GameDay Blog: Wolves vs. Kings - Nov. 2, 2012

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Catch Timberwolves.com throughout the night for analysis, highlights and postgame interviews.

End Q4: That's a wrap from Target Center. The Wolves win their regular season opener 92-80 over the Kings, improve to 1-0 on the season. The Kings fall to 0-2. JJ Barea leads the way in this one with 21 points to go with four rebounds and five assists. Brandon Roy and Andrei Kirilenko each had 10 points, Pek, Ridnour, Budinger and Stiemsma had nine. More to come at Timberwolves.com throughout the night. FINAL: MIN 92, SAC 80

Q4 5:53: Tough night offensively continues for Pek, who is 0-for-6 from the floor. He's got four points and five boards. Roy checked in with 7:30 left in the fourth, and at that point he had played 24 minutes. That puts him in line for about 31-32 minutes in his first regular season game, which is about what Adelman targeted heading into the evening. We'll see who gets the minutes to end the game at power forward. Williams started and has eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, while Cunningham has been in much of the second half and is 3-of-4 with six points and six rebounds. Cunningham is out there with Barea, Roy, Budinger and Pek out of the timeout. MIN 77, SAC 72

Q4 8:39: Wolves clinging to a 73-67 lead with just under 9 minutes left in this one. Wolves lagging offensively tonight, shooting 34.7 percent from the field and are 1-for-14 from 3-point land, including 0-for-14 since Ridnour opened up all scoring with a 3-pointer early in the first. Conspicuously missing from the 3-point stat sheet is Chase Budinger who is 0-for-4 after shooting 53 percent from distance in the preseason and finished the final two exhibitions 9-of-13 from beyond the arc. Barea continues to be the spark offensively, and Greg Stiemsma just collected another block to give him 4 for the game. MIN 73, SAC 67

End Q3: The Wolves take a 5-point lead into the fourth thanks to a 12-0 run that changed the complexion of what was a tough third quarter for Minnesota. JJ Barea continues to create a spark, slashing to the basket and getting to the foul line. He's got 16 points and is 6-for-6 from the stripe. Meanwhile, Andrei Kirilenko has 10 points, four rebounds, and three assists. The Kings are living and dying with their production in the paint. When they've got the advantage around the basket they've been able to take control, and they did that to end the second and to begin the third. Since then, though, Minnesota is on a 14-8 run in the paint and has taken the lead heading into the fourth. Isaiah Thomas with 16 points to lead the Kings. MIN 70, SAC 65

Q3 3:33: It's a game of runs, and Minnesota is fighting back after its 18-point lead turned into a five-point deficit earlier in the quarter. Isaiah Thomas went on a roll from distance for a moment, at one point 3-of-4 from 3-point land before air-balling his most recent attempt. Meanwhile, Minnesota is beginning to get stops again and is converting on the offensive end. Its most recent basket was the highlight of the game so far, with Kirilenko finding Dante Cunningham with an alley-oop for the two-handed slam. MIN 62, SAC 61 Q3 6:40 Well, the Kings have their first lead of the ballgame thanks to a jumper by DeMarcus Cousins from the top of the key. That 18-point lead dwindled to a deficit as Sacramento came out of the break on a 14-4 run. Isaiah Thomas connected for the Kings' first 3-pointer of the game thanks to an awfully friendly roll. Thomas just connected again out of the timeout from distance, making it a 58-54 Kings lead. SAC 58, MIN 54

Halftime: The Wolves have a nine-point lead at halftime, but the Kings sprung to life late in the second and stole the momentum in this one. They outscored the Wolves 14-4 in the paint over the final six minutes of the second and turned a once 18-point Wolves lead into a ballgame. Barea leads the team with 10 points, Ridnour has nine and Kirilenko has eight. Minnesota is showing good ball movement so far, as they've collected 11 assists on 19 field goals. For the Kings, Thornton leads the way with 11 points off the bench. So far not much luck on either side from the 3-point line. The Kings (0-of-6) and Wolves (1-of-9) are a combined 1-for-15 from distance. Roy and Budinger, however, have rattled out from distance on multiple occasions. Second half is under way with Ridnour, Roy, AK, Williams and Pek taking the floor for the Wolves. MIN 50, SAC 41

Q2 1:24: The Wolves hold a 12-point lead with about a minute and a half until the break, and in the past few minutes we've gotten a look at all the different ways Kirilenko can impact a game. He's got eight points, but he also just came up with a loose ball and hit an open Luke Ridnour for the score. Meanwhile, Derrick Williams is looking aggressive so far tonight both on the glass and getting to the basket. He's got four rebounds and is drawing fouls--he's 2-of-4 from the line tonight. MIN 50, SAC 37

Q2 5:57: Barea continues to lead the way while he's in the game. He now has 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. The Wolves also have opened up a 24-14 advantage in points in the paint, likely in part because Cousins is on the bench with three fouls. He picked them up in just nine minutes of work. MIN 40, SAC 25

