Ahead of the final west coast road trip of their season, the Minnesota Timberwolves hosted the Orlando Magic in Minneapolis Friday night. As has been the case over the past few weeks, Flip Saunders was forced to throw out another starting lineup, going with Zach LaVine, Kevin Martin, Andrew Wiggins, Adreian Payne, and Justin Hamilton. This may not be the exact number, but I count 54,328 different starting lineups this season for the Pups.
An almost equally struggling Magic squad (22-53 coming into Friday night) started with Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic, and Dewayne Dedmon. The Magic have underachieved this year and fired Jacque Vaughn last month. This is their new head coach (James Borrego) …
You may notice that I’m stalling in actually writing about Friday night’s game …
The Magic opened the game strong, quickly opening up a double digit lead. They shot 60% in the opening quarter, compared to the Wolves’ 35%. The Wolves’ starting backcourt shot a combined 1-7 from the field for 3 points. Not ideal. At the end of the 1st quarter, the Magic held a 29-23 lead.
Tobias Harris scored the first 8 points for the Magic in the second quarter, as they reopened a double digit lead in the early minutes of the quarter. After cutting the Magic lead down to six with just a few minutes to play in the half, the Wolves started getting sloppy (again) with the basketball and managed to give back any traction they made. At the half, the Magic held a 52-42 advantage.
- Wolves held a huge advantage at the free throw line, going 14-16 from the line, while the Magic were only 6-10.
- However, the Wolves were 0-8 from 3PT range.
- Chase Budinger had a nice half with 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 1 steal in 17 minutes.
The Magic and Wolves went back and forth throughout the 3rd quarter. Every time the Wolves made a small run to cut the lead down to six points, the Magic found a way to increase their lead back to 10+ points. The Wolves cut the lead to four points but the Magic came back yet again and took a 72-65 lead into the final quarter.
After more back and forth, Tobias Harris drilled two three point FG’s from basically the same spot on the floor, pushing the Magic lead to 86-74. In the end, the Magic walk out of the Target Center with a 97-84 victory over the Timberwolves.
A few notes from the game:
- The Magic out-rebound the Wolves 53-30 on the night, including a 20-3 advantage on the offensive boards.
- The teams combined for 39 turnovers.
- Wiggins led the Wolves with a somewhat quiet 22 points.
- LaVine finished the game with a box score of 10/5/5, but his performance was significantly worse than those numbers. Sorry, they were.