Nov 4, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic (14) during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland won 93-92. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
A day after their loss in the first game of a back-to-back, the Wolves got a “bounce back” win in what was Minnesota’s fifth game in seven nights. The Wolves gave it a business-like effort, overcoming Kevins Love and Martin’s combined 13-34 from the field. Martin also went 1-7 from three, but Minnesota made life tough for Boston’s leading scorer — Jeff Green went 0-6 in 30 minutes — and leaned on Nikola Pekovic’s opportunistic (or dominating) inside scoring and offensive rebounding to hold a big lead until Rick Adelman finally emptied his bench with under three minutes to go.
Going into this week’s five games in seven nights, the Wolves are third in the league in point differential behind San Antonio and Indiana. They are also ranked third in Hollinger’s power rankings, behind San Antonio and Golden State, but ahead of next Monday’s opponent, the 4th ranked Indiana Pacers and this Wednesday’s opponent, the 5th ranked Los Angeles Clippers.
The Wolves are being successful riding their starters (obviously) while putting together a patchwork of an eight-man rotation until Chase Budinger can come back and stabilize the shaky bench scoring and some heretofore useless youth can be sent out for even more help. (We’ll talk trades tomorrow.)
I’m saying this because it’s interesting to see how legitimately the Wolves early success is perceived around the league. The early schedule has provided a nice blend of Eastern Conference cream-puffs and Western Conference rivals and contenders. Beating up on the Celtics without any one Wolf catching fire gives the impression of a workmanlike win now, where it once held dogfight implications. It’s a different world, Wolves fans.
One more example: over at Celtics Blog, a guy named mycelts gave this recap (and this post its headline)…
"Cs nightmare road trip starts in ‘Sota tonight,Vitor, not KO, starting; Lee’s out, wrist’s not right.The Wolves in the playoffs have had the longest drought,Since 2003-2004 they have been shut out.Vitor and Rubio, from the same country are they,Not all that evident in the ways that they play!AB straight to the hoop, Kevin Martin not much D,Cs’ first six points scored by AB.Love’s a crazy rebounder—sounds like a philosophical take!—Brewer leads the league with his own kind of fast break.He’s back! We are witnessing, quietly and with class,The development and contribution of Brandon Bass.Two nights in a row, for one player the thrills came,MarShon Brooks was asked to come into the game.Cs within 9 to start Q2,In spite of the highlight plays the Wolves can do.Olynyk great blocks, one with his elbow—he’s tall!Green great chase down blocks, just staying with the ball.Wolves don’t want to defend, they just want to score,Opponents can afford no mistakes on the floor.VITOR FOR THREE! THREE! Cs enjoying Brad’s “Green” light,Turnovers sting. Cs some D and energy tonight.CRAWFORD FOR THREE, AB FOR THREE,Cs within 5 to start Q3.Bass along the baseline is very strong,Vitor mixing up his shots, not just the one that is long.Wonder why so few shots set up for Jeff Green….Needs to find his groove—time after time we’ve seen.They say Martin never met a shot he doesn’t like,A 9-0 run was the beginning of the Wolves scoring spike.Fun to watch Wallace and Vitor playing together,But Wolves’ offensive barrage is tough to weather.Sully’s gaining confidence, hard work every night.Avery Bradley, at the Two, is a coach’s delight!Wow! Wolves’ offensive reputation is well-deserved,Every play is a teaching moment, Cs not unnerved.Cs down 19 to start Q4,Brooks getting time—he can score!Hump saw minutes, Pressey, too.Wolves hardly miss, not much rebounding to do.Wolves have a “(Robbie) Hummel Figure” on their team,He scores from everywhere, or so it would seem.Cs 10, 11 player rotation may have (fresh leg…) pluses,But then no player has any rhythm—which no one discusses.CRAWFORD FOR THREE, just not enough,This game’s not just physically, it’s mentally, tough.Cs a big loss, season high—27—AB!Bass played well, especially his D.Each night one C has a game like a dream,Eventually we’ll come together as a team."