Wolves Lose First Summer League Game to Mavericks 93-85

Sam Mitchell, Wolves coach, and Zach LaVine during the Wolves' first Summer League game.

Megan Schuster
Web Editorial Assistant

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The Wolves played in the team’s first Summer League game of 2014 on Saturday afternoon against the Dallas Mavericks.

The game was played in Las Vegas—as all of the team’s games will be during this tournament—and Minnesota used this opportunity to show off its young talent.

The Wolves started the game off strong, ending the first quarter with a one-point lead, but Dallas came roaring back through rest of the game and shot a scorching 47.5 percent from the floor. After being down by as many as 22 points in the contest, Minnesota lost 93-85 to the Dallas Mavericks.

In the starting lineup for Minnesota were a few returning players in Alexey Shved, entering his third year in the NBA, and Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad who are both coming into their second seasons. Rounding out the starters were rookies Zach LaVine, the first round draft pick for the Wolves, and the team’s second round pick Glenn Robinson III.

LaVine started off playing point guard, the position head coach Flip Saunders has said he would like to see LaVine play for his team this season. Though many had doubts about LaVine’s ability to see the floor and be an effective ball-handler, he showed good court vision on Saturday and was still able to get his points while taking care of the point guard responsibilities.

Muhammad led the Wolves in scoring through the first, finishing with 11 points off 5-of-11 shooting in the quarter. Shved and Dieng were the next leading scorers with six and four points respectively, and, at the end of the first, the Wolves were up 25-24 over the Mavericks.

Dallas made a run to start the second, and was up over the Wolves 34-29 with 6:20 to go in the half. After a fast-pace to start the game that stretched through the first quarter, the teams fell into a half-court offense and the youth of the Wolves struggled a bit more from the floor.

They were down 10 with just over three minutes to go when Muhammad showed effort to get a tough put-back underneath the basket. Muhammad was all over the floor for the Wolves in the first half, keeping his team close to the Mavericks when the offensive production wasn’t strong. He led the team both in points, finishing with 27, and energy plays, trying to inspire his young teammates.

The Wolves scored 16 points in the quarter to Dallas’ 27, and the team went into halftime down 51-41 to the Mavericks.

Two quick 3s for Dallas entering the third put the Mavericks up 16 just over a minute into the half. Minnesota struggled defending the 3-point arc during most of the contest, and Dallas had success there—shooting 7-of-21 from behind the line. The Mavericks were on a 14-2 run to open the quarter.

The Wolves were sloppy on offense at the beginning of the third, which could be contributed to youth, nerves and inexperience. After starting the game hot with a run-and-gun offensive plan in the first, Minnesota continued to struggle in the half-court offense.

Finally, it looked like the team was starting to get its rhythm back. The Wolves were back within 14 with 4:30 to go in the third following a four big points from LaVine. After much of the offense fell to Muhammad and Dieng in the first half, LaVine stepped up in the third with seven straight points.

Despite a good effort from LaVine to try and put his team back within single digits, Dallas led Minnesota 72-58 going into the fourth quarter.

The Wolves battled back to within eight just two minutes into the fourth. Their defense tightened up a bit, no doubt after a discussion with Sam Mitchell, Wolves assistant coach who is the acting head coach in Wolves Summer League games.

Minnesota stayed in the contest, hovering right around an 8-12 point deficit for much of the fourth quarter. At times it would appear the team was going to make a run, but Dallas played a disciplined, gritty quarter and managed to keep the Wolves at bay.

Minnesota fell to the Mavericks on Saturday by a final score of 93-85.

View Game Highlights and Box Score

The Numbers Game

  • Gorgui Dieng finished with a double-double for the Wolves, with 12 points and 10 boards in the contest.
  • Dallas shot 47.5 percent from the floor. If the Wolves hope to by the type of defense-first squad Flip Saunders has in mind, the team’s defense will need to be adjusted before Sunday night’s game against…
  • Shabazz Muhammad led the Wolves in both scoring and rebounding, finishing with 27 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Four of the five Wolves starters—Dieng, LaVine, Muhammad and Alexey Shved—finished with double-digit points.

Looking Ahead

The Wolves don’t have any time to rest, as they play their next game Sunday night at 9:30 p.m. CT. They are scheduled to play the Washington Wizards in Las Vegas.

Minnesota wraps up its initial set of games Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. CT against the Chicago Bulls. After this game, the team’s next contest date, time and opponent will be released.