The Timberwolves hoping to snap a 2 game skid were in the nation’s capital taking on the Wizards who have been playing much better with the return of John Wall 8 games ago. Thanks to DirectTV engineering problems, I was unable to see the first quarter and half. With the terrific play-by-play of Alan Horton for Wolves radio, I can give provide an “ear” review of the first quarter and a half of play.
The Wolves sent out a starting 5 of Ridnour, Rubio, Kirilenko, Williams, and Stiemsma while the Wizards countered with Beal, Wall, Okafor, Webster, and Nene. The Wiz game plan was to get the ball inside in the absence of Pek. It was successful; it didn’t matter if it was post play, or guards driving to the rim. 4 of the Wizards first 5 shots were from Okafor or Nene in the post. John Wall chipped in with 2 free throws after getting fouled on a drive to the rim. Martell Webster chipped in with a pull up jump shot that was the only basket from a non-front court player. The Wizards ability to get easy looks inside allowed them to open up 17-7 lead with 7:28 remaining in the 1st quarter. While the Wizards were able to get about everything to go down, the Wolves struggled to make anything in the opening quarter. Compile the inability to make baskets, the Wolves shot themselves in the foot by turning the ball over. The Wolves had 4 turnovers in the first 6 minutes of the game. The Wolves were down by 11 with 4:26 to play when JJ Berea checked in, and the Wolves managed to outscore the Wizards 13-8 to close out the 1st quarter out down by 4, 29-25.
To start the 2nd quarter, the Wolves primarily went to the bench with Barea, Gelabale, AK, Johnson & Cunningham on the floor. For whatever efforts the Wolves made to get back in the game, the Wiz managed to shut the door quickly in the opening moments of the 2nd quarter. The Wizards seemed to be in one of those zones where they were able to knock down just about everything they shot. The Wolves on the other hand, labored for their baskets. Most of the Wolves baskets came from offensive put backs. The Wolves had 13 offensive rebounds in the 1st half. The Wolves fell back down by 10 with 9:08 left in the half. The Wolves battled back again, and closed the gap to 5 with 4:05 remaining in the quarter. The Wizards countered with a very quick 8-0 run over the next 50 seconds to open the lead up to 12 with 3:15 remaining. The Wizards managed to continue their scoring pace to close out the 1st half and take a 60-46 lead into halftime.
The Wolves were not sharp in the 1st half, turning the ball over, missing hit lay-ups and not closing out defensively. The Wizards ability to get the ball inside right from the start of the game allowed them to get great looks from the outside. They converted on those shots as they hit 61% from the floor in the opening half. The Wolves shot 41% and had 13 offensive rebounds. A fun fact, The Wolves have not held a lead since the Atlanta game was tied on Monday with 5:55 left.
To start the 2nd half the Wolves and Wizards sent the same starting 5 to the court, and the 2nd half started the same way the game did, 2 easy looks inside for the Wizards. The Wolves on the other hand 2 of their first 4 possessions end in turnovers. The Wizards managed to convent on those turnovers and open up a 19 point lead 8:54 remaining in the 3rd quarter. The athletic back court of the Wizards took over the game in the 3rd quarter, and manufactured whatever they wanted. Drives to the baskets, penetration kick outs, and the Wizards were converting on the good looks they were able to get. The Wolves could really never get the score any closer than 18 in the 3rd quarter. And the Wizards took a 91-73 lead going into the 4th and final quarter.
The 4th quarter didn’t bring any better a performance for the Wolves. The Wizards shooting continued all the way throughout the game. With 8:14 left to play in the game the Wizards had a 20 point lead and had already broke the century mark. You could chalk this game up to just one of those games, but frankly it is very concerning for Wolves fans. The Wolves were turning over the ball, missing layups and getting lost on defensive rotations. Sure there have been injuries, but there is no excuse for some of the errant passes and missed lay ups that happened in this game. With 2:13 left, the Wolves brought in Lou Amundson for his first action of the night with the Wolves down 109-94. The Wolves continued their road woes losing their 6th straight game away from the Target center, falling 114 -101 to the Wizards.
Greg Stiemsma was tied for the team high, in assists at 6.
The Wolves shot 44%, and the suddenly emerging Wizards shot 58% for the game.
Ricky Rubio is now 0 for the season from 3 point land.
The Wolves out rebounded the Wizards 48 – 35.
The Wolves still haven’t won a game in Rick Adelman’s absence. For as much as the Wolves miss players out due to injury, they might just miss Rick most of all.
The Wolves will try to snap the road losing streak as they travel to Charlotte to play the Bobcats on Sat at 6:30.