GameDay Blog: Wolves vs. Warriors - Nov. 16, 2012

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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End Q4: The Wolves fell 106-98 tonight thanks to Golden State's free throw shooting down the stretch, icing the game. Derrick Williams had 23 points to lead the Wolves, while Alexey Shved had 22, Andrei Kirilenko had 18 and Dante Cunningham had 14. More to come on Timberwolves.com all night, including game analysis, highlights, postgame interviews and a photo gallery. Final: GSW 106, MIN 98

Q4 33.6: The Wolves fouled Harrison Barnes, who just connected on both free throw attempts and extended the Warriors' lead to 102-96. Timeout on the floor, Wolves ball. GSW 102, MIN 96

Q4 35.6: It's still a two-possession game with 35.6 left, but the Wolves have some work to do. Shved just hit a driving lay-up and Kirilenko threw down a baseline jam on the next possession, but it's 100-96 and it's Warriors ball. GSW 100, MIN 96

Q4 2:49: Big development late in the fourth here, as Stephen Curry--battling foul trouble--just picked up his sixth on Dante Cunningham and has fouled out. Curry had just hit a midrange jumper on the other end of the floor to make it a five-point game, and the Warriors will miss his offensive prowess particularly because they've gone cold during a late run here by the Wolves. Cunningham is headed to the line with 2:49 left in the fourth. GSW 94, MIN 89

Q4 6:04: We've got a comeback brewing again here at Target Center. Once down 12, the Wolves have cut this lead to 92-85. They're starting to get stops on the defensive end--something that's alluded them for much of the second and third quarters--and just got a big momentum boost as Shved drove to the lane and hit Kirilenko on the wing for a 3-pointer that cut the lead to seven. Warriors ball, but the Wolves are starting to make some noise. GSW 92, MIN 85

Q4 8:56: We've got nine minutes left in this game but the Wolves have already given up their season average for opponents points per game. We're also seeing the offensive free-style of Josh Howard, who is 3-of-9 tonight and is not afraid to shoot. He's always been a scorer, and we'll see how that impacts the Wolves as he continues to get more minutes under his belt. Shved connected from three and was fouled in the process moments ago, but he missed the possible four-point play at the line. Down 12, Kirilenko comes in for Ridnour making it a Shved, Howard, Kirilenko, Williams, Cunningham lineup. GSW 89, MIN 76

End Q3: Offensive rebounding has been a killer tonight, and it shows the Wolves are at a real disadvantage without Pekovic and Love in the lineup. Tonight the Warriors have gotten 18 offensive rebounds leading to a 19-9 second chance points advantage. They've also got a 46-8 points in the paint lead. That isn't a typo--it really is 46-8. Fourth quarter about to begin with Ridnour, Shved, Howard, D-Will and Cunningham on the floor together. GSW 82, MIN 69

Q3 2:44: Still a 10-point lead for the Warriors with 2:44 left in the third, and now five Golden State players are in double figures led by David Lee's 14. And although the Wolves once held a sizable advantage in field goal percentage, the Warriors now lead in that department at 47 percent to 45 percent. We've got Josh Howard back in the game along with Dante Cunningham and Lou Amundson trying to get the Wolves back in this one. GSW 74, MIN 64

Q3 8:07: The Warriors opened up the first four minutes on a 10-4 run and have a 63-54 lead early on in the third. It's been a tale of missed shots for Minnesota, which is 2-of-9 from the field this half. Meanwhile, Golden State came out shooting 5-of-9. Shved checks in for Lee early at shooting guard. GSW 63, MIN 54

End Half: After trailing by as many as 12, the Warriors came back to take a 53-50 lead at the half punctuated by a lay-up by Carl Landry with a second left on the clock. Golden State is owning the paint right now with a 30-6 advantage as well as a 13-6 lead in second chance points. Both teams shooting right around 50 percent at the half. Minnesota has had big production offensively from both Derrick Williams and Alexey Shved. Williams has 15 points and has hit five of his last six field goal attempts, while Shved is showing his quickness by putting the ball on the floor and driving. He's also 1-of-3 from 3-point range. The key for Minnesota in the second half will be to start taking control of the paint and continuing to force the Warriors to take jumpers from distance. They're 2-of-9 from 3-point range and are 22nd in the league from distance this season. Halftime: GSW 53, MIN 50

