Wolves Wrap: Offensive woes continue in loss to Bucks


The Wolves had no business only being down two points at the half on Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. In the second half, their luck did not hold as the Bucks blew the game open with a 35-17 third quarter en route to a 106-88 win over Minnesota in Madison, WI.

For the second straight game, the Wolves’ offense was dreadful. The team hit less than a third of its shots, going 24-73 from the field and only 4-21 from three-point range.

Kevin Martin had an especially rough outing, going 0-10 on field goals in 24 minutes, missing several shots he normally makes, but made 8 of 9 free throws.

Andrew Wiggins managed to go 3-11, amplified into 14 points by hitting on 7-8 from the line. Wiggins was aggressive at times and may have learned a thing or two from Martin about drawing fouls with his quick first step. He also displayed some questionable shot selection, missing several long twos off the dribble. Milwaukee dominated on the boards as well, out-rebounding Minnesota 53-35.

The Wolves have been out-rebounded in every game this preseason. The defense was not much better, allowing the Bucks to hit on 41-81 overall and 9-26 on threes. Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 17 on 7-10 from the field and prized free agent signing Greg Monroe added 15 on 6-11 shooting and 12 rebounds. There were a few bright spots for Minnesota.

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The Wolves were able to hang around into the third quarter by going to the free throw line, where they went an impressive 21-24 in the first half and 36-45 for the game. The team also managed to close an eight-point first quarter deficit on the back of a boisterous 13-point second quarter by Shabazz Muhammad, who went 3-4 from the field (1-1 from 3) and 6-6 from the line, paired with a relatively muted 10 (on 4-7 shooting) from Gorgui Dieng and 8 (on 3-5 shooting) from Ricky Rubio.

Muhammad finished the game with 18 points on 3-7 on field goals and 11-11 on free throws. He continues to provide aggressive, high-energy play on offense off the bench, something this team will likely need often during the season.

Rubio finished with 8 points, 3 assists, and 4 turnovers. He still looked rusty at times in his second game back, but also threw some bad passes that will likely be transformed into good passes later in the season after the young Wolves have more time to play together and get a feel for each other.

Story Lines

Zach LaVine continued to be a non-factor this preseason, producing 3 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists in 18 minutes that included a thunderous transition jam and a few head-scratching passes. LaVine came off the bench for the second straight game with Tayshaun Prince starting instead, and Sam Mitchell for some reason continued to give LaVine time at point guard.

What he said.

The home crowd may have most enjoyed booing Tyus Jones, whose Duke team beat Wisconsin to win the 2015 NCAA Tournament, and cheering his every mistake. Jones didn’t produce much on the stat sheet tonight (4 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist in 12 minutes) but did not hesitate to shoot and hit one nice floater in the fourth quarter.

Karl-Anthony Towns had a hard time getting off the ground after getting into early foul trouble, playing only 4 minutes in the first half. He finished with 6 points on 2-5 shooting and 6 rebounds in just 13 minutes.

Next Up

The Wolves have one more preseason game, against the Bucks on Friday at 7:00 Central Time, before opening the season as the back half of a doubleheader against the Los Angeles Lakers on ESPN next Wednesday the 28th.

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