GameDay: Wolves vs. Celtics | Oct. 20, 2013

GameDay Blog: Wolves 104, Celtics 89

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Final: The Wolves wrapped this one up with a 104-89 win over the Celtics in Montreal. Love finished the game with 22 points and nine boards in 32 minutes of play. K-Mart had 21 points and hit 5-of-8 3-pointers, Rubio had 15 points and seven assists, and Pek had 12 points and seven boards. The Wolves ended this one with A.J. Price, Othyus Jeffers, Shabazz Muhammad, Robbie Hummel and Chris Johnson--getting his first minutes of the preseason--in the game. Tonight's announced crowd was 20,152. Great crowd in Montreal. Big thanks to everyone who came and made this a fun, energetic atmosphere. More on coming tonigh (once I get internet access), so stay tuned for that later this evening or when you wake up tomorrow morning. MIN 104, BOS 89

Q4 3:25: I take that last post back. After that timeout, we had Rubio, Martin, Love and Pek all re-enter the game playing with Brewer at the 3. The Wolves opened up a 20-point lead here and are up 102-82 with 3:25 left. MIN 102, BOS 82

Q4 8:04: We might have seen the last of the starters tonight, as all of them played at least 23 minutes with Love (30) and Rubio (28) leading the way. MIN 87, BOS 78

End Q3: The Wolves extended their lead to nine here at the end of the third. Martin has 19 points, followed by Love with 18, Rubio with 12 and Pek with 10. D-Will has five and seven tonight. To start the fourth, the Wolves are starting the frame with Barea, Shved, Brewer, DC and Turiaf. For the Celtics, Wallace leads the way with 16 while Green has 12, Bradley has 11 and Bass has 10. MIN 81, BOS 72

Q3 3:26: Pek has four personal fouls and Turiaf checked in for him right before this timeout. He's been caught in a couple offensive foul situations, so he'll likely get some rest here. Four Wolves are in double-figures scoring--all of which are in the starting lineup. The only starter not in double digits is D-Will, who is 2-of-5 with five points. But he does have seven boards tonight. Minnesota shooting 40 percent as a whole. Rubio is 4-of-8 with 11 points and six assists. MIN 73, BOS 66

Q3 5:40: Minnesota is only clinging to a five-point lead right now, but we've seen a few things this quarter that are again encouraging of how the starting give are coming together. Rubio drained a 3-pointer, had a nice drive and lay-in and followed both of those up with a sweet drive and dish to Derrick Williams, who promptly scored on a reverse, two-handed jam. Kevin Martin just drained his fourth 3-pointer of the night, making him 4-of-6 from distance. Pekovic is 3-of-4 tonight, too, with 10 points. MIN 71, BOS 66

Halftime: The Wolves are holding a six-point lead here in Montreal as we head into the half. Love is leading the way with 16 points on 3-of-7 shooting tonight, while Kevin Martin has 11. Pek and Rubio each have six. The Wolves are 6-of-15 from 3-point range, but their fast start was impressive from beyond the arc. Martin and Love are a combined 5-for-10 from distance. For the Celtics, Wallace has 12 on 5-of-9 shooting, Green has nine and Bass has eight. On an unrelated note, Boston is about 5 hours away by car from Montreal. There are a lot of Celtics fans hanging out here tonight, which makes it a great atmosphere. We've got pretty much a packed house here in Montreal. I heard last night from the lady at the box office that there was a lot of buzz surrounding this NBA Canada Series game in town, and she was right. Lots of fun. Looking forward to the second half. MIN 57, BOS 51

Q2 2:37: Pek just threw Jared Sullinger halfway across the court, not by design but the two got tangled up and the younger Celtics center went flying. Unfortunately for the Wolves, Pek got called for the offensive foul in the process. But on the bright side, Pek is living up to his reputation as one of the strongest players in the NBA. Meanwhile, the Wolves are holding onto a three-point lead as we close out the first half. MIN 50, BOS 47

Q2 7:53: The Wolves' reserves are holding onto this seven-point lead here as we near the midway point of the second quarter. The other thing of note here is we've had two delay of game fouls to go along with the four we had last game at Target Center. They changed the rules this year and teams who have just scored can't touch the ball for more than a brief moment after scoring. Teams are getting a lesson in this during the preseason with all the technical fouls being attempted. On another note, during the timeout the attention was directed over to Robert Parish, who is sitting courtside tonight for the game. The Chief got an incredibly warm reception here in Montreal. On the court, meanwhile, Shved is 2-of-3 and is 1-of-2 from 3-point range. MIN 41, BOS 34

