I managed to re-watch last night’s home opener for the preseason again this morning and here’s a few thoughts and takeaways from the game. We got our first dose of Dave Benz and Jim Peterson in the booth on NBA TV and I have to say that it was thoroughly enjoyable. I was a big critic of Tom Hanneman’s game calling and feel like we’re off to a real good start and upgrade here. When you are going to be listening to someone more than 50 times in a season, I think it is important to be able to enjoy what you are hearing. But hey, that’s just me.
Last night’s game against Chicago slogged along, going well beyond the 2.5 hours usually set aside for NBA games. This has everything to do with the fact the referees called anything and everything for four straight quarters. This game will never be shown on ESPN Classic. In any case, the game itself was closely contested throughout, with the Wolves pulling away in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Bulls 24-15 in the final frame.
Here are a few miscellaneous notes that caught my attention:
Kevin Love & Andrei Kirilenko sat out the game. Let’s hope AK47 is in the lineup and playing sporadic minutes in the next two games so I don’t have to start having negative thoughts.
Brandon Roy had a nice game, showing the ability to drive and cut again. He did a lot more ball handling in the half court in this game than in prior action and did so successfully. Repeat alert: It will be amazing to see what good wing play will do for this team.
Luke Ridnour returned to the lineup and played 22 minutes. Apparently his back is doing just fine. (Phew)
Dante Cunningham impressed me again, despite limited minutes and being in foul trouble. He’s going to be a great energy guy and I’ll say it again, Derrick Williams is going to be negatively impacted because of this.
Speaking of Derrick Williams, he had a pretty terrible game and you can see the line below in the “Losers” section. I’m not thrilled about his Summer League or Preseason thus far. Let’s move on … quickly
Nikola Pekovic & Alexey Shved really drove this game home for the Wolves, stepping up for their DNP compadres. (See below for details)
We had a Marco Jaric sighting tonight! Jim Pete probably bit his tongue a handful of times on this one. 10 minutes of play and you barely knew he touched the floor. In other words, nothing has changed in Jaric’s basketball career.
Here are last night’s Winners and Losers:
- Twin Cities Twolves fans as basketball returns to the Target Center with a win
- The refs, for hijacking the game with whistles
- Starting Centers – Pek and Noah both had very nice games
- Shved – He is going to be very entertaining to watch
- Many other basketball fans who sat through this very slow paced game because of …
- The refs for calling the game the way they did
- Anyone that has any respect for free throw shooting – Chicago was 22-35, Minnesota finished 34-51; good grief Charlie Brown
- Derrick Williams – 0-8 from the field, 2-4 from the line. I’m just going to stop here before my biases start showing in the preseason
Finally, as has been a tradition last year here at Timberpups (and I forgot to carry forward with last night’s game recap, sorry Big Al) here are last night’s three stars of the game:
- Nikola Pekovic – Almost 40 minutes in a preseason game and the big guy throws up 16 pts and 17 boards!
- Alexey Shved – Nice shooting, strength in the pick and roll offense, and overall playmaking while on the floor. #Shvedlines are going to be fun this season!
- Joakim Noah – Giving credit where it is due, Noah almost matched Pek’s production, throwing up 14 & 13 for the Bulls.
A nice win for the Pups to welcome fans back to the Target Center. The Wolves don’t play again until this coming Friday, 10/19 where they travel to Chicago to face the Bulls again.
Let’s go Wolves!