Scouting Report: Wolves at Bucks
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Wolves (0-1) at Bucks (0-1) 7:30 PM - Bradley Center
Where to Wach: FS North
Where to Listen: 830 AM WCCO
*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on WCCO 830 AM.
One thing in particular stood out in Monday’s 104-100 loss to Oklahoma City: The Timberwolves simply couldn’t sink a 3-point shot.
Be it nerves or just an off night, Minnesota shot 3-for-22 from behind the arc against a talented Thunder squad, and it cost them. Fortunately for the Wolves, they’ll get a chance to rectify that statistic on Tuesday in Milwaukee against a Bucks team they beat twice in the regular season in large part due to their 3-point proficiency.
When the Wolves and Bucks square off tonight at 7:30 p.m., Minnesota hopes its preseason form behind the arc returns—the form that led to shooting 20-for-43 in two exhibition games against the Bucks.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well at all (Monday), the threes, a lot of shots we usually make,” coach Rick Adelman said. “But we were right in the game, so I have to take a lot of positives out of it.”
Key Matchup: Battle at the point
Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings has become a reliable playmaker for Milwaukee over the past two seasons, and he showed it again on Monday in the Bucks’ 96-95 loss to Charlotte.
Jennings scored 22 points to lead all scorers in the game while dishing off four assists and finishing 3-of-6 from 3-point land. He’ll likely once again get a slew of Wolves guards matched up against him, as Luke Ridnour, Ricky Rubio and JJ Barea all shared time at the point on Monday against the Thunder.
The rotation worked offensively down the stretch for Minnesota, as the Wolves turned a 12-point third quarter deficit into a one-point lead with less than three minutes left, but defensively the Wolves had a tough time slowing down Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook who, particularly against the rookie Rubio, used reverse cuts and aggressive slashes through the lane to amass 28 points and six assists in the contest.
Player to watch: Darko Milicic
Center Darko Milicic quietly put together a solid game on Monday against the Thunder. He scored 12 points—eight coming in the third to help keep the Wolves within striking distance—and went 4-for-6 from the free-throw line in 19 minutes.
But it was his fire in the lane against Oklahoma City’s Kendrick Perkins that fueled his teammates. Milicic battled Perkins all game, trading blows in the paint and energized the Wolves squad by drawing fouls in several of those head to head matchups.
"I loved it," Barea said. "I told Darko I love it. Be physical. I don't care who it is."
Adelman to miss Tuesday’s game
The Timberwolves announced Monday that head coach Rick Adelman will miss Tuesday’s game to attend the funeral services for his mother-in-law. Assistant coach Terry Porter, who was the head coach for Milwaukee from 2003-2005, will act as head coach in Adelman’s absence.
Grit in the fourth
One positive the Wolves took away from Monday’s loss is its fourth-quarter comeback. A year ago Minnesota let games slip away late, but against the Thunder the Timberwolves held a 28-26 fourth-quarter advantage.
In two preseason games, that was also the case. Minnesota outscored the Bucks a combined 43-34 in two exhibition fourth quarters, including an 11-point comeback to win 85-84 o Dec. 21.
“Last year that was one of our problems,” forward Michael Beasley said. “Fourth quarter we’d get blown out of the water. This year, it’s one of the first games, but we gave ourselves a chance to win, and it just didn’t work out for us.”
You can become a part of the Wolves Radio Network by Howling at the Wolves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio or @JWFocke and Studio Host John Focke and Coach Steve Brown will answer them on 830 WCCO and the Wolves Radio Network.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.