GameDay Blog: Wolves vs. Pacers - Nov. 9, 2012




Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Be sure to check back to Timberwolves.com throughout the night for complete analysis, highlights and postgame video from tonight's 96-94 victory against the Pacers.

End Q4: Andrei Kirilenko took the inbound pass and hit Chase Budinger on a backdoor cut for a wide-open lay-up with a second to play, giving the Wolves a 96-94 victory over the Pacers tonight here at Target Center. The Wolves improved to 4-1 on the season heading into the two-game road trip to Chicago on Saturday and Dallas on Monday. Budinger becomes the fifth different leading scorer for the Wolves this season with 18 points, while Williams had 15, Pekovic had 13 and Shved and Cunningham with 11 each. Final: MIN 96, IND 94

Q4 3.8: George Hill just connected from 3-point land to tie this one up 94-94. The Wolves have the ball with 3.8 left. MIN 94, IND 94

Q4 8.8: Wolves dialed up a play that led to a close look by Pek, but he missed the lay-up and the Pacers came away with the rebound and called the timeout. We've got 8.8 seconds left, Indiana ball. Cunningham checks in for Pek. MIN 94, IND 91

Q4 33.9: Wolves ball after George Hill connected and was fouled. He hit his and-1 free throw to cut the Wolves' lead to 94-91. Timeout on the floor with Adelman drawing up a play. We'll have Pekovic, Kirielenko, Budinger, Shved and Ridnour on the floor. MIN 94, IND 91

Q4 1:06: Pek just collected a loose ball off of Alexey Shved's hands late in the shot clock and put home a hook to give the Wolves a 92-88 lead. Afterwards he flexed both muscles as he walked to the Wolves' bench. Look for it in the highlights, folks. It's worth a look. MIN 92, IND 88

Q4 3:33: Pek is currently the one stepping up for the Wolves here late in the fourth. He's been getting to the line, and he just connected in the lane for a pair that put Minnesota up 86-82 with 3:33 left to play. MIN 86, IND 82

Q4 5:40: The Pacers are on a 7-2 run here to cut the Wolves' lead to 78-76 with 5:40 left in the fourth. This will be a tight finish against a talented Indiana team that will likely bring back its starting five for the remainder of this one. Who will be able to step up in a big spot? With Roy's status uncertain moving forward and Barea out for the next two games on the road trip, this group of Wolves players will need to find find some go-to scorers in crunch time beginning tonight. MIN 78, IND 76

Q4 8:28: With injuries come opportunities for others, and the Wolves are benefiting from that mentality right now with just under 9 minutes to go in the fourth. Alexey Shved is getting extra time on the court due to JJ Barea and Brandon Roy both being unavailable late in this game, and he's performing admirably on both ends of the court. He just collected a block on the defensive end, and offensively he has five assists and is showing a real knack for finding the open man both in the fast break and in the pick and roll. And on a recent possession when Shved missed a pull-up mid-range jumper, Dante Cunningham--playing for the injured Kevin Love--was again in the right place at the right time for the put-back score. Meanwhile, Chase Budinger moved to the 2 for much of this half and is still leading all scorers with 16 points. MIN 76, IND 69


End Q3: Malcolm Lee and Alexey Shved connected in the waning seconds of the third to produce a nice highlight-reel play to push the Minnesota lead to five heading into the fourth. Shved hit a cutting Lee who took contact and banked in a reverse lay-in for his first field goal of then night. As we head into the fourth, that's the back court you're going to see on the floor. Shved, Lee, Budinger, Cunningham and Stiemsma on the floor. MIN 69, IND 64

Q3 2:24: The Wolves announced Brandon Roy will not return tonight due to a sore right knee, the first indication of knee pain this season for the three-time All-Star attempting a comeback after missing all of last season. The good news is Budinger has stepped in and performed admirably for the Wolves, notching 10 of his 16 points in the third quarter and is getting to the line at a rapid clip. The bad news is now the Wolves' back court is without Roy, Barea and Rubio, and with Ridnour missing time throughout the preseason Adelman would prefer to be judicious with his minutes. But aside from Stiemsma checking in for Pek, the entire squad that started the second half is still out there for Minnesota. MIN 65, IND 61

Q3 4:10: The big news here in the third quarter is Brandon Roy has not been on the Wolves bench and has not seen any action here in the quarter. No word on his status at this time. The Wolves inserted Chase Budinger into the lineup and he's played the entire quarter alongside Ridnour, Kirilenko, Williams and Pekovic. And they've fared well. Minnesota is leading 16-12 in this quarter and holds a 61-58 lead. Budinger has eight points this quarter, mostly from the line. He's 9-of-10 from the stripe this evening. Meanwhile, Roy Hibbert picked up his fourth foul and is currently on the bench. Four of the Pacers' five starters, Hibbert inlcuded, are in double digits. MIN 61, IND 58


