GameDay Blog: Wolves vs. Mavericks - March 10, 2013

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Final: That's the ballgame here at Target Center. The Wolves dropped a 100-77 game to the Mavs, who evened up the season series 2-2 for the 2012-13 campaign. The Wolves got 18 points and nine boards from Derrick Williams, 16 points from J.J. Barea and 13 from Mickael Gelabale. Ricky had seven points and four assists. For the Mavs, Vince Carter had 22 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 16. For more from tonight's game check throughout the night. Final: DAL 100, MIN 77

Q4 7:14: It's been a tough game so far but one nice little play moments ago came from Mickael Gelabale, who wrestled an offensive board away from Dirk Nowitzki and put home the layup. It's a small victory as the Wolves are down by 18 right now, but it's they've got 7:14 left and if they keep working a basket at a time like that we'll see if they can cut it to 10 and go from there. Need some buckets and some stops quick, though. DAL 86, MIN 68

End Q3: The Wolves bench excluding Barea is a combined 0-for-5 w/ one point tonight, partially a product of very few minutes. The Wolves' starting five plus Barea have played all but 19 minutes tonight, and Adelman's short bench hasn't helped on this night yet as the Wolves trail by 17 with 12 minutes to play. He's digging into his bench to start the fourth with Barea, Shved and DC joining Gelabale and D-Will on the floor. DAL 78, MIN 61

Q3 4:40: The Wolves are hovering around their halftime deficit here with 4:40 left in the third, and that's something that will have to change quickly if the Wolves hope to make a run at this game. I've been impressed with how the veterans on the Mavs have stepped up tonight. Dirk is still a pleasure to watch even though he's having a down year and has battled injuries, and he's got 14 on a quiet 6-for-11. And Vince Carter has completely transformed his game from a high-flier to a sharp shooter, and he's got 17 on 6-of-8 here. The Wolves need to get Rubio going--he's got 7 points and 4 assists. Ridnour also having an off game with five points on 2-of-6 shooting. DAL 70, MIN 57

Halftime: The Wolves are trailing 56-44 at the half as the Mavs rebuilt their once 18-point lead back to 16 before Gelabale's buzzer-beater. D-Will continues to lead the team with 14 points and seven boards, while Stimsma has eight and six. Rubio has five points and four assists. For the Mavs, Dirk has 12 and Vince has 15. DAL 56, MIN 44

Q2 6:33: The Mavs continue to shine here in the second at the midway point. They had a 20-3 run before the Wolves just came back with a pair of baskets. Minnesota has gone cold as they're shooting 11-of-33 for the game right now. Need to get into an offensive rhythm here, because this game is slipping away quickly. Dallas is 11 games under .500 on the road and averages 98 points per game away from American Airlines Center, but they're on pace to go well over 100 tonight if they continue this offensive productivity. DAL 45, MIN 27

Q2 9:27: Vince Carter is just doing his thing right now for the Mavs. He's got 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting, including a perfect 3-of-3 from the 3-point line. Not bad for a guy who left UNC in 1997-98. The rest of the Mavs are shooting 9-of-22. The Mavs are currently on a 12-0 run to start the second. DAL 33, MIN 20

End Q1: Nice end to the quarter by the Wolves, pulling to within 21-20 after Barea aggressively took the ball up court and drew a foul with less than 10 seconds left in the frame. He hit both field goals to pull within one. Derrick Williams leads the way with nine points and five boards after 1, whiel Greg Stiemsma has four points and four assists. The team is still shooting 8-for-22 and are 0-for-1 from deep, but they're hanging with the Mavs who are shooting 8-for-20. Vince Carter, who was at UNC when I was in sixth grade, leads the way with five points on 2-of-2 shooting. DAL 21, MIN 20

Q1 4:01: Slow start offensively for both teams right now as the Wolves and Mavs are shooting a combined 9-for-30 from the field. Derrick Williams is already sititng with five points and four rebounds just over midway through the first, and he's been pretty aggressive from the start. He even got involved in a pretty fast break, taking a full-court outlet from Rubio and sending a no-look to Mickael Gelabale for the layup. Rubio has two points, two assists and two rebounds tonight. For the Mavs, Kaman leads the tway with four points. MIN 13, DAL 11

PG-Mike James, SG-O.J. Mayo, SF-Jae Crowder, PF-Dirk Nowitzki, C-Chris Kaman

Wolves: PG-Ricky Rubio, SG-Luke Ridnour, SF-Mickael Gelabale, PF-Derrick Williams, C-Greg Stiemsma

Pregame 5:30 PM: The Mavericks will be without Shawn Marion again tonight as he attempts to rest his bruised left calf muscle, meaning Jae Crowder will likely again get the start for the Mavs at small forward. That's a tough blow to this Dallas team, as coach Rick Carlisle mentioned when the Mavericks won their lone game against Minnesota in three tries last season they did so with Marion moving out to guard Rubio at the point. And when it comes to Rubio, he's playing his most consistent ball of the season of the season right now for the Wolves (although he did have a breakout return game (8 points, 9 assists, 3 steals) in his season debut against Dallas on Dec. 15.

Still, Carlisle admitted he can't complain too much.

"To not have [Marion's] ability, it's a hit for us," he said. "But look, these guys down the hall don't want to hear about it. They've got four of their best players out, five or whatever it is. Injuries are a part of every day life in this league, and we've all got to cope with it. We're going to have to get it done without him."

