left corner threes, 43% of their right corner threes, and 38% of their threes above the break. It literally doesn’t matter where these shots are coming from. Opponents are feasting on wide open opportunities from beyond the arc. In today’s game, you will lose every time if you allow the opposition to unload from three.
There weren’t a ton of positives to take from this one for Minnesota, but the play of Tyus Jones and Gorgui Dieng was solid. Tyus finished with another double-double (11/10). As for G, he filled up the stat sheet with a 16/7/5 line on 5-9 from the field. It is nice to see Gorgui take advantage of the extra playing time he’s getting at the end of the season.
Mitch Creek found his way into the game tonight, and he looks to be a garbage man forward. A G-League version of Mark Madsen, if you will. It doesn’t appear likely he’ll be anything more than a late season minutes eater.
81 games down, 1 to go. Stay strong, friends.