GameDay Blog: Wolves vs. Bucks - Nov. 30, 2012



Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Be sure to check back to Timberwolves.com throughout the night for analysis, postgame interviews, highlights and photos from tonight's 95-85 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

End Q4: The Wolves win 95-85 tonight over the Bucks. Really nice way to respond when the Bucks made their run in the third quarter, and Shved's big 3-pointer late in the fourth showed just how fearless he is to take big shots in big moments. Wolves have three days off before taking a two-game road trip to Philly and Boston. Final: MIN 95, PHI 85

Q4 52.9: Shved just iced this game out of the timeout. With the shot clock winding down and the Bucks trapping Love on the sideline near half court, Love flipped it to Shved who drained a 29-footer. Luke Ridnour just hit a pair of free throws on the Wolves' next possession, and it's 94-81 w/ less than a minute to play. Nice showing here for the Wolves playing a division-leading team who came in 4-2 on the road. MIN 94, MIL 81

Q4 1:31: It's not quite over yet, as the Bucks are showing life late in the fourth. It was a 13-point lead a minute ago, but the Bucks have scored five straight points punctuated by Brandon Jennings intercepting a floating pass to the middle by Alexey Shved and cashing in for 3. It's 89-81 coming out of the timeout and the Wolves have the ball. MIN 89, MIL 81

Q4 2:34: JJ Barea just did some work on the Wolves' second to last possession. He flew in for an offensive rebound about eight feet from the hoop, regrouped and unleashed a running jumper in the lane that gave the Wolves an 11-point lead. On Minnesota's next possession, Ridnour scored on a baseline jumper that made it a 13-point advantage. We've got 2:34 left. MIN 87, MIL 74

Q4 5:43: Alexey Shved continues to impress each night he's on the floor, and he's quickly becoming a Target Center fan favorite. Shved just connected on another 3-pointer. He's 3-of-5 tonight from distance and has 13 points tonight. The Wolves have four players in double-figures, including Love with 15 pts/14 reb, Barea with 13 pts/5 assists and Pek with 12 pts/14 reb. Wolves by eight with 5:43 left. MIN 77, MIL 69

Q4 7:54: Minnesota's perimeter shooting was effective in the first half, but it's been a different story here in the second. The Wolves were 4-of-6 from distance at the half, but in the first 16 minutes of the second half they're 2-of-10. They held a three point lead as Joel Przybilla headed to the line and missed both free throws. Side Note: Przybilla continues to get booed pretty heavily by the Minnesota faithful each time he plays here at Target Center. Old Gopher wounds.... MIN 72, MIN 69

Q4 8:45: Alexey Shved just picked up a nice steal on the defensive end and took it coast to coast aggressively for the lay-in, and the Wolves have a 72-69 lead with 8:45 left in the fourth. The Bucks hold a 6-4 edge in the quarter so far and are tightening up their defense this half. Minnesota is shooting 36.6 percent from the field tonight. MIN 72, MIL 69

End Q3: We're in familiar territory here, as the Wolves enter the fourth quarter with a five point lead at 68-63. The Wolves have led after three in four of their last five games, and they're 1-4 in those contests. This will be a big 12 minutes for this team. They weathered the Bucks' third quarter run, as Milwaukee cut Minnesota's lead from 10 down to two late in the frame. But Minnesota responded with a 3-pointer by Derrick Williams and a late jumper by JJ Barea that brought the lead up to five. Ellis and Jennings have 28 points tonight, and they will be a big factor in this fourth quarter. MIN 68, MIL 63

Q3 2:21: The Wolves and Bucks combined for five field goals in the first 8 1/2 minutes of the third quarter, but unfortunately for Minnesota the Bucks broke that trend with a pair of back-to-back baskets that cut the Wolves' lead to two. Mike Dunleavy's 3-pointer from the wing made it a 63-61 game, and we've got a jump ball coming up. MIN 63, MIL 61

Q3 5:56: The Bucks came out on a quick 7-3 run to start the third trying to cut into the Wolves' 10-point lead, but Minnesota has responded and brought the lead back to a 63-54 advantage. Kevin Love continues to try and get his 3-pointers to fall here, and he's getting close. His most recent attempt rimmed out, and he threw his hands in the air in disbelieve that it's not falling. He's 1-of-5 tonight. Pek has his double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. The Wolves are being outscored 6-0 this quarter in the paint. MIN 63, MIL 54

