GameDay Live Blog: Wolves vs. Nets | Nov. 22, 2013
GameDay Live Blog: Wolves vs. Nets | Nov. 22, 2013
Final: That's a wrap, folks. The Wolves roll past the Nets 111-81, and in the process they beat Kevin Garnett head-to-head for the first time since KG left Minnesota (only counting games he played in). Love has 17 and 16 rebounds, Kevin Martin had 17 points, Pek and Brewer each had 15 and Rubio had 12. It was the Wolves' largest win of the season. More to come on Timberwolves.com, so stay tuned. MIN 111, BKN 81
Q4 2:12: The best part about this blowout is that the starters and major bench contributors can all rest without playing outrageous minutes tonight. That's going to go a long way, because the team will be on a plane about an hour and a half after the game tonight, will probably arrive in Houston around 1:30 or 2 and will need to turn around and face Dwight Howard and James Harden tomorrow night. Getting the chance to not exert extra energy in the fourth is really nice on the front end of back-to-backs. MIN 105, BKN 76
Q4 8:06: Not a whole lot new to report here aside from D-Will throwing down a monster dunk off a J.J. Barea alley-oop. The Wolves are going exclusively with their bench in the fourth. They've got Price, Shved, Hummel, D-Will and Gorgui out there now. MIN 101, BKN 66
End Q3: We might have seen the last of most of the starters as the Wolves lead by 32 heading into the fourt. Love has 17 points and 16 rebounds, Martin has 17 points, Pek and Brewer have 15 each and Rubio has 12 points and eight assists. The Wolves have 21 assists on 31 field goals, and equally impressive they only have six turnovers. The Nets are getting 16 from Blatche and 15 from Johnson, but they're getting little from anyone else. Paul Pierce is 2-of-11 tonight. Garnett does have eight points on 4-of-6 shooting and eight boards. MIN 90, BKN 58
Q3 5:32: Ricky Rubio is 4-of-7, just hit a 3-pointer and followed it up with a quick burst and lay-up on the next possession, and he's got 10 points and eight assists tonight. K-Mart started slow (2-of-10) from the field but is 3-of-4 since and has a pair of 3-pointers. All five starters are in double digits, and the Wolves are up 33 here midway through the third. The Nets, by comparison, in trouble. The shots aren't falling and they're not able to keep up with the motion and transition play the Wolves are showing tonight. MIN 78, BKN 45
Q3 8:01: The Nets continue to struggle right now. Kevin Garnett picked up a technical foul and a Flagrant-I for his physicality down low on Kevin Love moments ago. Kevin Martin hit the tech shot, Love hit his free throws and the Wolves wrapped up the possession with a 3-pointer to make it a six-point trip down the court. K-Mart just hit a 3 of his own on the next trip down the court, and then Corey Brewer just threw down a monster slam in transition heading into this timeout, igniting the crowd. All of a sudden Minnesota is back up 27. MIN 70, BKN 43
Halftime: Minnesota is taking a 57-37 lead into the half. It's been a pretty effective, opportunistic first half for the Wolves. They have 16 points off 13 Nets turnovers, and they're holding Brooklyn to 15-of-41 shooting. Love has his double-double with 11 points and 12 boards, Pek has 13 points and five boards and the Wolves have 15 assists on 21 field goals. Johnson leads the Nets with 12, while KG has 6 and 6. MIN 57, BKN 37
Q2 2:57 The Wolves are still up 20 and are getting a nice night out of Pek early on here. He's 5-of-9 with 12 points and four boards already. DC is having a nice start early, too, with two points and five boards. MIN 51, BKN 31
Q2 6:13: Balanced play right now from the Wolves as Minnesota extends its lead to a game-high 22 points. Rubio just hit a jumper, then fed DC on the fast break to get him on the board. That DC basket put the Wolves up by their largest lead of the night. Barea has eight points off the bench, proving he just might have remembered everything Jason Kidd taught him during their days in Dallas. Love has been getting a breather but is still sitting a quick two points away from another double-double. MIN 42, BKN 20
Q2 8:36: The Nets' regular starters are still struggling tonight. Pierce, Garnett and Johnson are a combined 3-for-10 from the field as we start this one out. The Nets as a whole are shooting 26.1 percent (6-of-23), and they've already turned the ball over 12 times for 12 Wolves points. Not a good combination for Brooklyn. MIN 36, BKN 18
End Q1: Kevin Love has another ho-hum nine-point, 11-rebound first quarter as the Wolves take a 30-14 lead after 1. On the final possession of the first, DC grabbed an offensive rebound and tossed it back to J.J. From the win, Barea drove, nearly lost the ball out of bounds and dished it to Love, who drained a touch jumper at the buzzer. Pek has six points and four boards, and Brewer has five. Blatche has six off the bench to lead Brooklyn. MIN 30, BKN 14
Q1 3:03: Love began the game 0-for-3 from the field but he got on the board with a tip-in basket while drawing the foul. The free throw brings him to three points early on, but more impressively he has nine boards and two assists already in this game. Keep an eye on him tonight and see where that total ends up. He and Pek have all 13 of the Wolves' boards tonight. MIN 21, BKN 8
Q1 5:41: Kevin Garnett opened up the first 24 seconds of the game by winning the tip and scoring the first basket of the game. For that first possession, he looked like that 21-year-old we remember from the late-90s. But since then, he and the Nets have cooled down and the Wolves have taken a 13-6 lead led by Pek's six and three. Love already has seven boards in the first seven minutes. Meanwhile, during the last timeout the Wolves put together a video tribute to KG to recognize and thank him for 12 years here that were the best years in this franchise's history. He stood and acknowledged the crowd right back during the standing ovation. Very nice moment here at Target Center. MIN 13, BKN 6
Wolves: PG-Ricky Rubio, SG-Kevin Martin, SF-Corey Brewer, PF-Kevin Love, C-Nikola Pekovic
Nets: PG-Shaun Livingston, SG-Joe Johnson, SF-Paul Pierce, PF-Kevin Garnett, C-Reggie Evans
Pregame 6:40 PM: A couple quick notes from coach Rick Adelman. One, Adelman said this is an important game for the Wolves to bounce back after two straight losses and before they hit the road for a tough two-game trip to Houston and Indiana.
