GameDay Blog: Wolves vs. Warriors - Feb. 24, 2013

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Final: Final score here at Target Center, as the Wolves fall 100-99 today to the Golden State Warriors. The Wolves had a shot after Rubio hit a pair of free throws to make it a one-point game, and after Jack missed a jumper and the Wolves got the rebound, Luke Ridnour pushed the ball up court and had a look at a floater on the baseline that came up just short. D-Will finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds, Pek had 21 points, and Rubio had 16 points and 11 assists. Check back for updates throughout the day here at GSW 100, MIN 99

Q4 1:09: This one is coming down to late-game execution, folks. Pek gave the Wolves a two-point lead but Jack hit a 3-pointer that put the Warriors up 96-95. Then Rubio drove to the hoop, scored and was fouled to make it 97-96. He missed the free throw, and Stephen Curry hit a long jumper with 1:09 left to make it 98-97. Here we go. GSW 98, MIN 97

Q4 4:38: A couple of stats for Ricky Rubio as we head into the final stretch of tonight's game. He's got 10 points and 10 rebounds, good for his fifth point-assist double-double of the year. He also has six rebounds and six steals. He's currently two steals away from tying Brandon and Corbin for the franchise record in a single game. MIN 91, GSW 89

End Q3: That's the end of the third, and the Wolves found a way to endure a pretty strong Warriors run during that frame that in other games this year they have not been able to do. After Golden State came all the way back from 16 points down to take as much as a four-point lead before Minnesota came back. Led by that 6-0 run earlier in the frame, the Wolves responded and hold a five-point lead heading into the fourth. D-Will has his fifth double-double of the year with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and he's scored in double figures in six of his last eight games. MIN 81, GSW 76

Q3 1:58: Quick Derrick Williams update. He's got 18 points and 11 rebounds tonight so far on 8-of-13 shooting, good for the team's lead in both categories. He now has five double-doubles on the season, and he's scored in double digits in six of his last eight games. Warriors coach Mark Jackson noted he thinks D-Will has really found himself lately. He's not worrying about some of the issues he had earlier in the year, bouncing around between being a 3 or a 4, and he's just going out and playing. It's working for him right now. MIN 79, MIN 75

Q3 5:39: Golden State had trailed by as many as 16 before coming all the way back to take the lead with a Stephen Curry 3-pointer here in the third, but the Wolves have regained the lead with a 6-0 run that included a pair of field goals by Luke Ridnour and a hoop and the foul from Nikola Pekovic that put Minnesota back up 72-69. Pek is headed to the line out of this timeout to try and make it a four-point game. But the Warriors, who once were shooting 29 percent today, are now hitting at 52 percent as a team. MIN 72, GSW 69

Halftime: The Warriors rolled off a 16-9 run to end the quarter, and they're trailing by three as we head into the half. Really good production from Kirilenko (11 points) and Williams, Pekovic and Ridnour (all with 10 points) at the half, while Ridnour and Rubio each have five assists. D-Will three rebounds away from a double-double. For the Warriors, Jarrett Jack has a game-high 16 points, while Carl Landry has 12 and David Lee has 10. Golden State is holding a 28-10 advantage off the bench, thanks exclusively to Landry and Jack. The Wolves have a 36-20 lead in the paint, but they need to find a way to slow down the Warriors' perimeter play heading into the second half. MIN 55, GSW 52

Q2 5:08: Derrick Williams is putting together a really nice game so far. He's in double digits with 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting and also has six rebounds with five minutes left to go in the first half. For the Warriors, Jarrett Jack has really kept the team in this after a pretty tough start offensively. He began the game 5-of-5 (4-for-4 from 3) while the rest of the team was 5-for-19 at that point. The Warriors are now shooting 48 percent and have cut this to a 10-point Wolves lead as Pek and Rubio check back in. Minnesota will got small with Rubio, Barea and Shved here to combat Jack-Curry-Thompson also on the court. MIN 46, GSW 36

End Q1: The Wolves got a nice boost at the end of the quarter with Kirilenko going in for the lay-in, then Rubio stealing the inbound pass and dishing to AK who got fouled with 6.4 left in the quarter. AK hit both free throws, capping off four points in the span of five seconds. But Jarrett Jack hit a running floater just inside the top of the key as time expired to make it a 14-point game as we head into the second. J.J. Barea and Shved will join AK, DC and Greg Stiemsma beginning the second. MIN 32, GSW 18

Q1 2:46: We got our first Rubi-oop of the game a few minutes ago as Pek got his hands on a Warriors interior pass, Rubio took the ball up court and found D-Will racing to the basket for the two-handed slam. Great play that really energized the crowd. The Wolves are playing sound defense today so far, holding Golden State to 5-of-17 shooting. Shved and Rubio are now in the back court after this latest timeout. MIN 24, GSW 13

Q1 6:28: Excellent start for the Wolves both on the offensive and defensive ends. They're shooting 7-of-12 and getting productive minutes out of guys like Derrick Williams, who has four points on 2-of-3 shooitng and already has four rebounds today. Pek has six points on 3-of-5 shooting, and the Wolves have gone to the line five times in the first 5 1/2 minutes. On the defensive end, the Wolves are holding Curry and the sharpshooting Warriors to 30 percent shooting (3-of-10). On a bright note for the Warriors, Stephen Curry does have some early 90s throwback sneakers on rocking the teal, red and yellow. MIN 18, GSW 6

PG-Stephen Curry, SG-Klay Thompson, SF-Harrison Barnes, PF-David Lee, C- Andris Biedrins

Wolves: PG-Ricky Rubio, SG-Luke Ridnour, SF-Andrei Kirilenko, PF-Derrick Williams, C-Nikola Pekovic

Pregame 2:15 PM: Welcome to Target Center for the Timberwolves one and only Sunday matinee of the 2012-13 season. I will tell you from a media perspective that matinees are wonderful not only because it allows us to file stories earlier in the day but the brunch served pregame is excellent. It is, indeed, a good day here at Target Center from this reporter’s seat.

