The 1st meeting for these 2 teams really had a lopsided win in favor of the Wolves 90-75, but the game really wasn’t even that close. This time around, the Wolves had both Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio in the fold, while they were without Brandon Roy, Josh Howard, Chase Budinger and Malcolm Lee. The Wolves entered the game riding a 4 game winning streak, while the Magic had a 2 game win streak of their own. The Wolves were looking to improving to 13-9 on the season, which would be the best start for the Wolves since 05-06.
The Wolves started off the game with Pek, Love, Kirilenko, Shved and Ridnour on the floor. Orlando won the tip and Mo Harkless hit a big 3 out of the blocks to get the Magic up 3-0. The Wolves came back down and set up a cutting AK-47 on the baseline to make it a 1 point game. On the next 3 Orlando possessions the Wolves got defensive stops and converted on the offensive end and quickly went on a 12-2 run and opened a 12-5 lead 3 minutes into the game. The Wolves managed to utilize their inside presence to score 8 of the 1st 12 points in the paint. Orlando battled back in the 1st quarter going on a 12-7 run of their own. Ricky Rubio came into the game at 4:26 and immediately produced a defensive stop for the Wolves, but the Wolves had a string of nonproductive trips on the offensive end, and despite the Magic going on a 10-1 run the Wolves managed to close out the 1st quarter leading 29-27. Pek led the way for the Wolves in the 1st quarter posting an early line of 11 points & 6 rebounds. Kevin Love also started the game 3-4 for 8 points and 5 rebounds. The Wolves managed to score 20 of the 29 1st quarter points in the paint, and had 8 assists on 12 field goals.
The Wolves started the 2nd quarter with Stiemsma, Cunningham, Williams, JJ Berea and Rubio on the floor. The Wolves struggled to get points to start the 2nd quarter, in the first 5 minutes; the Wolves shot 3-8 from the field. With 5:58 to play in the 1st half, the Wolves held onto to a 41-37 lead, coming out of a time out Rick Adelman put the entire starting unit minus Luke Ridnour. It didn’t seem to matter, the Wolves were really unable to get any offense going. The Wolves went on stretches of 2:41, 1:45 and 1:50 without baskets. Luke Ridnour entered the game for JJ with 5:08 and over the remainer of the half the Wolves went 7 of the next 10 possessions and entered half time on a 16-0 run for a 61–49 lead.
This Orlando team was supposed to be down and out this season. While they are not playing at the same level as when Dwight was there, they are playing better than what this team should be. Jacque Vaughn has really created a squad that plays night in and night out. Even though it is supposed to be a rebuilding project, this team has been playing better than a rebuilding team. They play with great energy and effort, and if this team could get consistent play from these players the process of rebuilding may not take as long as most thought it would to bring good basketball back to Orlando.
Both teams started the 3rd quarter with the same line-ups that started the game. The Wolves started the 3rd quarter moving the ball and creating open looks and managed to open up a 15 point lead with 7:55 left in the quarter. Even with all of the success of the 1st half and the start of the 3rd quarter, the Wolves seemed to abandon the game plan after almost 4:30 in the 3rd quarter, and because of this Orlando went on a 21-6 run over the next 7 minute. Glen “Big Baby” Davis had 10 points during the run, and all of them were on consecutive possessions. The Wolves seemingly got lost on defense and quit working the ball inside. The Wolves did still score some points inside in the 3rd quarter, but both the points and shots all came on put backs. The Timberwolves really had to work for every point they could get and were unable to get consecutive stops in the 3rd quarter. With the offense sputtering and defense not able to get stops and the Magic trimmed the Wolves lead to 4 and entered the final quarter down 78-74.
The Wolves started the 4th quarter with the 2nd unit on the floor, and the 2nd unit also couldn’t manage to get points. The Wolves labored for every single point they were able to muster up. The Magic on the other hand, were moving the ball and running sets, the Magic’s patient’s allowed them to take an 83-80 lead with 8:59 left to play. The Wolves offense really struggled in the 2nd half, as the Wolves were 9-33 from the floor in a 16:14 span of the 2nd half. As the Wolves offensive struggles continued, the Magic kept heating up, with 4:04 left in the game the Magic had outscored the Wolves 39-19 in the 2nd half. It was really a game of 2 half’s, and the Wolves first half wasn’t enough to trump the 2nd half the Magic put together. With 3 minutes to play in the game, the Wolves were down 3 (91-94) on an AK-47 layup, but the Magic countered by scoring on the next 2 possessions. While the Wolves just looked completely lost in the final minutes of the game, the Magic looked calm and disciplined. The Magic used 61% shooting in the 2nd half to close the game out on a 45-20 run and clinch a 102-93 victory.
The Wolves dominated the paint in the 1st half, and never seemed to go back to the post in the 2nd half.
Glen Davis scored 28 points on 13-17 shooting. The man who usually gets more shots blocked than any player in the NBA shot 77%.
The Wolves dominated the boards in the first half, yet only out bounded the Magic by 1 for the game 43-42.
The Wolves only got to the free throw line 12 times tonight, 14 off of the season average.
The Timberwolves 3 point percentage continued to be a problem tonight as they went 7-25 for 28% from beyond the arc.
Kevin Love’s hot start in the 1st half went unnoticed as he went 3-10 in the 2nd half.
Pek had 11 point and 6 rebounds in the 1st quarter, and finished the game with 19 and 12.
The Timberwolves will get a chance to get back to their winning ways as they travel to take on the Miami Heat at 6:30 pm Tuesday on NBA TV’s fan night game of the week.