Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Minnesota Timberwolves 127 - Phoenix Suns 124

The night that defense died!

Yeah, we'll get to that in a while.

First up, how many of you winced when you saw Kevin Love shoot his first three pointer of the evening?....

...show of hands?.....Jeez, it went up in installments and hit the backboard first!

It left me asking whether Love would make it to the end of the quarter, let alone the end of the game, he wasn't moving at all freely. He then missed a free throw....Luke Ridnour was "choked" by a Gortat/Nash double team at the half way line...Pek was swatted away by Channing Frye....these were the opening moves of a very, very slow start for the Twolves...I don't mind admitting that I was worried.

Then Pek bulldozed into the paint and sunk a runner...and we all calmed down.

The Twolves slowly but surely found their feet, primarily, behind their big center who scored 15 of the 28 first quarter points. Pek found support from the much maligned Wayne Ellington who got into a nice groove early when he came in and replaced Wesley Johnson who didn't start particularly well.

As close to defense as we got all night!
In my preview I had stated that I felt that there were four players who needed to turn up for this road trip. As we moved into the second quarter Michael Beasley caught fire. He makes scoring look very, very easy when he's on it. The mystery surrounding his performance is that B-easy only played 15 minutes.....6-7 from the field....3-3 on three pointers....he was scorching hot.....15 minutes??  He made a brief reappearance in the fourth quarter but was hooked in favour of Wes Johnson. It's tough on Mike, especially on a night where no-one is playing defense. (Update - he injured a toe..okaydoke)

Anyway Derrick Williams ensured that the score continued to click over by chipping in 12 points to add to Beasley's dozen. In fact as the half closed the Twolves bench was responsible for 40 of the total 63....that's what will be required over the next half a dozen games. Kevin Love was still basically a non-factor and we'd had a brief sighting of Anthony "soft as a pillow" Randolph...(description courtesy of Eddie Johnson).

The starters came back in for the start of the second half and the 7 point lead quickly diminished. There was little or no energy...Martell contributed a couple of god-awful shots and won a jump-ball..tapping it inexplicably out of bounds for a turn over...Wes Johnson continued to pass up open shots. Eventually Adelman had seen enough and pulled the plug....time out. Whatever he said in that time out had an effect Johnson scored 7 consecutive points and K-Love started to rumble and roll (especially from downtown). Adelman persisted with the starters and even with Webster playing a poor game the Twolves lead ballooned to seven points before being pegged back at the buzzer 92-90.

Fourth quarter - Love-time.

Sore back or not K-Love scored 13 points and Luke Ridnour, who had been grappling with the tough assignment that is Steve Nash all night, suddenly caught an offensive wave. D-Will continued to bring energy, Wayne Ellington hit some shots and Pek...well Pek was Pek. There was a worrying moment when ex Twolves PG Bassy Telfair threatened to take over the game scoring all of his 10 points in the Q...but Minnesota rode this one out...Luke Ridnour's drive and lay-up which put the Twolves up 121-120 was a thing of beauty and just shows the kind of guts this guy has.

Free throws saw us home......which was relief in itself as the FT% was a woeful 62%

Great start to a tough trip....a couple of well timed rest days before Utah.....we'll need them.

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