On Friday night the Wolves visited the Houston Rockets to start the St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend. There was no luck of the Irish (or any other nationality) for our Pups in the Toyota Center as the Wolves fell and fell hard. Interested in a quick Recap – Minnesota Timberwolves 100 – Houston Rockets 108. Interested in more? Here is how the night transpired.
The Wolves continued on without Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko, their 8th and 9th games missed in a row, respectively. The starting lineup remained as Rubio, Ridnour, Gelabale, Williams, and Stiemsma. The Rockets opened up with Jeremy Lin, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Donatas Motiejunas, and Omer Asik.
Early in the game, Derrick Williams picked up an offensive foul that was arguably the worst I have seen called all season. Not two minutes later, Williams picked up his second offensive foul and he was on the bench less than four minutes into the game; with the team already down to a bare minimum of able bodies. The writing felt like it was on the wall for this one pretty early.
However, the Wolves played very well early despite missing Williams. Dante Cunningham played well and the Wolves hit 59% of their shots in the 1st quarter. Mickael Gelabale had a very strong quarter, with 4 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Greg Stiemsma also played well, shooting 3-3 from the field for 6 points to go with 2 blocks. At the end of the 1st, the Pups held a 27-22 over the Rockets.
The good times continued for the Wolves in the 2nd quarter, as they were able to stave off an early run from the Rockets. In the latter portion of the quarter, the Wolves were able to increase their lead and it had the early looks of a blowout. Minnesota outscored Houston 30-17 in the quarter to take a 57-39 lead. Here are a few halftime thoughts through my Wolves lens:
- The NBA TV studio crew practically destroyed the Wolves in pregame and spent most of halftime trying to change the topic
- The Rockets looked like they were asleep at the wheel, with 15 turnovers through 2 quarters
- Total team effort from the Wolves; 57 points, with four different players with a team high 8 points
- It is amazing how well the Pups look when they hit shots – 55% at the half
The Rockets started the 3rd quarter like a completely different team, hitting jump shots and playing much better defense. They started the quarter on a 12-5 run to cut the Wolves lead to 11, forcing Adelman to burn an early timeout. James Harden came alive in the 3rd quarter and took it to the Wolves. Unfortunately, the Wolves didn’t make any defensive adjustments (i.e. switching Rubio and Ridnour on one end of the floor) until there were less than two minutes in the quarter and after the Rockets cut the lead to 5 points. After a wild, final ninety seconds of the quarter, the Wolves took an 80-74 lead into the 4th quarter.
There was another 12-5 run by the Rockets to start the 4th quarter, which gave the home team the lead and forced another timeout by Adelman. The remainder of the quarter was not much better. With two minutes left in the game, the Rockets still had the Wolves doubled up in the quarter, 25-12 and held a 99-92 lead. At this point, realistic fans should have been well aware that this game was over. The Wolves couldn’t do anything to stop or contain the Rockets in the second half and ultimately fell 108-100.
Keys of the Game
- Game of two halves – Wolves defense gave up 39 points in the 1st half and 69 points in the 2nd. They scored 57 points of their own in the 1st half and were held to 43 in the 2nd.
- Rebounding – The Rockets outrebounded the Wolves 44-36, allowing Carlos Delfino to grab 10 rebounds (4 offensive).
- Three point shooting – The coaching staff needs to put a limit on 3PT’s taken during a game and put some type of penalty on the team when it exceeds said number. For a team that is really, REALLY bad at long range shooting, the Wolves remain way too trigger happy.
Three Stars of the Game
- James Harden – Huge second quarter from Harden without any response from the Wolves – 37 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, including 16-18 from the FT line.
- Jeremy Lin – Virtually the exact same comment as above for Harden. 24 points and 8 rebounds.
- JJ Barea – Barea had a nice game for the Wolves, with 19 points off the bench on 8-12 shooting.