Get used to it – this year’s 66 game schedule is going to be filled with plenty of games that leave you scratching your head. After pulling out a win in LA on Friday, the Wolves fell to the Jazz on the second night of a back-to-back. This years Jazz team looks promising, filled with a nice mix of young talent and solid veteran players. It can be tough to take too much out of a game like tonights, but here are a few notes on the game:
- Kevin Love continued to shy away from the paint, taking 12 of 21 shots from beyond 18 feet. He made just one of those 12 shots, and had five field goals on the night. I will be the last to be overly critical of Love – he shoulders more than his fair share and often has to play spotless for the Pups to win. Over the next few games, it will be interesting to see whether the shots start falling. If not, look for him to get back to what he does best, working with his back to the hoop. Oh, by the way, Love missed out on a double-double for the first time this year, ending the game with 8 rebounds.
- How long can the Wolves play Love and Rubio for big minutes every night? The team has been hit with injuries as bad as any team in the league, but at some point the two stars will need to get some rest. Love got into foul trouble early against the Jazz, picking up his second foul with 4:23 left in the first quarter. With Love on the bench for a little more than ten minutes, the Pups played well and stayed in the game. Derrick Williams’ play was encouraging tonight, although it is clear his mind is still moving at a million miles an hour. Look for Williams to relieve Love for longer stretches of time as the rookie gets more experience.
- Speaking of Love and Williams, the two forwards looked good when playing at the same time tonight. Love’s perimeter presence freed up space in the lane, allowing Williams to sneak behind the defense and pick up some easy buckets.
- Where is Anthony Randolph? He has yet to play on the road trip, and has logged 40 minutes in the last six games since putting up 18 points against the Bulls on January 10th. Anthony Tolliver was quiet tonight as well, playing 7:38 with no points or rebounds.
- The Wolves ended the game with a seven man rotation as Darko left the game halfway through the third with soreness in his hip and Tolliver not playing in the second half.
- Wesley Johnson continues to look better and better with each passing game. The second year guard played 36 minutes, shooting 5-6 (2-3 from 3) and grabbing 6 rebounds. It is easy to see his confidence growing as he continues to attack the hoop, letting outside shots come to him rather than forcing them up.
- The officiating was ugly in this one. Referee Marat Kogut was getting a good deal of ridicule from players and coaches, and deservedly so. It’s going to be a long season for everyone, including the refs.