The other aspect of this situation is the Wolves played a late 8 p.m. game in Denver last night, made the 45-minute drive to the airport postgame, had their flight delayed because of ice and were welcomed back into the Central Time Zone by Daylight Savings Time. They got in around 4:30 a.m. this morning.

"But it wasn't light out yet, so that was good," Rick Adelman joked.

It's not ideal, and Adelman admitted when he looked at the schedule in the preseason he didn't realize this particular weekend was Daylight Savings Time. But the Wolves need to bear down and try to pull out this win at home against a very winnable road opponent.

Carlisle said it will be key to try and run against the Wolves tonight, but that's no different than their gameplan any night.

"We're aware of their situation, but it's no guarantee of anything," Carlisle said. "I've talked to our team about that. We have to play a very determined game. This is a very skilled team, and they'll be playing with an edge as much as anything probably because of the situation they're in."

Pregame 4:00 PM: Welcome to Target Center, where the Timberwolves will be taking on the Dallas Mavericks tonight at 6 p.m. on My29 and 830 WCCO-AM. It’s the final meeting of the year with the Mavs, and the Wolves hope to secure the season series 3-1 with a victory tonight. They won the first two meetings in November and December but dropped their January meeting in Dallas.

The Wolves have essentially looked like a different team each time the two teams have played this year. Their first meeting in Dallas on Nov. 12 was by far the Wolves’ healthiest lineup, although they lost Nikola Pekovic in that one during the second half. Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger each went down in consecutive games leading up to that contest. Ricky Rubio made his debut on Dec. 15, a 114-106 overtime victory, but with injuries and the absence of Rick Adelman the team dropped their last meeting on Jan. 14. This time around, the Wolves will be without their entire projected front court as Pek, Andrei Kirilenko and Kevin Love will all be out.

Dallas surged past Minnesota in January, but it was at home where the Mavs have been a successful squad this year. They are 17-12 at home compared to 11-21 on the road, and away from the American Airlines Center the Mavs are scoring 6.4 fewer points per game. The key tonight will be slowing down O.J. Mayo, who leads the team in scoring, as well as having an answer for Elton Brand off the bench. Brand was a impressive off the bench in that one, scoring 20 points on 10-of-13 shooting. Another handful is Darren Collison, who is shifty and speedy when he gets minutes and has had success against the Wolves this year.

Minnesota is coming off a tough 111-88 loss in Denver last night, so they’re hoping to get a little bounce back energy here at home. After tonight, the Wolves will play five of their next seven on the road, so taking advantage of games here at Target Center is pretty important. Ricky Rubio will again be important tonight, as he has produced eight or more assists in eight of his last nine games—grabbing double-doubles in three of those contests. He also is looking to bounce back from an uncharacteristic game last night in which he did not product a steal.

Derrick Williams also had a down night by recent standers in Denver, ending with 13 points and six boards in 29 minutes. That’s the first time he hasn’t played 37 minutes or more in the last seven games. He is still averaging 19.3 points and 8.0 rebounds a night this month, by far his best month as a pro. He’ll be key as the Mavs certainly have a bevy of talent at the power forward position, led by Dirk Nowitzki.

Here are tonight's pregame notes as we get set for tipoff:

  • The Wolves trail in the all-time series 41-56, and are 21-27 at home. The Wolves have won two of the three meetings this season, winning 90-82 at Dallas on Nov. 12 and 114-106 at Target Center on Dec. 15, and losing 113-98 in Dallas on Jan. 14.

  • Ricky Rubio is averaging 13.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 3.0 steals in 35.1 minutes per game over the last 15 games. He has recorded seven point/assist double-doubles over that stretch.

  • Rubio tallied his 5th career 10+ point/10+ assist/5+ steal effort Wednesday vs. Washington -- only Terrell Brandon with seven such games has more in team history. He has nine games this season with 4+ steals, with seven of the nine coming in his last 11 games.

  • Derrick Williams is averaging 17.3 points and 8.7 rebounds over the last 14 games. He has recorded seven double-doubles this season.

  • Mickael Gelabale has started the last four games, averaging 8.0 points, on 57.7% (15-for-26) shooting, and 4.3 rebounds.

  • Nikola Pekovic is averaging 17.0 points, on 52.5% shooting, and 9.7 rebounds in his last 32 games (15 double-doubles). He ranks 4th in the NBA in offensive rebounds with 3.8 per game, 22nd in double-doubles with 21 and 27th in field goal percentage at 50.9%. Pekovic has pulled down at least one offensive board in 60 straight games, the 2nd-longest active streak in the NBA to teammate Kevin Love's 75 games.

  • The Wolves rank 4th in the NBA in FT attempts per game (25.7) and 5th in fewest FT attempts allowed per game (20.5). They've shot 30+ FTs 20 times and allowed less than 20 FT attempts 22 times.

  • Dallas has won three of its last four games and is 11th in the Western Conference. The Mavs are 3.0 games out of the final playoff spot.

  • The Mavs rank 7th in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage at 37.0% and 3rd in free-throw shooting at 79.1%.

  • O.J. Mayo is shooting 70.0% (14-for-20) from 3-point range over the last four games. He ranks 13th in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage at 42.4%. Mayo has gone three straight games without a turnover -- his longest such stretch of the season.

  • Mike James is shooting 55.0% (11-for-20) from 3-point range over the last four games.

  • Shawn Marion is averaging 18.0 points, on 55.2% (16-for-29) shooting in his last two games.

  • The Mavs are averaging 40.7 bench points per game this season, 3rd-best in the NBA behind New York and L.A. Clippers at 40.8 ppg.

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