"You've got to get a win," Adelman said. "You can't slide backwards because the schedule doesn't get any easier for us tomorrow. So, it's a big game for us. We've lost some close games--were in the games--but we didn't win them. So, it's a matter of going out and getting the win and righting the ship a little bit and try to build momentum going the other way."
Adelman has coached against Kevin Garnett for nearly two decades since "The Kid" or "Big Ticket" came into the league with Minnesota. The biggest head-to-head meeting came in the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals, when the Wolves beat the Kings in seven games and advanced to the franchise's lone conference finals. Tonight, he'll see the future Hall-of-Fame forward once again--this time in a Nets uniform.
"He's been a great player," Adelman said. "He plays with such dedication. He works so hard. He's been here for 18 years. I was looking at the starting lineup. That's a lot of years out there, and that's why they're a dangerous team. They can put a game together. But he's been terrific for so many years. What do you say about him? All-Star all the time. MVP of the All-Star Game when I coached it. He was terrific then. He energizes his teammates."
Pregame 6:00 PM: J.J. Barea was 23 years old and in his second year in the NBA when the Dallas Mavericks made a trade to bring back point guard Jason Kidd. He might not have known just how much Kidd would impact his career when that deal took place, but looking back after four seasons and one championship together it's pretty clear to Barea that Kidd helped make him the type of point guard he is today.
On Friday, as Kidd—who is now the Nets' coach—wrapped up morning shootaround, Barea stopped by, embraced his former teammate and caught up briefly before Brooklyn headed back to its hotel. The admiration is still there.
"He helped me out a lot," Barea said. "He gave me a lot of confidence, especially when we used to play at the same time."
Barea grew into a pivotal role player on the Mavs' bench, and the duo helped Dallas win the 2011 championship. Kidd said Barea's competitiveness was what helped him become the player he is today. The biggest part of his game is being able to attack the basket and penetrate.
"J.J. is a guy who understands how to use the dribble, his speed, but also his competitiveness. His heart," Kidd said. "He's again, he has probably been told a lot of times he couldn't be successful in this league, and I think that burns. [He has] the fire of showing that he belongs and that he's done a wonderful job."
Meanwhile, Kidd finished his playing career last season in New York and quickly became the Nets' new head coach. Barea said he knew Kidd would be a coach one day, but the speed surprised him.
"He kept talking about it, so I didn't know it was going to happen that quick," Barea said. "But I'm really happy for him." The key for stopping Barea, according to Kidd?
"Hopefully he forgets everything I told him for tonight," Kidd said.
Pregame 4:00 PM: Welcome to Target Center, where tonight the Wolves will take on the Brooklyn Nets at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM. This is a big game for both teams for similar reasons.
The Nets are built for the short-term, having put together a starting five and a bench player in Andrei Kirilenko that has combined for 36 All-Star appearances in their careers. The starters—Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez—on paper look like a top tier team in the East. But in practice, the team has battled injuries, haven’t built a cohesive unit and are 3-8 and second to last in the Eastern Conference.
The Wolves are 7-6 and are trying to bounce back from two straight losses. The key here is being able to get a victory and jump two games over .500 before hitting the road for games at Houston (tomorrow night) and Indiana (on Monday), two places that will pose difficult challenges in their own right. Minnesota understands that winning at home is a key to success, and being able to take care of business here against a hobbled Nets team is crucial.
Brooklyn will be without Williams (ankle), Lopez (ankle), AK (back spasms) and Jason Terry (bruised left knee) are all out tonight.
That means the Timberwolves need to try and wear down this Nets team with their transition baskets and their full-strength lineup that can, when running smoothly, cause defensive problems for opponents because of their movement in the half court.
“This is an electrifying Wolves team, man,” Nets forward Kevin Garnett said. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence, and slowing any of these guys down will be a challenge tonight.”
For the Wolves, Kevin Love said it comes down to effort on both ends of the court. That, and who wants it more.
“Both teams are in need of a win right now, and you know, we just have to protect our home floor with a great crowd,” Love said. “We assume it will be a great crowd tonight.” Here are a few game notes before we get into the pregame content tonight.