It’s pretty much the same old story: When the Wolves don’t shoot lights out, they cannot win, because they simply cannot stop the opposition at anything like the required level. In all four wins they’ve had since the trade deadline, they have posted an eFG percentage over 60 percent.
That was certainly not the case today, as they struggled to make shots all game long against a Pelicans team that was probably still irritated by their loss to the Wolves last week in New Orleans.
The Pels took control of this one early, and were more or less in control the whole way. They got whatever they wanted in the paint against a porous Wolves defense, especially in transition. Every time I looked up, there was another dunk as the Wolves failed to get back. In the half court, Jrue Holiday had no problem breaking the Wolves perimeter defense down and getting to the rim, where there was little if any help.
The Wolves managed to stay in the game in the first half thanks to Pelicans turnovers they were able to turn into points, but the Pels still hung 71 on them in the first half and the defense was downright embarrassing at times.
Holiday was the key culprit; After a triple double in the meeting in New Orleans, he showed up at Target Center and dropped 37 on the Wolves, along with nine rebounds and eight assists. He completely dominated the Wolves guards, and showed the difference between a two-way force and guys who can just score.
Zion Williamson had an easy 23, including several highlight dunks in the first half, when he was consistently beating the Wolves down the floor.
Their usual poor defense, which to be fair was a bit better in the second half, was exacerbated by their unusually poor shooting. D’Angelo Russell seems to have hit a bit of a trough the last couple of games, following up his 2-14 the other night with a 6-18 night tonight, including 0-7 from three. He also had several very casual, loose possessions that resulted in turnovers. He did not seem particularly engaged throughout.
Really nobody had it going offensively today. Malik Beasley made a few late, but was mostly a non-factor. Naz Reid missed his first six and finished 4-14, and overall the Wolves shot 8-33 from three. They obviously cannot win that way.
Really only one good thing came of this game. I came up with the proper nickname for Jordan McLaughlin:
I think McLaughlin's nickname should be Rabbit.— canishoopus (@canishoopus) March 8, 2020
That's the tweet.
Unfortunately, it was not a great game for Rabbit McLaughlin either.
The Wolves need to get Karl-Anthony Towns back, and they need to learn how to grind some things out. They have to mature and get harder to play against. They have no ability to make things uncomfortable for their opponents, and that has to change.
Have a good rest of your Sunday.