Q2 2:56: All of a sudden the once 12-point lead is down to two as the Warriors cut it to 46-44. Big boost of energy from Carl Landry, who has seven points on 3-of-5 shooting in 13 minutes off the bench. The Warriors as a team have caught fire from the floor in the middle stage of this half, boosting their field goal percentage to 45 percent. Golden State is owning the paint with a 22-4 advantage and also has a 13-4 advantage in second chance points. MIN 46, GSW 44

Q2 5:56: If you aren't planning to come to Target Center between tonight and Dec. 12, you are missing out. The Kevin Love Coat Drive promo just played on the big screen was worth the price of admission. A must watch, fans, a must watch. On the court, the Wolves just opened up their largest lead of the night at 44-32, but the Warriors just came back with three straight baskets to cut the lead to six. Derrick Williams checking back in, still the game's leading scorer with 13. MIN 44, GSW 38

Q2 8:51: Well, Josh Howard didn't take much time in making an impact. He checked in to start the second, and on his first possession he grabbed an offensive rebound and connected on his first jumper. He's now 2-for-2 after a long 2 from the wing, which he converted after grabbing his first steal with the Wolves. Meanwhile, Shved is 2-for-3 with five points after his latest basket was ruled a 3-pointer. He's fearless when it comes to taking those shots from distance, and it's a big deal for this Wolves team if he can start connecting because with Budinger and Love injured the team is lacking a large abundance of 3-point shooters. MIN 37, GSW 30

End Q1: End of the first with the Wolves leading 27-22. The Wolves held their biggest lead of the night at nine before Jarrett Jack connected from deep at the top of the key, the final basket of the first quarter. So far it's been Minnesota's front court leading the way, as AK and D-Will have combined for 21 of the Wolves' 27 points. The Warriors' back court has been their key, with their guards accounting for 11 of the their 22 points. To start the second quarter, Josh Howard makes his first appearance for the Wolves along with Dante Cunningham checking in for the first time tonight. MIN 27, GSW 22

Q1 1:39: Derrick Williams had quite a turnaround here in the first quarter. After those first two misses in close, Williams is since 4-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line for 11 points. All of his field goals are jump shots, and he all of a sudden leads all scorers. Meanwhile, Kirilenko has nine points and has two blocked shots. On the flip side, Greg Stiemsma picked up two quick fouls early and is on the bench in favor of Lou Amundson. MIN 25, GSW 19

Q1 5:56: The Wolves hold a 13-12 lead early in the first with the last basket coming off a Derrick Williams 3-pointer from the corner. Williams has hit his last two shots, one a deep 2 and the other a 3, after missing his first two baskets at the rim--one a mis-handled dunk and the other a block. He and Andrei Kirilenko are leading the way for the Wolves, as AK has seven points on 3-of-3 shooting (including a 3-pointer) and Williams has five. The Wolves, who are not shooting well from 3-point range this year, are 2-of-2 from behind the arc early tonight. MIN 13, GSW 12.

Pregame 7:10 PM: We're all set for tipoff at Target Center. Here are tonight's starting lineups. Warriors: PG-Stephen Curry, SG-Klay Thompson, SF-Harrison Barnes, PF-David Lee, C-Festus Ezeli. Timberwolves: PG-Luke Ridnour, SG-Malcolm Lee, SF-Andrei Kirilenko, PF-Derrick Williams, C-Greg Stiemsma.

Pregame 6:40 PM: Welcome to Target Center, where the Timberwolves will face the Golden State Warriors tonight in beginning at 7 p.m. Tonight’s game will air on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM, and be sure to follow along with in-game up to the second updates on Twitter via @MNTimberwolves and @MarkRemme.

The Wolves will play with nine players again tonight as Nikola Pekovic (ankle), Brandon Roy (knee) and JJ Barea (foot) all are listed as out for tonight’s game. In the pregame locker room Barea said his left mid-foot sprain is getting better and he’s improving each day, but it wasn’t ready to go tonight. He said he jogged a bit today and still feels a little pain. Yesterday Pekovic said he was hopeful for tonight but he won’t be in uniform. For Roy, it means he has one more home game to try and suit up before making his long-awaited return to Portland next Friday.

