The Wolves Outmuscled the Hornets
As much fun as it was to see the guys light it up in the first half behind a barrage of long shots, I was a little worried that at some point they’d stop falling. To my joy, they never really did as Posey kept up a barrage of three point shots all game long to keep us in it until the very end.
No, what told was our lack of defensive and rebounding big men. Mike Miller and Randy Foye regularly made it all the way to the basket on drives and were able to decide whether to shoot or pass without a lot of quick-footed pressure. Ryan Bowen was the only big(somewhat) man we had who did apply pressure inside, but it wasn’t enough. The wolves drove and kicked, posted and kicked – and ended with mostly open shots on the perimeter. When we did manage to close off a drive, the Timberwolves weak-side rebounder would simply muscle their way in, grab the offensive rebound, and put it home. 14 offensive rebounds for the Wolves. That hurts bad.
- Peja was versatile offensively tonight, but he kept getting switched on Foye and Foye ate him alive. Peja kept trying to direct him into the help – but there wasn’t any as Melvin and Marks weren’t used to backing him up. It got ugly.
- Guess what? The Julian Wright experiment may have died an early death tonight. Byron has always said he doesn’t care about offensive mistakes – and Wright had a few of them – but Byron did leave him in through those errors. It was his clear-path foul in the second that ended his time on the floor. I hope to see him next game, but Byron has a short hook with Julian.
- Ryan Bowen got sent in when Julian messed up – and as usual he was a game changer. Unfortunately, his ability to change games positively lasts about 5-8 minutes – and he played 16.
- Posey kept us in the game with his 7-11 from deep, but he didn’t have a prayer against Craig Smith and Al Jefferson on the boards, and the Hornets had no choice but to play him there. Posey was shoved out of position time after time – part of the reason the Hornets were outrebounded by 16.
- You could see Paul’s shot was off from the first quarter. When that happens he falls from unstoppable to simply dangerous as an offensive weapon. The Wolves were able to lay off him and jam him when he got into the paint. He still got a great 23 points on 8-15 shooting, but he worked damn hard for every shot.
- Paul also had 4 turnovers. He’s a had a string of games like that now, but most of it is because he’s being forced to score more than usual – and now he’s playing with unfamiliar faces.
- A tale of two halves for Marks. He hit shots in the first, missed everything in the second.
- Morris came in, hit all his shots, and then left early. I sorta want to whine about that, but I can’t be certain it would continue, and would probably go with Peja, Butler and Posey over him anyways.
- Please, Jeff Bower, get a back-up rebounding big man. Please.