Game Notes: Minnesota vs. Orlando… The most opposing climates in the NBA collide

1st Quarter
  • This battle of two overachieving teams should prove interesting for matchup storylines it produces. Countrymen Nikola Vucevic and Nikola Pekovic are the starting centers for their respective teams while Glen Davis currently leads the league in field goals attempted and is averaging over 20 points a game. JJ Reddick will help balance out the whiteness of the Wolves because apparently that’s a huge topic of importance to the Minnesota press (I’m looking at you Jerry Zgoda).
  • While Pek should dominate most centers, he should especially have his way with the defensively weak Vucevic.
  • Derrick Williams has really come out firing to open the game. He’s been aggressive while playing within himself, something we haven’t seen since right before Rubio’s injury.
  • Wolves quickly jump up to 16-6 lead thanks to some excellent rotations on the defensive end and aggressive plays on the offensive side of the ball.
  • Roy has been taking a lot of flack for not being as great as he once was. For all the negativity that he has taken, he has performed quite admirably as a distributor and a secondary scorer.
  • Andrei Kirilenko had a filthy swipe off of Aaron Afflallo when Afflallo should have had an easy bucket. Timberwolves end the quarter shooting over 65 percent from the field.

2nd Quarter

  • As good as the Wolves have been playing, the offense is a bit chippy and slow-forming. All of the cutters aren’t streaking to the rims like the’re supposed.
  • The Wolves are still up by 11 but that could change as we very well know. The likelihood of us shooting over 60 percent is extremely low, so now the team has to come up with other ways to stay out in front.
  • As I type this, the Wolves have currently missed 10 shots in a row until Chase Budinger’s free throw broke the cold streak.
  • You know the offense is stalling badly when the most common shot is a Dante Cunningham top of the key shot.
  • Shved scored the Timberwolves first field goal of the 2nd quarter. Unfortunately there’s only 5:39 left in the first half.
  • Adelman is trying to get as much as he can from these bench players so he can hopefully rest his stars. He put Pek and AK only after the lead was seriously threatened.
  • Andrei Kirilenko does everything well on the basketball terms. There is seriously nothing the man can’t do. He’s playing extremely high efficiency ball while posting some crazy good numbers. Right now he sits 5th in the league in Wins added.
  • Without Rubio, it seems the Wolves are relying Roy’s play making skills to create opportunities for other players. It’s an ingenious way to his talents while minimizing the wear on his knees.

3rd Quarter

  • Wolves have had a tendency to come out flat to start the 3rd quarter. Let’s see if that trend continues as they try and hold onto their ever diminishing lead.
  • Pekovic’s help defense has improved leaps and bounds this year. However, Big Baby is giving fits this game while he’s trying to post up. Probably, the only player bigger than him.
  • Luke Ridnour is on an absolute tear both shooting and passing. He really has been the catalyst for bumping this lead all the way back up into double digits.
  • Derrick Williams is starting getting it. Slowly, but surely, the thought process of a professional basketball player is coming to him. His athletic abilities have always been leaps and bounds ahead of where his true skills are, but now it looks they’re starting to merge. As long he plays within the offense and himself, Williams should be fine.
  • Looks like the mild weight loss did wonders for Pekovic’s vertical. He just rose up to deny ultra-athletic rookie Moe Harkless.
  • Chase Budinger’s game ought to make him among the NBA’s most efficient players. He specializes in dunks, layups and 3 pointers. That has to be a coaches dream.
  • The Timberwolves just put a clinic on how to finish out a quarter. Greg Stiemsma and JJ Barea absolutely torched the Magic defense.

4th Quarter

  • Now the Wolves are on the other end of the spectrum, where they are protectors of a lead going into the 4th quarter. Fortunately for them, they have all the momentum going for them.
  • The Orlando player to be wary of here is JJ Reddick. After a cold start to the game, he has really started to pick up his shooting and has forced the Wolves to put AK on him. Hopefully, the stops the outburst.
  • It’s nice to Barea and Steamer actually get a inside-out game going. Almost reminiscent of Kevin Love and Rubio.
  • I initially viewed any offensive contribution from Stiemsma as a bonus, but at this point it’s getting to be a regular occurrence.
  • Cunningham is playing textbook post defense on Glen Davis. Despite being undersized and overpowered, he uses his lone asset (speed) to overcome the pivots that the larger Davis is making. Just beautiful.
  • Stiemsma and Pekovic have mastered the rare skill of going straight up when contesting a shot. The referees rarely see it done properly, so props to them.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what a properly coached basketball team looks like. Doesn’t blow big leads and methodically climbs back into games. Instances like this have been a long time coming.
  • It certainly has been a while since the so called “scrubs” have played. Especially with 5 minutes left in the game.
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