GameDay Blog: Wolves vs. Maccabi Bazan Haifa - Oct. 16, 2012




Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Make sure to check back at Timberwolves.com for more updates, game highlights and postgame interviews/analysis throughout the evening.

End Q4: It's all over from Target Center. The Wolves rallied off a big second half and rolled to a 114-81 win over Maccabi Bazan Haifa. Kevin Love finished up with 24 points and eight rebounds, while Brandon Roy finished with 19 points and finished 9-of-10 from the line. Kirilenko finished with 13 points and seven boards, and Barea and Cunningham each had 11 points. The Wolves' next game is Friday on the road against Chicago. MIN 114, MAC 81

Q4 - 2:41: This one is about wrapped up here at Target Center. The Wolves headed into the second half up 45-42, but in the second half so far they've outscored Maccabi Haifa 63-36. Coach Rick Adelman has sent 15 players into the game tonight, and of them 13 have scored. Right now Conroy, Shved, Taylor, Williams and Harris on the floor. MIN 108, MAC 78

Q4 - 5:49: Will Conroy, Jermaine Taylor and Mike Harris all check in for the Wolves as Minnesota holds a 30-point lead with less than a quarter to play. Conroy just went to the line after a nice basket-and-1 opportunity just before the timeout. One really efficient player in tonight's game for the Wolves was Dante Cunningham. Cunningham played just 13 minutes but finished 5-of-6 from the field with 11 points and four boards, and he was responsible for three of the flashiest plays of the night. The latest highlight-reel two being a put-back slam off a JJ Barea miss and a monster alley-oop he received from D-Will and slammed home. Nice night for Cunningham. MIN 103, MAC 73

Q4 - 9:04: Budinger continues to impress with his shooting. He's 3-of-5 tonight and is 2-of-2 from 3-point land for eight points in 14 minutes off the bench. If teams give him open looks this year, he could hit some important shots for the Wolves in 2012-13. Meanwhile, JJ Barea has a quiet seven assists in 18 minutes of work and has also hit a pair of 3-pointers. Between Budinger and Barea, they're shooting 4-of-5 from 3-point land, while the rest of the team is shooting 3-of-10. MIN 92, MAC 67

End Q3: At the end of the third, the Wolves have opened up a 21-point lead--their biggest of the night. A lot of that is due to a big third quarter from Brandon Roy, who finished with 14 points in 10 minutes of work, and a strong performance from Love. Love now has a game-high 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting and is also knocking on the door of a double-double with eight rebounds. He played all 12 minutes of the third quarter. Pekovic has 10 points and nine boards. Meanwhile, Maccabi Haifa continues to get itself into foul trouble. The Wolves are shooting 29-for-35 from the line tonight, and one Haifa player--center Alex Chubrevich--fouled out with a minute left in the third. Wolves looking to ice this one with some reserves in beginning the fourth: Barea, Shved, Budinger, Cunningham and Stiemsma. MIN 84, MAC 63

Q3 - 2:17: Another corner 3-pointer by Roy, this one again the product of solid ball movement by the Wolves. Love hit Barea on the wing, who made a quick bounce pass to Roy who connected from deep. He's now got 17 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Throughout the preseason he's been consistent in getting to the free-throw line and he's 7-of-8 tonight from the stripe. Meanwhile, Love has 19 points and six rebounds, and Pekovic is a rebound away from his second straight double-double (10 points, nine reb). Stoll continues to lead the way for Maccabi Haifa. He's got 17 points, and he hasn't been afraid to shoot from deep. He's 3-of-9 from behind the arc tonight. Greg Stiemsma just checked in for the Wolves for the first time tonight, as did Alexey Shved. Chase Budinger also now in the game. MIN 77, MAC 61

Q3 - 5:23: Brandon Roy has 12 points tonight, including seven here in the second half. After Love hit Kirilenko on an outlet pass that spanned three-fourths of the court, Kirilenko hit Roy for a wide-open corner three. Pat Stoll answered with a 3-pointer of his own for Maccabi, and as we head into this latest timeout the Wolves are up 66-53. Maccabi Haifa did not get to the free-throw line in the first half, but they're shooting 2-of-4 from the stripe in the third. MIN 66, MAC 53

Q3 - 8:28: The Wolves are continuing to get good opportunities near the basket and on the fast break. Kirilenko just hit a pair of free throws after being fouled in transition, and Pekovic pulled down an offensive rebound and hit Kirilenko for the lay-in. Meanwhile, Brandon Roy now has four points this half after a pair of free throws extended the Wolves' lead back to 10. He's got nine overall and is 5-of-6 from the line. MIN 57, MAC 47

Halftime: Maccabi Haifa ended the first half w/ a 7-2 run in the final 2:31 and trails 45-42 at the half. Not a good offensive performance from the Wolves in the first half. They've had pretty good looks at the basket but haven't been able to convert, and their field goal percentage dropped down to 35.9 percent heading into halftime. Love is leading the way offensively with 15 points, while Pekovic has six points/five rebounds and Kirilenko has seven rebounds in 18 minutes of work. Ridnour is having a tough shooting night at 1-for-6 from the field. Meanwhile, Stoll and Calathes are leading the way with 12 points each for Maccabi Haifa. Calathes has also pulled down six boards, and James Thomas has five rebounds. The Wolves' biggest lead was 11, but they've got a narrow lead heading into the second half. MIN 45, MAC 42