End Q2: JJ Barea just sent the Timberwolves into the locker room with a double-digit lead. After Jennings cut the lead to seven with a drive to the hoop with 3.2 seconds on the clock, Barea connected on a pretty well-defended 3-pointer that fell at the buzzer. Pekovic and Love are leading the way with 12 points each, Barea has 11 and Shved has six off the bench. The Wolves are statistically in last place in 3-point efficiency this season, but they're shooting 4-of-6 tonight from distance. Ellis has 11 for the Bucks, and Jennings and Dalembert each have 10. The Wolves' troubles this season have come in the second half, and the fourth quarters have been particularly difficult in the last five games. A strong start to the third would go a long way. Halftime: MIN 57, MIL 47

Q2 2:42: This scrappy Bucks team is hanging around even after the Wolves pushed the lead to six moments ago. Monta Ellis just made a nice drive to the basket and scored to bring Milwaukee to within two at 45-43. Minnesota has done a nice job limiting the Bucks' second chance points and their fast break points this quarter. Milwaukee doesn't have any second chance points and only have two points in transition. MIN 45, MIL 43

Q2 5:48: This is a matchup of statistically the two bottom 3-point shooting teams in the league, but the Wolves have made good on their few attempts tonight. Adelman talked pregame about how he is happy with the looks Minnesota is getting, but the shots haven't been falling. Tonight they're 3-of-4, an efficient rate for a team trying to find its stroke. Shved is 2-of-3 from distance, both coming in this second quarter. It's helped Minnesota open up a 41-38 lead with 5:48 left in the frame. The Bucks are 2-of-7 from distance tonight. MIN 41, MIL 38

Q2 8:12: Pretty drastically different scenarios for D-Will on back-to-back possessions early in the second. He was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and only hit 1-of-3 foul shots, but on the next possession he came back with an aggressive hoop and the foul. He made the free throw and has four on the night. Wolves up two coming out of the timeout. MIN 38, MIL 36

End Q1: Barea's shot on the Wolves final possession of the quarter didn't fall, and Minnesota trails 30-29 after the first. Not a bad shooting quarter through most of the first 12 minutes for the Wolves, although they did finish the frame at 44 percent. Pek has been the key so far. He's got 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting and has been to the line for four attempts. He also has eight rebounds, four coming on the offensive end. He could hit a double-double early in the second. No bench points yet for Minnesota, although Shved, Cunningham and Williams have each gotten minutes late in the frame. So far the Bucks' back court has 14 of the team's 30 points. Wolves open up second with Ridnour, Shved, D-Will, Cunningham and Stiemsma. MIL 30, MIN 29

Q1 2:14: Two straight turnovers by JJ Barea led to Milwaukee grabbing a 26-23 lead here late in the first quarter. The Bucks are holding two distinct advantages early on here: They're leading 10-0 in second chance points and they've got a 10-2 lead in fast break points. Minnesota talked at shootaround about how it's important to keep the Bucks from getting out and running, but their three turnovers early have done just that. On the offensive end, Pek is getting quite a few opportunities in the paint. He's got 8 points on 3-of-5 shooting and has been to the line four times (2-of-4). MIL 26, MIN 23

Q1 5:54: Even with Pekovic and Love on the court, the Bucks have been owning the offensive boards here in the first quarter. They hold a 4-0 edge in that category, and that's led to eight second chance points. John Henson has been the culprit early. He's got three offensive rebounds and five boards overall. Brandon Jennings is 2-of-3 with a 3-pointer, and he leads Milwaukee with five points. For the Wolves, JJ Barea orchestrated a nice kickout to Kevin Love on the wing for a 3-pointer early, and Love is tied with Pekovic with five points. Minnesota starts this game 7-of-10 from the field. Josh Howard just hit a pair of free throws to give the Wolves a one-point lead. MIN 18, MIL 17

Pregame 7:00 PM: A late scratch tonight is Malcom Lee with a sore left groin. In his place JJ Barea is starting at the 2. Interesting move here having the team's top two point guards starting side-by-side. Will make rotations to the bench tough. Here are the starters.

Bucks: PG-Brandon Jennings, SG-Monta Ellis, SF-Tobias Harris, PF-John Henson, C-Samuel Dalembert. Wolves: PG-Luke Ridnour, SG-JJ Barea, SF-Josh Howard, PF-Kevin Love, C-Nikola Pekovic.

Pregame 6:45 PM: We're about 20 minutes away from tipoff here at Target Center, and the Bucks and Wolves are taking the court for pregame warm-ups. We'll be back with official starting lineups in about 15 minutes as well as the opening tip. Again, Kevin Love is in uniform and will play tonight for the Wolves.