And it could be a good day for the Wolves, too, if they are able to contain the Warriors’ back court this afternoon. But that’s not an easy thing to do. The combination of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Jarrett Jack off the bench has been a key component to the Warriors’ success, and there’s no better indicator of that than Friday’s 107-101 win over the San Antonio Spurs—the team with the best record in the league. Jack score 30 points off the bench, while Curry had 19 and Thompson had 10 as Golden State came from 13 points down in the second half.

Wolves coach Rick Adelman said Jack is continuing to make a strong case for postseason accolades with his play.

“I really think that when you talk about the different people for Sixth Man of the Year, he’s got to be one of them,” Adelman said. “He’s been a key for them all year long. Those three guards are really difficult, and they all shoot the ball well. It is going to be a challenge for us.”

Each one of the three have the ability to take over a game, and they’ve demonstrated that this month. In February, Jack is averaging 19.7 points and 6.7 assists, Curry is averaging 21.7 points and 7.4 assists and Thompson is averaging 15.7 points per game.

Golden State proved just how dangerous a team they can be in knocking off the NBA’s best, and despite losing six straight between Feb. 5-19, coach Mark Jackson’s squad has continued to battle and now is looking for their third straight victory today.

“We remain confident, we said that when we were losing six in a row,” Jackson said. “We were not going to panic, and we were not going to go anywhere, and we meant it.”

The Warriors are 2-0 against Minnesota this year, but they haven’t seen Ricky Rubio yet and the last time the two teams played was Nov. 24. In that 96-85 loss, the Wolves started Malcolm Lee and Kevin Love. A lot has changed since then, and Adelman admitted it.

Adelman anticipates seeing a smaller lineup tonight because of that smooth guard play, and that could mean a big night for Nikola Pekovic depending on if the Wolves are able to hit shots from the outside. Jackson said Pek’s ability to seal, get low, set screens and rebound makes him a tough matchup. But Adelman said without some perimeter shooting, Pek could be facing four defenders in the paint all day.

“We’ll see how much effect they have,” Adelman said. “We have to go to our strengths, too, and one of them is going to him inside.”

Here are a few notes as we get set for tipoff. Starting lineups to come.

  • The Wolves trail in the all-time series 41-49, but are 24-22 at home. Golden State has won the last four games in the series and 17 of the last 22 contests. The Warriors won the two meetings earlier this season: 106-98 at Target Center on Nov. 16, and 96-85 at ORACLE Arena on Nov. 24.

  • Minnesota is 13-13 at home this season, but just 2-7 in its last nine games at Target Center.

  • Ricky Rubio is averaging 14.3 points, 9.4 assists and 2.75 steals in 34.1 minutes per game over the last eight games. He has recorded four point/assist double-doubles over that stretch. Rubio has tallied double-digit assists in five of the last eight games. He has 17 steals in the last four games.

  • Nikola Pekovic is averaging 17.1 points, on 52.0% shooting, and 9.9 rebounds in his last 29 games (14 double-doubles). He ranks 17th in the NBA in rebounds with 8.9 rpg, 4th in offensive rebounds with 3.8 per game, 20th in double-doubles with 20 and 28th in field goal percentage at 50.6%. Pekovic has pulled down at least one offensive board in 57 straight games, tied for the 3rd-longest active streak in the NBA (Kevin Love - 75, Tyson Chandler – 58, Anderson Varejao - 57).

  • Luke Ridnour is averaging 15.7 ppg on 50.7% shooting -- including 58.8% on two-point shots in the last six games. He's shooting 51.1% (70-for-137) in the last 13 games. Ridnour is the only Wolves player to play in all 52 games (all starts).

  • Derrick Williams is averaging 15.1 points and 8.3 rebounds over the last seven games, including posting two double-doubles.

  • The Wolves rank 5th in the NBA in FT attempts per game (25.8) and 6th in fewest FT attempts allowed per game (20.8). They've shot 30+ FTs 17 times and allowed less than 20 FT attempts 20 times.

  • Golden State is 6th in the Western Conference, 2.0 games behind Denver and 1.5 ahead of Utah. The Warriors are 14-16 on the road. Their 108-98 win Feb. 20 vs. Phoenix snapped a six-game losing streak and their win vs. San Antonio on Friday snapped a 16-game losing streak to the Spurs.

  • The Warriors rank 2nd in the NBA in three-point FG% at .393 and 3rd in FT% at .797. They rank 3rd in total rebounding (44.8 rpg) and first in defensive rebounding (33.8)

  • Stephen Curry is one of three players (LeBron James, Russell Westbrook) to be averaging at least 20 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. He ranks 2nd in the NBA in three-pointers made (158), 6th in three-point field-goal percentage (.443) and 3rd in free-throw percentage (.903).

  • David Lee grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds and scored 25 points in the Warriors’ win Friday vs. San Antonio. He has a league-high 19 games with 20+ points and 10+ rebounds. Lee ranks 1st in the NBA with 35 double-doubles and 7th in rebounding with 11.0 rpg.

  • Jarrett Jack leads all NBA reserves in assists with 5.6 apg. He tallied 30 points and 10 assists in Friday's game vs. San Antonio, becoming the first player to record a 30-point/10-assist game off the bench since Magic Johnson on Feb. 16, 1996 vs. Dallas.

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