GameDay Blog: Wolves vs. Bucks | Oct. 10, 2013

GameDay Blog: Wolves vs. Bucks | Oct. 10, 2013



Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Final: The Wolves had a slow start, bounced back big time in the second and third and held on to win 98-89 tonight in Sioux Falls over the Bucks. Jeffers finishes with 13, Shabazz with 11, and Hummel, Price and Pek with 10. More to come on Timberwolves.com tonight. MIN 98, MIL 89

Q4 1:02: Gorgui Dieng is putting together a nice little game here. He's got six points, seven boards and three blocks tonight while shooting 3-of-6 from the field. He just had a tip-in that put the Wolves up seven with a little over a minute left. MIN 96, MIL 89

Q4 2:47: Still very much in doubt here. Coming out of this timeout the Wolves are leading 92-89. MIN 92, MIL 89

Q4 5:07: We've still got a 3-point lead here with 5 minutes to go. Nate Wolters just hit a 25-foot 3-pointer to cut the Wolves lead to 1, but Dieng came back with a jumper that put Minnesota back up by three. Lots of back and forth ball this half. Look for that to continue late into this game. MIN 88, MIL 85

Q4 8:41: The Wolves are clinging to a five-point edge right now, and they're continuing to go with Price, Jeffers, Shabazz, Hummel and Gorgui in the fourth. There have been no signs of D-Will, Ronny or Chris Johnson so far in this game. Will keep you posted if they get some action. MIN 80, MIL 75

End Q3: We are through three quarters here with the Wolves up 75-71. Pek leads the team in scoring with 10 points, while Muhammad, Jeffers, Shved and Brewer all have nine. Minnesota ended the quarter 6-of-6 from the 3-point line. As we start the fourth, Adelman is going with Price, Jeffers, Muhammad, Hummel and Dieng. MIN 75, MIL 71

Q3 2:42: The Wolves are making it rain from 3 right now. They were 1-of-7 at the half from distance, but this quarter they are 6-of-6 this quarter. The latest came from A.J. Price, who was wide open after Shved penetrated the lane and swung the ball out to him on the wing. The Wolves are showing pretty good ball movement out of their reserves. Right now Price, Jeffers, Muhammad, Hummel and Dieng are on the court. Hummel has played mostly 4 tonight. MIN 70, MIN 61

Q3 5:55: The Wolves are starting to connect from deep here in the third. We've had 3-pointers from Shved, Barea and two from Brewer--one from each corner--as the Wolves open up a 62-57 lead midway through the quarter. Minnesota is 5-of-11 from distance tonight, but they've made their last four attempts. Meanwhile, Nate Wolters fell hard while scoring on the fast break and drawing a foul from DC. He got up and shook it off much to the crowd's delight. Wolters has five points on 1-of-3 shooting. MIN 62, MIL 57

Halftime: The Wolves and Bucks are tied 46-46 at the half after a series of runs there in the final four minutes of the half. Out of the 13 players who have entered, the Wolves have 12 players on the scoreboard right now. Jeffers leads the team with nine points, while Pek has eight and Hummel and Shabazz each have five. Butler (13) and Henson (10) are leading the way for the Bucks. So far a really nice atmosphere here at The Pentagon with support divided between the Timberwolves and Nate Wolters. Should be a good second half. Stay tuned... MIN 46, MIL 46

Q2 2:25: Both teams trading runs here late in the second. Milwaukee went on a 7-0 run that put the Bucks back up 40-38, but Minnesota just matched that with a 6-0 run of its own to make this a 44-40 game. A.J. Price ended that 7-0 Bucks run with a nice drive and score, and he also just hit Dante Cunningham for a sweet fast-break dunk that pushed the Wolves' lead to four. Price definitely has experience in this league and can run the point. He'll get a good look from Wolves coaches this preseason. MIN 44, MIL 40

Q2 5:51: A quick time out here under six minutes. Minnesota on a 13-4 run right now in the second quarter and have erased all Milwaukee momentum. The Bucks are running into some turnovers through offensive fouls and such right now. As we come out of the timeout we're getting a look at Lorenzo Brown along with A.J. Price, Shabazz, DC and Pek. MIN 38, MIL 33

