Wolves Roll Past Magic, 90-75
Web Editorial Associate
The question Wednesday night was whether or not the Timberwolves would continue their hot streak—and save for one quarter, Orlando never had a chance.
Minnesota was coming off of a historic comeback Monday night in Brooklyn where an incredible fourth quarter effort lifted them to an 11-point win. They kept things rolling on Wednesday, snapping a seven-game losing streak to Orlando with a 90-75 victory.
“It was a solid win,” coach Rick Adelman said. “Our guys followed the game play defensively really well. They ran them off the 3-point line. Everybody was active.”
The game was kept out of Orlando’s reach except for an odd second quarter, one where Minnesota only managed 12 points. Late in the third quarter, however, the Wolves went on a 28-6 run over the next 8:30 to take an 86-59 lead.
“We had a tough second quarter shooting the ball,” Adelman said. “But we still defended well, and in the third quarter we opened it up.”
Luke Ridnour led the Wolves’ in scoring with 19 points, including a 3-of-4 rate from the perimeter. Derrick Williams pitched in 14 of his own, and Nikola Pekovic added another 11. The night’s most impressive contributor, however, may have come from bench center Greg Stiemsma, who shot 6-of-7 from the field for 12 points—eight of which were in the third quarter, when Minnesota needed a boost.
“He has been playing well offensively, too,” Adelman said of Stiemsma, who is normally known for his defense. “He knocks down the open shot, and he is in the right spot at the right time. I knew he could shoot it, but he is really skilled and really smart. He goes to the place he needs to go to, and that's big.”
After shooting 0-for-6 in the first half, Orlando guard J.J. Redick caught fire in the third, making five straight shots. He ended up with 16 points, supplemented by 12 from Arron Afflalo and 11 from rookie Andrew Nicholson.
“He’s a great shooter,” Chase Budinger said of Redick. “That’s what he does. He got some great looks, and I felt like our defense on him was pretty strong. He was making tough shots, and lucky for us, he started to miss some.”
For a team that is gaining momentum quickly, this is another encouraging move forward. Sitting at 3-1—Minnesota’s best start to a season since 2001-02—the Timberwolves fan base has reason to be excited.
Leader of the Pack: Greg Stiemsma
Normally known as a large presence below the hoop, Greg Stiemsma began a stretch in the third quarter where he was very efficient, shooting 4-5 for eight points. He went on to total 12 for the game, and not all of his baskets were near the basket. He stepped out and hit some long jumpers, something that surprises anyone who watched him during his college days at Wisconsin.
“That might have been a first,” Stiemsma said when asked about the last time he scored 12 in a half. “I’ve never really been a scoring guy, but I feel confident in my offense. My jumper feels good, so I’m going to let it run.”
Highlight of the Night
After a Kirilenko dunk assisted by Brandon Roy (who tallied nine total for the night), Derrick Williams stole the ball from Redick and ran the length of the court, finishing on the other end with a fierce dunk. Gustavo Ayon was trailing behind and contested, but Williams was just too powerful to let anything stand in his way. This pushed the Wolves’ lead to 20-10, continuing a hot first quarter.
The Numbers Game
Quote of the Night
“We know our circumstances, and we know that every win right now is big. We have to get used to winning in this building. We’ve been saying that winning needs to become a habit.”—Minnesota center Greg Stiemsma
Minnesota hosts Indiana on Friday night, marking their fourth straight contest against an Eastern Conference opponent. The Pacers come into Target Center with a 2-3 record, and will be without their starting small forward in Danny Granger.