The Timberwolves starting line-up failed to provide energy once again on Tuesday night against the Chicago Bulls. But, most importantly, they failed to keep the game close (let alone start off with a lead for once). Entering the game, Ricky Rubio had a lot of ground to make up (again). However, the Bulls had built momentum by that point, and built the lead to 24 points in the 2nd quarter even with Rubio in the game. But, this young rookie will not say die. Midway through the second quarter, Rubio displayed heart, competetiveness, and most of all results that continued throughout the game. Rubio and the upstart Anthony Randolph electrified Target Center in the second quarter and brought the team back to within 6 points by halftime. Kevin Love also hit three 3-pointers in the quarter, which turned out to be his only highlights in his second straight off game. Rubio displayed some emotion that we have not seen yet from the rookie, as he motioned for Target Center to get on their feet several times. The Timberwolves came out in the 3rd quarter with a different line-up for once. Luke Ridnour sparked the team with a few steals, and several clutch jump shots leading the Timeberwolves to actually tie the game midway through the quarter. However, the Bulls were just too strong this game. Reigning MVP Derrick Rose led the way with 31 points and 11 assists. The final score was 111-100.
Highlight of the night: Rubio to Randolph and Target Center goes nuts!
Let’s take a look at my deep thoughts:
- FINALLY head coach Rick Adelman mixed up his line-up. He started the 2nd half with Rubio, Ridnour, Tolliver, Love, and Randolph. We’ve been begging him to do this for weeks! In my opinion, he waited a few games too long. Wes Johnson proved long ago that he can’t provide anything to the team. He’s shooting 34% on the year. Darko is shooting 45% on the year, just pathetic for a center. Wayne Ellington…..an embarrassing 33% on the year. Just play the guys are going to produce! Ridnour on the other hand is shooting 54%! As Jim Peterson was saying on the FSN broadcast, I think Randolph has earned himself a spot in the starting line-up. He simply provides the ability to score that Darko cannot match. Randolph is not a true center but who cares! He has the length to hold his own down there, and it’s clear Rubio and Randolph have a good connection going on the offensive end.
- J.J. Barea. Love the guy, but he could learn to pass a little himself. He’s only shooting 40% from the field, and many of his shots are forced. Not good for a guy who looks like he’s about 5’6 out there. He definitely can create things, but I wish he would distribute a little bit more. Many it’s because some of these guys are shooting so poorly as well?
- Derrick Williams is really struggling to get off his shots around the rim. I’m puzzled as to why the guy can’t learn how to pump fake? How many times must he get rejected before he learns. Also, does he lead the league in charges?
- Timberwolve cut back their turnovers. Only 11 turnovers for the game is a good thing for a team that has been around 20 most games so far this year.
The Timberwolves hung in there once again with a team that is regarded as Top 2 in the NBA right now. And this coming on the final night of a back-to-back-to-back. They have had just a brutal schedule so far, so let’s hope these are positive signs for a team that will surely only get better as they figure themselves out.
The Timberwolves are now 3-7, and travel to New Orleans (3-6) on Friday night. They play at Atlanta (7-3) the following night in the second night of a back-to-back.