Coach Rick Adelman said the team is scaling back its offense a bit to make sure the ball is in the right playmaker’s hands in the right situation.

This will be the first game Josh Howard, who signed this morning, suits up for the Wolves. Adelman said the game will dictate how minutes are played out but he still envisions Howard being able to be in the 5-6 minute per half range.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson said the key for Howard will be his conditioning.

“As a former player there’s nothing you can do to prepare for real basketball,” Jackson said. “You can work all you want in rec league workouts, but there’s nothing like being under the lights and playing against NBA talent. But Josh Howard is a veteran, a proven guy, and I’m sure he’s going to help them.”

With guard Will Conroy waived to make room for Howard, Adelman said he’ll need to get a little creative in how to get Luke Ridnour rest.

“When I’m able to rest him and sit him down then put him back in, he’s shooting the ball better, his legs are there,” Adelman said. “W hen I have to stretch minutes on him, they're not there. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and just hope Malcolm can do it, but you're right, with Will not here, we're going to have to try to find other ways to make sure Alexey is going to be on the floor more and Malcolm is going to have to kick it in, at least for this game. If JJ doesn't come back until next week, this is what we have."

Jackson, Kirilenko connection

Speaking of Jackson, he played one year toward the end of his career in Utah with Wolves forward Andrei Kirilenko, who was a second-year player at the time. He praised Kirilenko for his great hands, great slashing ability and for being a big-time defender.

In particular, Jackson said when he hit Kirilenko with a lob at the rim they called it “spasiba,” which means Thank You in Russian.

“We had a great relationship when I played with him,” Jackson said.

“He made me look a lot better than I was, and it was a lot of fun because not only is he a great basketball player but a great guy.”

Kirilenko said you can’t help but learn from players like Jackson, John Stockton and Karl Malone when you play alongside them.

“How they prepare for games, what they do on the floor, probably the perception of the game, quality of the game,” Kirilenko said. “You definitely lucky to have those kind of guys around you.”

Side note: That 2002-03 Jazz team that Jackson and Kirilenko played on together lost its Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup with Sacramento, which was coached by Rick Adelman.

Here are a few game notes for tonight:

  • The Wolves trail in the series, 41-47, but are 24-21 at home. Golden State took two of three from the Wolves in 2011-12, with the road team winning all three meetings. Golden State has won eight of the last 10 games in the series.


  • The Wolves rank 1st in the NBA in scoring defense, allowing just 88.5 points per game, and 2nd in opponents' field goal percentage at 41.4%. They also rank 1st in the NBA in defensive efficiency (number of points allowed per 100 possessions) at 94.8.


  • Andrei Kirilenko is filling the box score so far this season, averaging 13.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.6 steals. He ranks 8th in the NBA in field goal percentage at 60.3% (41-for-68) and 12h in blocked shots. He has recorded a point/rebound double-double the last three games (four total), averaging 17.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 43.7 minutes over that stretch.


  • Kirilenko scored 26 points vs. Charlotte on Wednesday, the 15th 26+ scoring output of his career, and just the third time he's scored 26+ points since the 2005-06 season.


  • Dante Cunningham has scored in double digits in three of the last four games, averaging 11.8 ppg on 61.1 % (22-36) shooting.


  • The Wolves have outscored their opponent in points in the paint in five of eight games and have an average edge of 43.0 - 37.0 for the season.


  • The Wolves are 5-0 when scoring 90+ points this season, and 4-0 when leading after three quarters.


  • Golden State is 2-2 on the road this season, losing its last two road contests. The Warriors have lost 11 straight games on Friday, including going 0-2 this season. Their last Friday win was March 25, 2011, 138-100 over Toronto.


  • The Warriors have held their opponent to under 40% shooting from the field in six of eight games this season. The team ranks 5th in the NBA in defensive field goal percentage at 41.9%.


  • Golden State ranks 6th in the NBA in rebounding with 45.00 per game. Individually, David Lee ranks 12th at 9.9 rpg.


  • David Lee has recorded three double-doubles in the last four games, averaging 17.0 points and 11.3 rebounds over that span.



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