Recap – Nuggets 117, Timberwolves 110

Ricky Rubio in the new Timberwolves Lights-Out Sleeve Jersey (Photo credit: Timberwolves Facebook)

Ricky Rubio in the new Timberwolves Lights-Out Sleeve Jersey
(Photo credit: Timberwolves Facebook)

 

Our Pups returned to the Target Center to take on the Nuggets Wednesday night, kicking off the Thanksgiving weekend!  As an added bonus, the Timberwolves showcased their new “sleeve jersey” for the first time.  They will wear these jerseys in 10 games over the course of the season, per the FSN broadcast.

Once again, no surprises or changes in the Wolves’ starting five – Rubio, Martin, Brewer, Love, and Pekovic.  The Nuggets opened the game with Ty Lawson, Randy Foye, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, and JJ Hickson.

Game Summary

Wednesday night at Target Center was full of exciting plays and mounting comebacks, only to see the Wolves fall short in their efforts.  The loss drops the team to 8-9 on the season and you can find the negativity all over Twitter.  While a few numbers are below to prove it, the Pups desperately need to get more out of their bench.  (You already know this) 

This was a tough loss for the Wolves at home and against a team that they will likely be competing with for playoff positioning.  Here is how things went down:

First Half

Any time my favorite teams unveil a new jersey, I have these weird superstitions that come to mind.  Well, to open up tonight’s game, Randy Foye drained a three pointer to give the Nuggets a 3-0 lead in less than 30 seconds.  I’m just saying …

The Wolves and Nuggets went back and forth throughout the quarter.  However, there were too many dry spells for the home team, going cold multiple times.  The only thing that seemed to keep the Wolves within easy striking distance was the sheer number of turnovers by the Nuggets.  At the end of the 1st quarter, the Nuggets held a 28-27 lead.

The Nuggets put on an offensive clinic in the 2nd quarter, largely thanks to the Manimal and the trio of point guards on the squad; Lawson, Nate Robinson, and Andre Miller.  While the Nuggets were clicking on most cylinders, the Pups were not.  Nikola Pekovic really kept the team in the game, with the help of Kevin Martin – who continued to struggle from the floor a bit in the 1st half.

After putting up 36 points in the 2nd quarter (to the Wolves 28), the Nuggets took a 64-55 lead to the locker room at halftime.  Here are a few additional notes at half-time:

  • Dave Benz was doing his part to break Kevin Martin’s FT streak … to no avail … yet!  (Martin was over 20 FT’s in a row)
  • Kevin Love absolutely has to score for this team to be successful.  That isn’t a criticism, it is a fact
  • Ricky Rubio had 5 turnovers at halftime; not good!

Second Half

What I really enjoy about this year’s squad is that they always seem to have the ability to come back, no matter what the deficit.  That is what happened to start the 3rd quarter, with the Wolves cutting the lead to 3 points.  However, despite several attempts to get over the hump, the team continued to play way too loose with the ball and turned it over way too much.  At the end of three quarters, the Nuggets led 90-83.

Similar to much of the prior 36 minutes, the Wolves fought back and then found a way to “blow it” … or maybe it was the fact the Nuggets were able to answer/respond to each run.  In any case, the Pups once again made several runs at the Nuggets, only to find themselves come up short for one reason (turnovers) or another (virtually nothing from the bench again).  The final score: Nuggets 117, Timberwolves 110.

Three Stars of the Game

  1. Nate Robinson – Every time Robinson plays the Wolves, I feel like he makes our ‘Three Stars of the Game’; 15 points off the bench and absolute sparkplug
  2. Nikola Pekovic – 21 and 10 for Pekovic, who essentially kept the team in the game in the first half along with …
  3. Kevin Martin – 29 points for Martin, but this is a little “by default” due to the balance that Denver showed throughout the game vs. one particular individual – which takes us to … 

Key Takeaways

  • The Wolves bench is horrific right now.  Sorry, but they are.  They were outscored by Denver’s bench 47-10 tonight.  (Read that again)  Part of this is the talent on the end of the rotation, but part of this is a refusal to give minutes to Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng.  I have no idea how they are going to perform each night, but they need to be given the chance for the sake of not having a broken down starting lineup by Valentine’s Day.
  • Rubio played a game high 42 minutes, had 17 points, 11 assists, and 5 rebounds, and I really don’t have many nice things to say about tonight’s game about him.  He has been too careless with the ball (7 turnovers tonight) over the past week or so and was eaten up alive by Denver’s PG’s.
  • Newly acquired Luc Mbah a Moute dressed for tonight’s game but did not see any action.  Expect that to change quickly.