The Timberwolves were back in action Sunday night at the Target Center after a tough loss in Denver Saturday night. The turnaround time left a little to be desired for the club, but there isn’t much more needed to say or speak of Saturday’s embarrassment and the best thing to do is get out on the court again.
Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic remained sidelined and it doesn’t sound very promising that they will be ready for Tuesday either. Given their absence, the starting lineup for our Pups continued to be Rubio, Ridnour, Gelabale, Williams, and Stiemsma. The Mavs starting five included OJ Mayo, Mike James, Jae Crowder, Dirk Nowitzki, and Chris Kaman. Shawn Marion missed the game due to an injury, giving Crowder the starting nod.
Earlier in the day, I talked myself into this game by making it an unofficial scouting report for David Kahn on OJ Mayo. Please pass this on to Kahn and attach Mayo’s resume. I really want Mayo in a Wolves uniform next season. In fact, I’ve wanted him in a Wolves uniform since he left USC.
Neither team set the nets on fire in the 1st quarter. The Mavs shot 42% from the field, only be “bested” by the Wolves and their 36% FG%. Derrick Williams the full twelve minutes and was very aggressive in and around the paint. He finished the quarter with a game high 9 points and 5 rebounds in the quarter. Dallas got a lift from its bench, when Rick Carlisle went to them with about 4 minutes left in the quarter. Vince Carter and Elton Brand helped give the Mavs a 21-20 lead at the end of the 1st.
The 2nd quarter started but no one told the Timberwolves. Dallas took advantage with a 12-0 run to start the quarter, leading to an Adelman timeout. I envision the huddle went something like this:
Adelman: “Look, I don’t want to be here either, but please wake up!”
Huddle: (empty stares)
Dallas matched their 1st quarter output in less than six minutes in the 2nd, outscoring the Pups 22-7 halfway through the quarter. The Mavs shooting rose to over 50% for the game as they continued to make shots and feel little resistance from the Wolves defense. At the half, the Mavs held a 56-44 advantage. Gelabale hit a runner for the Wolves as time expired in the half, cutting the lead to 12 points. Here are a few halftime thoughts through my Wolves lens:
- JJ Barea’s bad side was in full effect again tonight – 2-7 from the field, -16 in +/-.
- Amazingly, that wasn’t the teams lowest +/-, as Alexey Shved “led” the team with a -19 in the half. Shved has hit the rookie wall … hard.
- While not leading his team in anything but minutes played in the first half, OJ Mayo chipped in 4 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. Have I mentioned that Mayo needs to be on the Wolves radar this summer yet?
Coach Adelman tried mixing things up a bit to start the 3rd quarter, going with a different lineup of Rubio, Barea, Ridnour, Williams, and Stiemsma. Unfortunately for the Wolves and the fans at the game, it didn’t help change the results. The Mavs opened up a 19 point lead in the 3rd quarter and settled in with a 78-61 lead going into the final frame.
The only bad news for the Mavericks that came in the second half was that OJ Mayo rolled his ankle in the 3rd quarter under the rim. It is a little eerie, and probably fitting, that Mayo would roll his ankle at Target Center. He would fit right in with the current locker room of injured Pups. However, Mayo returned to the floor in the 4th quarter, showing his toughness and durability; areas that the Wolves desperately need. He finished the game with 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists, showed the ability to play both guard positions, facilitate the offense in both the half court set and on the fast break, and defend.
Back to the game itself; the 4th quarter was more of the same from both teams. Simply put, the Wolves are a lackluster team right now and look to be going through the motions. Tonight’s game was tough given the trip to Denver last night, but that doesn’t excuse the lack of talent that this team can put out on the floor right now. The team is not good, period. To recap – Minnesota Timberwolves 77, Dallas Mavericks 100 and it didn’t feel that close in the 2nd half.
Keys of the Game:
- Three point shooting – The Wolves are not good at 3PT shooting, yet they continue to launch from downtown entirely too much. Tonight’s woeful performance, 2-18.
- Rebounding – The Mavs dominated the boards tonight at the Target Center, with a 59-40 advantage.
Three Stars of the Game:
- Vince Carter – The Mavs really took off when Carter entered the game. He finished with a game high 22 points and 9 rebounds.
- OJ Mayo – His 8-8-7 and all-around play mentioned above helped lead the Mavs to the easy victory Sunday night. Have I mentioned that the Wolves next GM should be at his door at 12:01am when free agency starts this summer? (See what I did there?)
- Elton Brand – It was throwback night at the Target Center apparently. Brand finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, practically dominating the paint against the Wolves big men.