Q2 8:37: The last few minutes have been all Greg Stiemsma and JJ Barea. Stiemsma has six points, two rebounds, a steal and a block in 4:34 of work tonight, plus he just drew an offensive foul on DeMarcus Cousins, who now had three in the game. Barea is providing a nice spark off the bench. With 10:30 left in the second he chased down a rebound near the sideline, took the ball down the court and scored on a reverse baseline lay-up. He then connected on another fast-break lay-up. He's got seven points on 4-of-5 shooting while also adding three assists in seven minutes of work. MIN 38, SAC 23

End Q1: The Wolves take a 28-18 lead into the second quarter thanks to a last-second score by Greg Stiemsma, who was credited with the basket due to a goal tend. The Wolves have now held their opponents to fewer than 20 points in five of their last nine quarters dating back to the Detroit and Milwaukee preseason games to end the exhibition slate. Derrick Williams leads the team with 7 points on 3-of-5 shooting, while Kirilenko has six and Ridnour has five. Roy still leads the team with four assists and has been doing a good job facilitating the ball so far. Pekovic has five boards and is doing a nice job cleaning up around the glass. As we start the second quarter, the Wolves end out Barea, Shved, Budinger, Cunningham and Stiemsma. MIN 28, SAC 18.

Q1 3:47: Andrei Kirilenko is 2-for-2 from the floor and added a pair of free throws to lead all scorers with six points so far as the Wolves hold an 18-10 lead. The Wolves started out 4-of-6 from the floor but have since gone 3-for-10 since. The Wolves are showing good ball movement so far and have a 6-1 advantage in assists, but Sacramento has the 4-0 edge in points in the paint. Chase Budinger and Alexey Shved just checked in as the first two subs of the night for the Wolves. MIN 18, SAC 10

Q1 9:28: Well, we've found ourselves a niche for Brandon Roy early in this game. The Wolves opened up play 4-of-6 from the field in the first 2:30, and Roy has assists on all four field goals. Nice start for him as he made the extra pass to hit Luke Ridnour for a corner 3 on the team's first possession, then hit Derrick Williams for two baskets followed by a lay-up by Ridnour just moments ago. Cousins has both baskets for Sacramento so far, as Minnesota has a five-point lead. MIN 9, SAC 4

Pregame: 7 PM: Really cool intro here at Target Center as we get ready to go here for tipoff. The Wolves put together an introductory video that showed the new additions to the team, then panned to Rubio and Love after saying more pieces "are on the way." The crowd is looking good here at tipoff, still some open seats but we're not quite under way. Here are tonight's starters. Sacramento: PG-Isaiah Thomas, SG-Tyreke Evans, SF-James Johnson, PF-Jason Thompson, C-DeMarcus Cousins. Minnesota: PG-Luke Ridnour, SG-Brandon Roy, SF-Andrei Kirilenko, PF-Derrick Williams, C-Nikola Pekovic.

Make sure to CLICK HERE to watch Alan Horton's sit-down interview with Rick Adelman assessing the Wolves as they enter the 2012-13 NBA season.

Pregame – 6:30 PM: Greetings from Target Center, where we’re about a half hour away from the Wolves and Kings tipping off in Minnesota’s regular season opener. Moments ago Wolves coach Rick Adelman said Derrick Williams will get the start at power forward, saying he thinks that is what’s best for the team at this point. He said he likes the energy Dante Cunningham brings off the bench, and the Wolves are hoping Williams can bring scoring to start the game and get Minnesota off to a strong start.

Sacramento coach Keith Smart said in pregame that despite the Wolves missing Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, that sometimes makes it more difficult to prepare for a club because the Wolves are missing two of their key pieces. In particular, it makes it harder to prepare for defending in late-game situations because you never know who is going to get the ball at any given time. Smart said he expects the Wolves to be scrappy, get into transition basket situations and play hard because of the type of character players they have on the team.

For fans not in the metro and who don’t get My29, check your listings for Fox Sports North+. If your provider is a full-time host for FSN+, you should be getting the Wolves game tonight. If you are in an event-only market, you should still get it but check with your provider to make sure.

Other notes:

  • The Wolves lead in the series, 45-44, including a 28-16 record at home. The Kings have won nine of the last 14 games in the series. That includes the two teams split the four-game 2011-12 series, with the home team winning each game. The Wolves have previously opened the season five times against Sacramento, losing in 1995 at ARCO Arena and 1999 at Tokyo Dome and winning in 2006, 2008 and 2010 at Target Center.


  • The Wolves have a 13-10 record on Opening Night and a 15-8 record in Home Openers -- tonight marks the 12th straight year the Wolves have opened the season at home.


  • The Wolves have eight new faces on this year's Opening Night roster and seven returning players. The current roster averages 3.6 years of NBA experience and has an average age of 26.5 years -- compared to 3.7 and 25.3 in 2011-12 and 2.7 and 24.2 in 2010-11.


  • The Wolves led the NBA during the preseason in scoring defense (80.9), opponents FG% (38.3%) and point differential (+11.6).


  • Chase Budinger finished the preseason on fire from the 3-point line, going 9-for-11 (81.8%) from downtown in the last two games. Overall, he was 17-for-32 (53.1%) from beyond the arc during the preseason.


  • Tipoff is just moments away, and we’ll update the starting lineups as soon as they’re officially set. The 2012-13 season is almost under way.


    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com