Q2 7:34: Nice energy from the group consisting of Barea, Jeffers, Muhammad, Hummel and Dieng/Pek. The Wolves are up 35-31 here as we get into the mid portion of the second. Jeffers with a nice steal and slam--he's showing that defensive intensity each game here this preseason. Shabazz Muhammad is also putting in some good minutes. He's got five points and has been hitting the offensive boards. MIN 37, MIL 33

End Q1: The Wolves head into the second down 29-25, and they put together a nice little run there to cut the lead after a bit of a slow start. Othyus Jeffers is leading the way with six points for Minnesota, while Shabazz Muhammad added four in the first. Pek also has four. Seven different players have scored for Minnesota, and despite that quick burst by the Bucks to start the game, Minnesota is very much in this heading into the second. MIL 29, MIN 25

Q1 4:09: Following that 15-4 start, the Wolves slowed the Bucks down a bit and cut the lead to eight late in the first. We've gotten to see Gorgui Dieng and Othyus Jeffers check in so far for Minnesota, and on the Bucks side we've seen Giannis Antetokounmpo (can I call him Giannis Alphabet for short?) for a brief moment. He has a ton of promise as an 18-year-old from Greece. Watch him as he devleops. Very raw but also very talented. MIL 23, MIN 15

Q1 5:42: Well, Wolters got the start and got a nice shout from the crowd every time he touched the ball during the first few minutes. He exited the game about 4 minutes in as Brandon Knight entered the game. But the Bucks benefited from the energy boost it seems, as they opened up a 15-4 lead right off the bat. The Wolves opened up the game shooting 0-for-6 and didn't get their first field goal until Ricky Rubio found a cutting Corey Brewer on the baseline for 2. The Wolves are down nine right now as Alexey Shved goes to the line for an and-1. Minnesota is starting to chip away at this lead here. Pek leads the way with four points. MIL 19, MIN 10

Starters:

Wolves:
PG-Ricky Rubio, SG-Alexey Shved, SF-Corey Brewer, PF-Kevin Love, C-Nikola Pekovic

Bucks PG-Nate Wolters, SG-O.J. Mayo, SF-Caron Butler, PF-John Henson, C-Larry Sanders

PREGAME 6:45 PM: A couple quick notes here: Rick Adelman said that Kevin Martin will not play tonight as a precaution from suffering a sore Achilles last night in Toronto. Adelman said that all other players will be available, but their amount of playing time will be at his discretion. The Wolves did play last night and back-to-backs in preseason is a little aggressive. With Love and Rubio playing 26 minutes each last night, I'd expect to see them in a more limited role tonight. Meanwhile, Chris Johnson hasn't played yet this preseason. Watch for him tonight.

A reminder tonight's game is on FSN Plus. Tom Hanneman is on the court right now leading the pregame show. Another thing to watch for is #Woltersgeddon....this crowd is full of South Dakota State fans, and the Bucks have Nate Wolters--an incredibly beloved Jackrabbits alum. I have seen tons of SDSU shirts and Wolters shirts. Bucks coach Larry Drew has tiptoed around the idea of starting Wolters here tonight, so watch for that. He said it will be a gametime decision, and he won't tell Wolters until right before tip.

PREGAME 4:20 PM: I asked Bucks coach Larry Drew today about Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the funny thing about his response is it was exactly what I heard about the rookie from Greece when he was a prospect heading into the 2013 NBA Draft: "He is intriguing."

Some scouts' evaluation of Antetokounmpo is that he's a raw, young player who has a skill set that could lead to tremendous possibilities. He's a 6-foot-9, 205-pound wing who also has a 7-foot-3 wingspan. He can score in the paint, has a good handle and excellent body control. He is also 18 years old and needs to work on his perimeter game as well as his outside defense. But he got a lot of time in the Bucks' preseason opener against the Cavs, and if he continues to develop he will be an "intriguing" player to watch this season.

“He’s still got a lot to learn,” Drew said. “We have to continue to work with him, you know, the language barrier is something we’re going to have to work through to work with him. But I’ve been very pleased with what we’ve seen so far from him. Again, he’s 18 years old. He’s still learning.”