End Half: Pretty even first half for both teams as we head into halftime with the Pacers holding a 43-42 lead. The Wolves are starting to show how missing JJ Barea can impact the game not only from an energy standpoint but also with its productivity. Barea has been bringing a spark off the bench this season, and when Ridnour is on the bench the Wolves are looking for how to fill that spot in their back court. Shved did show he can be the primary ball handler in that second quarter, but over it there is a lot of inexperience in the back court with Shved and Lee playing together. Williams leads the team with 11 points, while Roy, Ridnour and Budinger each have six points. The Wolves are shooting 48.6 percent from the field, and they've turned eight turnovers into 11 points. Both teams are tied 16-16 in points in the paint. For the Pacers, George Hill is leading the way with 11 points, and Lance Stephenson has seven points off the bench. Halftime: IND 43, MIN 42

Q2 2:29: Brandon Roy looks a lot more comfortable with his shot tonight. He's 3-of-5 with six points, two of those coming of deep 2s after a jab step on his defender. Those are shots he's been passing up early in the season or has been missing. He's been adamant that his shot will come around, and he's too pure of a shooter not to get it going soon. The Wolves are gridlocked here in the second quarter tied 36-36. MIN 36, IND 36

Q2 4:13: The Wolves just stopped a Pacers 7-0 run that tied the game at 32-32 with a deep 2 by Dante Cunningham. He's 2-for-2 on the night from the field. But the Wolves called timeout and regrouped here with 4:13 left in the second, trying to stop the Pacers' momentum by inserting four of the five starters into the lineup. Ridnour back in with Roy, Kirilenko and Pekovic alongside Cunningham at the 4. MIN 34, IND 32


Q2 7:57: So much for Shved not playing the point. Despite Adelman insisting the rookie from Russia wasn't quite ready to be the primary ball handler, Shved was in the back court with Malcolm Lee and was doing just that in the most recent lineup Adelman sent out on the floor. And it worked: the Wolves are on a 10-4 run right now and Shved has been a big part of that. He found Budinger for a wide-open 3-pointer on the wing, then connected with Dante Cunningham for a two-handed jam and was fouled from 3-point land and connected on all three free throws. Shved has three points, two rebounds and three assists in five minutes of work. MIN 31, IND 25

End Q1: At the end of the first, the Wolves have a 21-19 lead and are led on the scoreboard by D-Will's nine points. Williams is 4-of-6 from the field tonight, connecting in close, from mid-range and from behind the arc. Minnesota is shooting 52.9 percent from the field while holding the Pacers to 8-of-21 shooting from the floor. Paul Geroge leads the way for Indiana with five points and George Hill and Roy Hibbert each have four. As we start the second we've got a new lineup on the floor for Minnesota: Malcolm Lee, Alexey Shved, Chase Budinger, Dante Cunningham and Greg Stiemsma. MIN 21, IND 19

Q1 2:55: The Wolves just turned solid defense into offense moments ago, as Pekovic and Kirilenko each collaborated on blocking Paul George resulting in a Kirilenko lay-up on the other end of the court. The key will be containing the points in the paint tonight with a strong front court duo in Hibbert and West mixed with aggressive guards like George--who leads the Pacers with 9.8 rebounds per game. So far the Wolves have a 10-6 advantage in the paint. No subs so far for Minnesota, while the Pacers have almost a completely new unit in with Mahinmi, Hansbrough, Augustin, Green and George. MIN 17, IND 13

Q1 5:30: Brandon Roy is showing some confidence from the field so far tonight. He's shooting 25 percent from the floor so far this season, but early on he's connected on a deep two and also benefited from a turnover and fast-break lay-up. He's got four points on 2-of-4 shooting. The Wolves opened up the night shooting 4-of-5 from the field, including a 3-pointer from the wing by Derrick Williams. The Pacers, meanwhile, have four points from Roy Hibbert and four from George Hill early. Both teams have six of their points in the paint, and the Wolves are holding a three-point lead as we head out of the first timeout of the game. MIN 13, IND 10

Pregame 7:00 PM: We're almost under way here at Target Center, where the Wolves organization is celebrating Military Night. Each team was wearing Red, White and Blue NBA warmup shirts pregame, there was a special military color guard and a court-sized American Flag during the national Anthem. Very cool way to honor those who serve our country, and the organization also donated 4,000 tickets to military families tonight.