End Q1: After 1, the Wolves have a 31-27 lead after Minnesota-native Kris Humphries drained a midrange jumper with 2.9 left on the clock. The Wolves played their starters for about 10 minutes if the first quarter together then tapped into their reserves, but Love didn't come out of the game once in the period. Love and Martin each finished with 11 points to lead the team after 1, and each had three 3-pointers. MIN 31, BOS 27

Q1 1:57: We're seeing some strong shooting from outside tonight by the Wolves, which certainly bodes well and was the vision of this team's offseason moves. Kevin Martin and Kevin Love each have three 3-pointers, and Martin's hit a pair in the last minute. His latest connections from outside helped quash a 11-3 Boston run, as Minnesota holds onto a four-point lead late in the first. MIN 27, BOS 23

6:00: The Wolves open up strong here in the first quarter with 7-of-12 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 from 3-point land. The latest 3-pointer from K-Mart puts the Wolves up 18-7 midway through the first quarter. Love also has a pair of 3-pointers tonight. The other thing of note is we're seeing a much faster, cohesive start by this starting five than we've seen in much of this preseason. The Wolves said all week they've begun feeling more like they are comfortable with one another, and it looks that way early. MIN 18, BOS 7


PG-Avery Bradley, SG-Courtney Lee, SF-Gerald Wallace, PF-Brandon Bass, C-Jared Sullinger

Wolves: PG-Ricky Rubio, SG-Kevin Martin, SF-Derrick Williams, PF-Kevin Love, C-Nikola Pekovic

4:35 PM: Wolves coach Rick Adelman’s big emphasis in pregame was trying to figure out the team’s rotation at the 3. It sounds like Derrick Williams will start tonight at small forward along with the regular starters, including shooting guard Kevin Martin. Expect that 3 spot to rotate throughout the next few games as Adelman tries to figure out what works best. Then, once Chase Budinger returns from injury, he’ll need to work on that rotation once again.

Right now, it sounds like he thinks Corey Brewer’s energy off the bench could be a nice way to transition from the starting five into the reserves.

“I’ve got to get people there to figure out where we’re going in that direction,” Adelman said.

“Maybe having Corey come off the bench might be a good thing. I have no idea. We’re trying to figure it out.”

As for the rest of the starters, Adelman said there is a good chance that Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio will play extended minutes tonight. Nikola Pekovic could do the same, but he didn’t sound as definitive in that department. K-Mart will also be a guy that is touch-and-feel—he hasn’t played in two full games since pulling up with a sore right Achilles on Oct. 9 at Toronto.

It sounds like tonight will be a pretty fluid situation for the Wolves’ coaching staff as they try to figure out their rotation.

4:20 PM: Greetings from Montreal, where the Wolves are getting set to face the Boston Celtics tonight t Bell Centre. About 17 hours ago, this arena was just wrapping up a Montreal Canadiens hockey game, but it’s completely switched over to an NBA-ready court and will be the host of tonight’s NBA Canada Series matchup.

The Wolves didn’t shoot around this morning, but the Celtics did use their allotted time on the court to fine tune a few things heading into tonight. This will be the first time the Timberwolves will see the new-look Celtics, which essentially are rebuilding after a successful run in the KG-Paul Pierce-Doc Rivers era. Now, aside from injured point guard Rajon Rondo, this entire roster is turned over from the 2008 NBA title run and is looking to start anew.

That begins with coach Brad Stevens, who rose to national prominence thanks to his work at Butler. His squads reached back-to-back NCAA championship games, and in the process he became a name flirted around for major college program gigs as well as a coach that could jump to the NBA. He eventually chose the latter. Now he’s learning the NBA style on the fly, but he said he’s adjusting to the challenge.

“It’s funny because I found myself early on trying to be more focused on being-NBA ready and found myself the last two weeks trying to be more focused on being me,” Stevens said. “I think I’m just better at the second, so NBA readiness will come as it comes. I think you’ve just got to focus on what you do and how it best fits your personality.”

Stevens is one of nine rookie coaches in the league this year, and tonight he’ll be facing the man with the most active coaching victories in the NBA. Rick Adelman sits at 1,002 to start the regular season, and his longevity is something Stevens and the other rookie coaches aspire to have.

Steven said he hadn’t really focused in on Adelman’s style of play until the past couple days, but he’s incredibly aware of Adelman’s accomplishments and his reputation around the league.

“You can see why he has such great success,” Steven said. “I think there are people in this game that have figured out all the details about being creative and also being very complex while maintaining the simplicity bout them. He seems like one of those guys. I have a lot of respect for him.”

Two things that stood out to Stevens about the Wolves is their ability to score from all positions—he said they’re beyond 10 deep in that regard—while also being forces up front with Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic. Those guys, Stevens said, get their own way most of the time around the glass and as opponents you need to be ready defensively.

If you’re not, it poses bigger problems.

“If you’re surprised when the play comes to them, you might be sitting in the fourth row,” Stevens said.

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