Words cannot describe the carnage that took place on the Target Center floor on Wednesday night.
Sure, the first quarter wasn’t exactly like the Lakers game. But it didn’t need to be. (Okay, they still won the first quarter by a score of 38-24 tonight.) They won the second quarter 32-23. And the halftime score? 70-47. That’s right, your Minnesota Timberwolves accumulated 70(!) points by the break.
Of course, the Wolves have struggled in the second and third quarters all season long, so Adelman’s plan was to ride the starters (sans Kevin Martin, who missed the game due to flu-like symptoms) hard through the third quarter, and coast with the bench in the final frame.
The plan finally worked to perfection, as the starters kept the pedal to the metal after halftime and again dropped a 38-point quarter on the Cavs. By the start of the fourth, the Wolves had compiled a 108-76 lead, and Rubio, Love, and Pekovic had already found the pine for the rest of the night in the closing minute of the third quarter.
The offense was humming all night long for the starters and Adelman’s short bench, led by Rubio, Love, and Brewer. The Fox Sports North telecast assured us at the outset that the Wolves would not be counting on Brewer to take over Martin’s 24.6 points per game this evening. It seemed obvious, and rather silly that they would even find it necessary to point that out.
But boy, were they/I wrong. Brewer finally began sinking corner threes, finishing the game shooting long balls at a ridiculous 5/5 clip, and a Timberwolves-career-high 27 points (his real career high is 29) on 10 of 17 shooting from the floor. That’s right, Corey Brewer shot the ball 17 times. Let’s not get into that habit (and hear’s hoping that Brew doesn’t mistake himself for a dead-eye long range shooter from above the break), but it was a wonderful sight against the Cavs.
Rubio had 8 assists in the first quarter, and had already compiled 12 points and 10 assists by halftime. Love had a quiet 19 points and 5 rebounds at the break, and the game was well in hand.
The third string played poorly in the fourth quarter, and was outscored 19-16 as the Wolves managed to coast to a 124-95 victory. It was good to see Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad, and A.J. Price get some extended minutes, but they simply couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end of the court.
But that’s the only possible gripe from this evening, outside of Love’s non-double-double. Kevin Martin got some well-needed rest, Rubio continued to look like the Ricky Rubio from last March and April, and the Wolves offense hummed as beautifully as anyone could have dreamed when short their primary (only?) scoring guard.
- Sure, Love didn’t get the double-double. But will you accept 33 points (10-16 FGs, 1-4 3PT, 12-14 FTs) in 31 minutes, along with 8 rebounds, 6 assists and zero turnovers?
– Rubio set a career-high in assists, finishing with a line of 16 points (5 of 7 FGs, 1-1 3PT, 5-5 FTs), 16 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 turnovers in 31 minutes. And again, Brewer finished with 27 points on 10 of 17 shooting, with 4 rebounds, 2 steals, a block and zero turnovers.
– Rookie Robbie Hummel started in place of Martin, and played quite well. He shot 4 of 6 from the field (2 of 4 on threes) with 4 rebounds and no turnovers in 28 minutes. There may be a chance he’s a viable perimeter rotation player in the NBA, but take a quick glance at the Cavs’ wings. Not much there. Still, nice first career NBA start for the former Boilermaker.
– The Wolves shot 11 of 22 (50%) from long range tonight, and 23 of 26 (88.5%) from the free throw line. That equals winning.
– Kyrie Irving scored 20 points, but had to shoot 8 of 17 to do it. He also only had 2 assists to 3 turnovers, and was hounded by Rubio all night long. Even more so, Rubio made Jarrett Jack look foolish off the bench. He was easily the best guard on the floor tonight.
– Minnesota will be in Denver on Friday night to take on the Nuggets. The game is on ESPN (weird, I know), and will tip-off at 7:00 p.m. CST. The Nuggets aren’t a terribly good team, but playing at altitude is never easy.