Here are tonight's starter for the Pacers: PG-George Hill, SG-Paul George, SF-Sam Young, PF-David West, C-Roy HIbert. For the Wolves: PG-Luke Ridnour, SG-Brandon Roy, SF-Andrei Kirilenko, PF-Derrick Williams, C-Nikola Pekovic.

Pregame 6:30 PM: Greetings from Target Center, where the Timberwolves and Pacers are set to tip off here in about a half hour. You can catch the game on My 29 and 830 WCCO-AM. Be sure to follow along with the live blog throughout the game, as well as check in on Twitter for live updates with @MNTimberwolves and @MarkRemme.

The big news from the Wolves’ locker room is that guard JJ Barea will not dress tonight and is not going to take the road trip with the team to Chicago and Dallas. That means that Luke Ridnour will be getting help from Malcolm Lee and Will Conroy at the point guard position; coach Rick Adelman said he’s still planning on keeping Alexey Shved at the 2. It’s a difficult loss to lose Barea, not only because he’s the team’s backup point guard but he brings so much energy off the bench and was having a nice start to the season.

Adelman said his shooting guards will have to handle the ball a little bit more to compensate for the loss of Barea.

“Everybody’s going to have to do a little bit more,” Adelman said. “We just have the tendency to have injuries like this. JJ especially. In the last year he’s had all these little injuries. He was playing so well, too. He had a lot of confidence and knew what he wanted to do. And we had a lot of confidence in Luke and him. You hope he gets better in a week and gets back.”

Pacers coach Frank Vogel talked about Lou Amundson before the game tonight, pointing out a few traits that Wolves fans are getting to know from the scrappy forward/center this season. Vogel said when the Pacers asked him to defend and rebound, and Amundson was able to redefine his role on the team based on the defensive energy he brought to the team.

“He really changed some things with how we guard,” Vogel said. “He’s a big part of the system we have in place now.”

Tonight the Pacers should be without small forward Danny Granger, while the Wolves will be without Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Barea. Tipoff in a half hour. Starting lineups posted shortly.

Here are a few pre-game notes for tonight:

  • The Wolves trail in the series, 15-29, but are 11-11 at home vs. the Pacers. Indiana swept the 2011-12 series (2-0), winning 109-99 at Target Center and 111-88 in Indiana. The two teams split a pair of 2012 preseason contests with the Wolves winning 84-70 in Fargo and the Pacers prevailing 96-91 in Indiana.

  • The Wolves' 3-1 start is the team's best record through four games since 2001-02 (started 6-0 that season). During that stretch Minnesota has displayed balanced scoring this season with six players averaging 9.3 points or better: Nikola Pekovic (14.0), Andrei Kirilenko (12.5), Luke Ridnour (11.3), Chase Budinger (11.0), Derrick Williams (9.8) and J.J. Barea (9.3). A different player has led the team in scoring each game this season.

  • The Wolves rank 4th in the NBA in scoring defense, allowing just 89.0 points per game, and 3rd in opponents' field goal percentage (40.7%).

  • Andrei Kirilenko is filling the box score so far this season, averaging 12.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.50 blocks and 1.25 steals. He ranks 5th in the NBA in blocked shots and 8th in field goal percentage at 66.7% (20-for-30).

  • As a team, the Wolves rank 3rd in the league in blocked shots at 8.50 per game. In addition to Kirilenko, Greg Stiemsma is also averaging 2.50 blocks per game. The Wolves have outscored their opponent in points in the paint in three of four games and have an average edge of 46.0 - 35.0 for the season.

  • Tonight marks the final game of a three-game road trip for Indiana, and the fifth road contest in six total games. The Pacers are 1-3 on the road this season, 0-2 on this trip.

  • Indiana is the top rebounding team in the NBA, averaging 50.8 boards per game. Individually, Paul George (9.8) ranks 9th in the NBA and David West (8.6) ranks 25th.

  • The Pacers and their opponents are struggling from the field this season. The Pacers are holding opponents to 39.8% shooting -- good for 1st in the NBA. However, Indiana is shooting just 40.3% from the field, ranking 28th. The Pacers rank 29th in assists with 17.2 apg.

  • Indiana ranks 1st in the NBA in blocked shots with 8.60 blocks per game. Individually, Roy Hibbert ranks 2nd in the NBA with 3.00 bpg (Gortat, 4.20).


  • For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com . Proabbly. W’ere going to have to, everyboyd’s go tot do a ltiel bit more. We just have the tendycy to have injuries like this. JJ aespecially, in the last year he’s had all these little injuries. He was playing so well, too. He ahad a lcot of confidence and kenw hwat he wanted tod o and we ahd a lto foc onfience in luke and him. Wyou hope he gets better in a week and gets back.