Wednesday – In front of a somewhat ruckus Toronto crowd of 9,111, The Timberpups defeated the Raptors 101-89. Six minutes into the game Kevin Martin went to the sideline, replaced by Alexey Shved, after feeling pain in his right achilles tendon –he remained on the bench the remainder of the night as a precautionary measure. The Wolves jumped out early and endured 10 lead changes before pulling away in the 3rd quarter, outscoring Toronto 28-16 during the period.
Do you think the team was frustrated with Monday’s overtime loss to CSKA Moscow?
Just about everything was better, compared to Monday’s, about last night’s performance.
- The Pups Field goal, three point and free throw percentage were at least 5 points higher.
- Raptors’ FG, 3pt and FT were lower than CSKA’s — Other than the FT’s, a sign of better defending from the Pups
- Only Othyus Jeffers, in a little over three-and-a-half minutes, ended the game with a negative efficiency rating (+/-) (NBA.com evaluates all players based on the efficiency formula: ((Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) – ((Field Goals Att. – Field Goals Made) + (Free Throws Att. – Free Throws Made) + Turnovers)). 12 Timerwovles ended with a positive efficiency score.
- Shved was significantly better than he was against his his former team, tallying 10 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal — shooting 4 of 7 from the field and 2 of 3 from long-distance.
- Kevin Love scored 20 on a mediocre shooting night (6 of 14) but he got himself in good in position in the paint, he shot 7 of 8 from the foul line in addition to nabbing 4 rebounds.
- We saw J.J. Barea and Daunte Cunningham for the first time this season.
- Barea, in almost 22 minutes, scored 12 on 5 of 10 shooting from the field and didn’t take one three-pointer — a sign he may have got his chucking out last year. Has become more selective?!?!?! We’ll see.
- Cunningham or D.C. as we also know him, who also played 22 minutes, scored 8 points on 4 of 10 from the field.
Things to know for tonight’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, which I touched on a little when talking about affiliations.
The Story of the evening is Bucks’ rookie Nate Wolters.
He’s a graduate of St. Cloud Tech High School (Class of ’09) where he contributed to the longest winning streak in school history (28 games). Eliminated by Minnetonka, led by C.J. Erickson and Anthony Tucker, in the Semifinals of the 07-08 State Championship, and Hopkins, who were stacked with Royce White, Joe Coleman and Trent Lockett — Wolters never won a State Title.
Despite the unfortunate timing of his High School Career, Wolters would attend South Dakota State University. And what a career it was playing as a Jackrabbit. He shot 49 percent from the field, 80 percent from the free-throw line and had a nearly 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio his senior season. Wolters would go on to total more points, assists, made baskets than any other player in school history.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Wolters said this morning. “I didn’t expect to play another game here, but it will be good. One more, so it will be fun.”
It’s somewhat of a homecoming for Wolters tonight as the Bucks face the Wolves, he returns to Sioux Falls and will be the first NBA star welcomed by an audience at the new Stanford Pentagon. Milwaukee’s head coach Larry Drew has hinted at making it a special moment for his rookie player.
View a photo gallery of the Pentagon — It’s really sweet! (For lack of a better description)
Timberpup story lines.
- There’s been no sign of Chris Johnson, who is owed $346,781 this season and it’s possible the Wolves could buy out his contract in order to make room for A.J. Price, Jeffers, Gorgui Dieng, Lorenzo Brown or Robbie Hummel. Maybe tonight’s the night for Johnson, though this could be foreshadowing of who is the odd-man out at center.
- Shabazz Muhammad didn’t play last night so hopefully the Falls will be exposed to some Bazzketball.
- Former Timberpup Luke Rindour will play for his former team, which is his current team against his another former team — the Wolves. (If you’re lost, he played for the Bucks, came to the Wolves and is now back on the Bucks) Though the Wolters Homecoming may limit his time.
- Will Martin play tonight or will the achilles keep him out?
- How will Rick Adelman distribute minutes? Eight players played over 20 minutes in last night’s game against the Raptors (I included Corey Brewer, who played 19:44 — fair?)
It will be fun to see a Minnesota Native receive a Midwestern Welcome from those who saw him play as a Jackrabbit, but the goal remains the same — How will the Pups progress? Hopefully we see more of the bench guys/camp invites and less of the main components because of the back-to-back games and traveling overnight. Last night’s “injury” to Martin really ruined the fun of how well the Wolves played last night, hopefully no matter who plays the team will perform well.
I’ll be at work, but, that won’t prevent me from watching or tweeting about the game, to an extent. You can watch it on FoxSportsNorth at 7:00CST but I’ll be tweeting from @timberpupsblog again if you wish to follow for updates.