Timberwolves Summer League Game 5 Recap

Timberwolves Summer League, Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson’s looking good in Summer League
(Photo credit: NBA.com)

The Timberwolves played their fourth game in as many nights in Las Vegas Thursday.  The second round of the Summer League tournament was a rematch from the team’s first loss in the preliminary round and against the D-League Select team.

Identical to Wednesday’s game, Coach Adelman sent out the following starters to begin the game: Kee Kee Clark, Othyus Jeffers, Shabazz Muhammad, Robbie Hummel, and Chris Johnson.  If it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it?  In case you missed it, I was actually live-tweeting the game over on our resurrected, official Twitter feed.  We’ll be doing that a lot more in the future I imagine.

As for the game itself, the Wolves got off to a slow start.  Kee Kee Clark was the only player that looked to have his legs with him in the opening few minutes, keeping the team close.  Towards the end of the first quarter, the Wolves got sloppy with the ball and allowed the D-League Select to go on a mini-run, closing the quarter with a 25-17 lead.

Papa Glen joined the NBA TV broadcast booth to start off the second quarter and here are a few tidbits from the conversation – as the game was slowly progressing through much of the interview:

  • Taylor says that Love and Rubio say they both feel good
  • Flip focused on improving the outside shooting this offseason and has successfully done so
  • Also noted that Flip and Rick are in constant discussion about the team, etc.
  • Doesn’t expect a star coming from this Summer League team, but is looking to complete the roster from it
  • Rubio can “make the franchise” (read: he is getting a max-max contract?)
  • A small tidbit on the Pekovic negotiations – there might be a meeting within the next week between the parties (hopefully this means a Pek-smash / John Hancock on a paper contract)

The D-League maintained their lead throughout the second quarter, with the Timberwolves’ starters playing fairly poorly.  Muhammad was very quiet in the first half, playing under ten minutes.  Robbie Hummel was also quiet.  At the half, the D-League led 44-38.

By the time it came to mind, the D-League had increased their lead to 14 points, but I’m not sure what happened to the balanced rotation and minutes that the Wolves squad was getting prior to this evening’s game.  Beyond Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng, Luke Sikma, and Brandon Paul were all sitting on the bench for more time than I would have expected.  With that said, they did play a little more later on in the game, and that may have been by design by the staff.

The Timberwolves woke up in the final few minutes of the third quarter to cut the lead all the way down to four points.  Unfortunately, Lorenzo Brown had his shot blocked in the final seconds of the quarter.  (Again.)  Going into the final quarter, the D-League held on to a 61-57 lead but momentum looked to be shifting.

Momentum quickly fell by the way side for the Pups, as the D-League was able to respond with a small run of their own to widen the advantage.  After a little bit of back and forth, things fell apart for Minnesota, missing a few easy shots and picking up two technical fouls – one on Shabazz and one on Solomon Jones.  With those plays and a miscue here and there, the D-League Select defeated the Timberwolves for the second time this week, 83-75.

The loss knocks the Pups out of the tournament itself.  However, they have one more game tomorrow (Friday) to finish out their stint in Las Vegas.  The game will be played at 9:30 CT from Thomas & Mack Arena – signaling that the team will once again be left off of live coverage on NBA TV.

Tonight’s Timberwolves Summer League Three Stars of the Game …

  1. Othyus Jeffers
  2. Chris Johnson
  3. John Holland