Pregame 6:20 PM: Update: Kevin Love will play tonight against the Bucks. Big boost for the Wolves having his presence in there. He missed shootaround this morning due to illness.

Pregame 6:15 PM: Still no word on whether or not Kevin Love will play tonight—coach Rick Adelman said he had no idea during his pregame media availability. But Love was dressed in practice gear and headed out to the court for pregame workouts, so there is a chance he’ll be ready to go tonight.

Adelman talked about Ellis and Jennings a bit during pregame, noting they’re two very good players who attack. They’re capable of putting up big numbers, and it will be a challenge for the Wolves to handle those two guards tonight as they have had trouble with dynamic back courts over the past two weeks.

These two teams currently rank 29th (Milwaukee) and 30th (Minnesota) in 3-point percentage, so connecting from distance might be a challenge tonight. Adelman did say he is satisfied with the looks the team is getting from deep, but the shots have not fallen so far this season.

“Guys who have a history of shooting the ball well have not knocked down shots,” Adelman said. “It could be they’re just rushing it. We’ve gotten good looks out there.”

Adelman said in the NBA opposing teams will not let you do what you want to do, so you need to find a way to counter what they’re giving you. A lot of times that includes swinging it out to the wing on dribble penetration, and guys have to take and make those open shots.

“If your guys are struggling, you’re going to struggle as a team,” Adelman said.

Pregame 3:30 PM: Welcome back to Target Center, where the Wolves will face the Milwaukee Bucks tonight in their first home game since Nov. 21 against Denver. Tonight’s game will be on My29 and 830 WCCO-AM, and you can follow along and chat about tonight’s game right here in Timberwolves.com’s live in-game blog.

The Wolves will for sure be without small forward Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms) tonight, and power forward Kevin Love missed this morning’s shootaround due to illness. He is questionable and will be a gametime decision tonight. Without Love and AK, the Wolves will need to make up approximately 22 rebounds per game as well as their production on the offensive end. Josh Howard started for AK last game in Los Angeles, and Derrick Wiliams started each of the nine games Love missed while recovering from a broken hand.

The Bucks lead the league in fast-break points and are first in field goals per game, second in assists per game and third in assists/turnover ratio. The Wolves hope to slow them down and make sure guards Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings don’t get into too many transition situations.

Both teams are looking for a victory, as Minnesota is 1-6 in its last seven and Milwaukee is 1-4 in its last five.

Here are a few pregame notes for tonight’s game:

  • The Wolves lead in the series, 25-19, and are 15-7 at home. Minnesota's .568 winning percentage in the series is its second-best versus any opponent (Vancouver/Memphis, .606).


  • Milwaukee has won four of the last five meetings between the two clubs. Fourteen of the last 19 games in the series have been decided by six points or less.


  • The Wolves rank 6th in the NBA in scoring defense, allowing just 93.14 points per game, 9th in opponents' field goal percentage at 43.7% and 7th in blocked shots at 6.79 bpg.


  • Kevin Love has recorded a double-double in all five games he's played in this season. He grabbed an NBA season-high 24 rebounds, including a personal-best 21 defensive boards, Nov. 27 at Sacramento. He also had 23 points in that game, notching the 16th 20/20 game of his career.


  • Andrei Kirilenko continues to fill the box score this season, averaging 13.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.85 blocks and 1.54 steals. He ranks 23rd in the NBA in field goal percentage at 50.8% (60-for-118), 13th in blocked shots and 22nd in steals.


  • Alexey Shved has scored in double-digits in six games this season. He has scored 74 of his 140 points (52.9%) in the fourth quarter. Overall, he ranks 6th among rookies in scoring (10.0) and 2nd in assists (3.6).


  • The Wolves have attempted more free throws than their opposition in 10 of 14 games this season, holding a per-game advantage of 27.1 - 20.1.


  • Milwaukee has a 7-6 record, including 4-2 on the road, and is in 1st place in the Central Division.


  • The Bucks rank 5th in the NBA in blocked shots at 7.08 bpg, and have allowed the 2nd-fewest blocks (3.38).


  • Brandon Jennings leads the NBA in steals with 2.92 spg. He has had 2+ steals in 10 of 13 games this season, and had a career-high six steals Nov. 2 at Boston. Jennings also ranks 12th in the league with 7.0 assists per game.


  • Monta Ellis ranks 13th in the NBA in scoring at 18.9 ppg. He has recorded two games with 30+ points.


  • The Bucks' bench has outscored their opponent in 10 of 13 games this season, compiling an average advantage of 42.8 to 29.5 points.



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