Wolves History 101: The Beginnings
The Minnesota Timberwolves made their NBA debut on November 3, 1989, against the SuperSonics at Seattle. The starting lineup consisted of Sam Mitchell, Tod Murphy, Brad Lohaus, Tony Campbell, and Sidney Lowe. Mitchell scored the first two points in club history on a pair of free throws at 11:15 of the first quarter. He also scored the first field goal a few minutes later, but Minnesota lost, 106-94.
The Timberwolves played their home games at the Metrodome in 1989-90 while waiting for the Target Center to be completed. In their home opener on November 8, Minnesota lost to Chicago, 96-84, as the Bulls' Michael Jordan scored 45 points. The Wolves finally registered their first win on November 10 — a 125-118 overtime decision against the Philadelphia 76ers — with Campbell and Corbin hitting for 38 and 36 points, respectively.
The month of December opened on a high note with a 27-point victory over Cleveland and a win against the New Jersey Nets. Then the momentum vanished, and the team dropped nine consecutive games. Even while losing, the Timberwolves played tough defense; through 29 games they held opposing teams to 101.5 points per game to rank fifth in the NBA.
In January, Minnesota scored only 70 points in a loss to Sacramento. Three weeks later, rookie point guard Pooh Richardson moved into the starting lineup and responded with 20 points and 10 assists in his debut start, against Sacramento. In the next game, he registered a then career-high 12 assists. Also in January, Tod Murphy grabbed 20 rebounds against the Los Angeles Clippers.
In February the Timberwolves compiled a decent 6-7 record, including a four-game winning streak. Tony Campbell set a record on February 2 when he totaled 44 points against the Celtics, a mark that stood until April 13, 2003, when Wally Szczerbiak matched it. Six weeks later, on March 20, Lowe set the club record for assists in a game with 17 against the Golden State Warriors. (That mark has also since been tied.)
Minnesota finished with a 22-60 record, the best among the NBA's four newest teams. The Timberwolves ended the season ranked second in the NBA in team defense, having allowed only 99.4 points per game. Campbell led the team in scoring, reaching double figures every game and averaging 23.2 points. At season's end, Richardson was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
Playing in the cavernous Metrodome, the Wolves set an all-time NBA attendance record in their inaugural season by drawing 1,072,572 fans, an average of 26,160 per game. On April 17 they hosted the third-largest crowd in NBA history at 49,551.
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