He had 14 points, four boards, three blocks and two steals in his NBA debut over a span of 29 minutes. He also had five turnovers, but Drew said he played with poise in his first NBA game. It's important to remember just how young he is, and that he's coming from Greece and speaking a different language.

"Coming from another country, that has to be overwhelming itself," Drew said. "But he has seems to have found himself very well. His teammates, the organization have really embraced him from Day 1. And I think he’ll just get better and better. I think he’ll get more and more confident the more he plays."

PREGAME 4:00 PM: So I just wanted to send out a couple thoughts about The Pentagon here in Sioux Falls. The place looks like it will be a great facility for AAU hoops, JO volleyball or anything else that youth sports wish to host in bulk. As a former high school reporter, this is the type of facility fans and players will enjoy coming to. It just so happens it doubles as a pro hoops facility, and from what I've been told this week the Wolves played a role in helping design some of the things inside in order to make it an NBA-friendly destination in the preseason. I personally counted five courts and 26 available hoops not counting the Heritage Court when it's shifted into practice mode. The place can hold a lot of games and practices.

From an atmosphere perspective, the quaintness of the building should really create a nice atmosphere tonight. It should be sold out, and it feels like you're playing in a really fancy, state-of-the-art gymnasium with a flashy parquet floor and throwback clocks. Bucks coach Larry Drew genuinely looked impressed with the facility when he looked around at shootaround, and he said as much. The Wolves didn't shootaround, but the organization's marketing and game ops crew are in there right now getting prepared for the evening. They took the bus down this morning.

Also of note, Luke Ridnour had a chance to meet with a couple guys on the Wolves' training staff this morning as they got the locker room prepped for tonight. I also got a chance to catch up with him. Always a great guy to cover, and his professionalism is always there. Will be good to see him tonight.

PREGAME 1:15 PM: There was a noticeable contingent of media at this morning’s shootaround waiting around not so much to talk about tonight’s game in general, but to talk with South Dakota State alum Nate Wolters. Yes, there were questions about tonight’s preseason tilt between the Wolves and Bucks (tipoff at 7 PM on Fox Sports North Plus)—much of them pointed at Sioux Falls’ new Sanford Pentagon facility, where the game is being played tonight. But Wolters was the focal point.

With good reason. The rookie point guard helped bring the Jackrabbits program to new heights during his tenure playing 60 miles north of Sioux Falls in Brookings. He led the Jacks to the NCAA tournament and became a fan favorite along the way. So as fate would have it, Wolters found himself in a situation where he will play right in his college’s own back yard.

He is the story line in South Dakota tonight.

“I have a lot of good memories here,” Wolters said. “So it will be fun to see some familiar faces.”

Those faces are coming out droves. Not only will his SDSU coaching staff be on hand, but many of his former players will be around, too. On top of that, he’ll likely be the reason why a collection of fans in this region will likely be wearing yellow and blue tonight. Or at the very least, throwing a few cheers his way

Wolters’ star status right now in South Dakota was not lost on his teammates. Point guard Luke Ridnour joked he hoped Wolters got all the minutes tonight. Bucks coach Larry Drew had a little look in his eye when asked if he’d consider letting Wolters start. He didn’t tip his cap one way or the other, but he did say he wanted tonight to be a special event for Wolters, a St. Cloud native.

Wolters was drafted 38th overall in June’s NBA Draft by the Wizards. He was subsequently traded to the 76ers and then the Bucks. He participated in Summer League in July, and Drew said he’s been progressing very well in his transition to the NBA.

“He’s coming along, he’s learning,” Drew said. “I thought Summer League was really good for him. He’s got a couple guys that are playing in front of him [Ridnour and Brandon Knight] that he can really learn from. He’s been progressing very rapidly.”

Wolters said the game is still moving very fast for him at this point, but he’s comfortable. It’s an adjustment, and the style of play is very different than the college ranks.

He said he’s learning from Ridnour, who is helping him adjust “a ton.”

As for his rock star status?

“It’s pretty crazy,” Wolters said. “I didn’t expect to play another game here, but it will be good. One more, so it will be fun.”

Follow along all day for updates on tonight’s game as they become available throughout the day. I’m set up in Sioux Falls across the street from the Sanford Pentagon, so I’ve got a nice little vantage point of the facility leading up to tipoff.


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.