Q2 - 2:31: The Wolves returned to their starting five late in the second, but Maccabi Haifa still hanging around down 42-35. Offensively Kevin Love is looking sharp. After missing last game with a sore right elbow, he started this game 5-of-8 and has 15 points here in the first half. Kirilenko continues to lead the way with seven rebounds, and he just muscled his way to the basket and drew a foul. He was at the line coming out of the latest timeout, and he hit 1-of-2 to extend the Wolves' lead to 8. MIN 43, MAC 35

Q2 - 5:56: The Wolves offense is starting to get a little life again after stalling for much of the first half of the second, but Maccabi Haifa is coming back. Both teams exchanging 3-pointers, with the Wolves getting production from behind the arc from Chase Budinger and JJ Barea. The Wolves have put Love and Pek back in the game as they try to extend their lead.MIN 34, MAC 29

Q2 - 8:47: Timeout on the floor with the Wolves leading 28-18. Both teams struggling offensively again early on in the second, and each team battling turnovers (MAC 9, MIN 7). But the Wolves do hold a 12-6 advantage in the paint and are leading 6-0 in fast break points. D-Will has driven to the basket three times in his three minutes of work, and he's drawn one foul in the process but he hasn't been able to convert from the field (0-for-2). MIN 28, MAC 18

End Q1: Kirilenko continues to show great court vision. After taking a pass from Love on the fast break, he tossed a behind the back feed to Cunningham for the slam. He had similar plays in Fargo where his court awareness led to open opportunities for his teammates--although in their first game together that night some of his teammates weren't ready for those no-look passes. Love said at practice yesterday Kirilenko has all the intangibles that make him a special player, and that court vision is part of it. As we begin the second quarter, Derrick Williams and Lou Amundson are checking in. We've got Barea, Budinger, Williams, Cunningham and Amundson on the floor. MIN 27, MAC 16

Q1 - 2:31: Highlight of the night so far just happened on a Wolves fast break. Andrei Kirilenko fed Kevin Love with an outlet pass, and Love hit Nikola Pekovic with a no-look pass for the slam. After a Brandon Roy basket, his first field goal of the night, the Wolves opened up a 17-12 lead. But Haifa has cut the lead to three heading into this timeout. We're getting some substitutions for the first time on the Wolves side as Chase Budinger is heading in for Brandon Roy, Dante Cunningham is in for Pekovic and JJ Barea is entering for Luke Ridnour. MIN 17, MAC 14

Q1 - 5:01: Not a lot of offensive production so far in this one, as the Wolves lead 11-9 seven minutes into the first. The Wolves are shooting 7-of-8 from the free-throw line, as Maccabi Haifa has been physical early on. They've also been hit with a pair of defensive 3-second lane violations--that's not a FIBA-recognized rule. Andrei Kirilenko is having a nice night so far. He's got four rebounds and has been active diving for loose balls and helping on the offensive boards. But the Wolves started shooting 1-for-11 from the field and are currently shooting 14.3 percent. Haifa isn't much better, shooting 4-of-13. MIN 11, MAC 9

Tipoff: We're moments away from tipoff, and the starting lineups were just announced. For the Timberwolves, we'll get our first look at the team's projected opening night starting lineup: PG-Luke Ridnour, SG-Brandon Roy, SF-Andrei Kirlenko, PF-Kevin Love, C-Nikola Pekovic. For Maccabi Bazan Haifa: PG-Paul Stoll, SG-Donta Smith, SF-Pat Calathes, PF-Ido Kozikaro, C-James Thomas.

Pregame - 7:00 PM: A local grade school group just sang both the American and Israeli national anthems. Afterwards, the Wolves and Maccabi Haifa posed together at center court for a photo, and each Maccabi Haifa player gave a Wolves player a gift bag after the anthems. We're moments away from starting lineups and tipoff.

Pregame – 6:30 PM: Welcome to Target Center, where the Timberwolves will face Maccabi Bazan Haifa of the Israeli Super League in the team’s final preseason game in the Twin Cities this season. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., and when the two teams square of it will be the first time the Wolves have hosted an international team in franchise history.

Coach Rick Adelman said in pregame that all of the Wolves players should be available tonight, with perhaps the exception of guard Malcolm Lee. That means Andrei Kirilenko and Kevin Love, each of whom missed the first Target Center preseason game on Saturday against the Bulls, should be available and in the lineup tonight. With those two, plus guard Luke Ridnour missing time this preseason, tonight might be the first time the Wolves are able to mix and match that collection of players to see how their chemistry looks as we move closer and closer to the regular season.

Maccabi Haifa coach Brad Greenberg said one key to hanging with the Timberwolves tonight will be rebounding, and he’s putting a lot of stock in how veteran center James Thomas can handle himself in the paint. He’ll likely be facing off against Nikola Pekovic, who grabbed 17 rebounds on Saturday against the Bulls—including five on the offensive end. If the Wolves handle the offensive glass and extend possessions, Maccabi Haifa will have trouble hanging with them throughout the night. Wolves assistant coach Bill Bayno said small forward Donta Smith’s athleticism could pose problems, and guard Paul Stoll is a sharp-shooter who can also score in volumes. Maccabi Haifa lost 108-100 to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, a game in which their starting five handled the majority of the workload.

Greenberg has interesting connections to the Wolves’ coaching staff. He was the Trail Blazers’ player personnel director when Adelman was the head coach and current Wolves assistant Terry Porter was as player. Greenberg also said he put on basketball camps in the 1980s with Bayno.

The Wolves are 10-3 in their last 13 preseason games. Their next game at Target Center will be the regular season opener against the Kings on Nov. 2.

Stay tuned for more pregame notes and updates throughout tonight’s game.


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