There are a lot of words and phrases that would be appropriate to use to describe Friday night’s game against the Houston Rockets. Exciting. Thrilling. Historic.
We’ll go with a name.
Brewer tied a franchise-record with 51 points as the Wolves won a 112-110 nail-biter against the Rockets on Friday night at the Target Center.
Brewer was efficient, shooting 19-of-30 from the field. He was sneaky. He had a game-high six steals. He was a one-man machine and if you stepped on a random spot on the floor, chances are he made a shot from that spot. Brewer was finding spots inside, outside, from halfcourt and from the free-throw line. Simply put, it was a “Don’t Blink” moment from the slender slasher.
“Obviously Corey was incredible,” said Wolves coach Rick Adelman. “Unbelievable game. I don’t know where he comes up with the energy he has. He played 45 minutes (44:53) and he’s still going strong at the end.”
[Related Content: Mark Remme writes Corey Brewer's hard work all season led to him being rewarded with his 51-point effort on Friday. His teammates couldn't be happier for him.]
The former Gator’s performance was especially notable because Adelman wasn’t sure where he was going to get his points from going into the game. The Wolves knew they would be without Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic, Chase Budinger and Shabazz Muhammad. What they didn’t know is that they would be without All-Star power forward Kevin Love. The team announced just minutes before tipoff that Love would miss the game due to a right elbow injury.
“I think Pek and the two Kevins have been holding him back,” Adelman joked.
There will be plenty of talk about Brewer on the site for the next few days, but there was another hero in the game. Rookie Gorgui Dieng hauled in 20 rebounds and scored 12 points. The two most important points came with just four seconds left in the game. The Wolves and Rockets were tied at 110 after James Harden made a 26-foot 3-pointer. Ricky Rubio fed Dieng a pass that he bobbled right away. Somehow, Dieng regained possession and made a 6-foot jumper.
It ended up being the game-winner.
“What can you say?” Adelman said. “I guess he’s been working on that shot all the way through and I didn’t call timeout, I just didn’t… I felt they (the Rockets) were just kind of disorganized and I didn’t want them to get set. And I wasn’t sure what they were going to call. We had a group out there that you know, we hadn’t played very much together.”
Brewer, believe it or not, led all scorers with 51 points. He also had a game-high six steals. Dante Cunningham added 20 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. Rubio had 16 points and a game-high 10 assists. Dieng closed the night with 12 points, 20 boards and two blocks. It’s the second time in three weeks that he’s put up 20 or more rebounds against the Rockets.
Harden led the Rockets with 33 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and six steals. Parsons added 37 points, seven assists, seven rebounds and four steals. Jeremy Lin, who filled in for the injured Patrick Beverley, scored 14 points, but shot just 3-of-10 from the field.
The Wolves moved above .500, sitting at 40-39. It’s the first time Minnesota has hit 40 wins since the 2004-05 season. The win over the Rockets is the fourth team with a winning record the Wolves have beat within the last 10 days.
Leader of the Pack: Corey Brewer
What else can we say about Brewer’s night?
Most of the time we like to put key stats and numbers in our “Numbers Game” but we’ve got plenty of them so we’ll be generous and donate them to this section.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Brewer is just the fourth player to score 50+ points and grab 6+ steals: Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan and Rick Barry. Not bad company…
Brewer's 19 field goals match the most in franchise history (Garnett, Szczerbiak). Sixteen of his 19 field goals were within three feet of the basket. Tonight was also just the 10th time in club history a player has attempted 30+ field goals.
He was also just the 11th player in franchise history to record a 40 plus point game. It’s a night Brewer will definitely remember for the rest of his life.
Don’t Blink Highlight of the Night
Despite Brewer’s fantastic night, a win wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Dieng’s game-winning shot. It was his first ever game-winning shot and just the 45th time in club history the Wolves have won a game by scoring the deciding points with five seconds left.
Dieng won the Rookie of the Month Award in March and was handed the trophy before Friday’s game. We have a feeling he’ll have a few more trophies in his case when it’s all said and done.
The Numbers Game
Wolves 112, Rockets 110
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- Of Brewer’s 19 field goals, 14 were layups, two were dunks, two were 3-pointers and one was a midrange jumper.
- The combined record of Minnesota’s last four teams its defeated: 214-102 (.677).
- The Wolves had 39 fastbreak points tonight, the most since it was tracked in 1996.
- Brewer is the fifth player in the NBA this season to score 50+ points, joining Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant (2x), LeBron James and Terrence Ross.
- Via Elias, Brewer has the fifth-lowest career scoring average (10.0 ppg) among players with 50+ points in a game.
“It’s just two points.” – rookie center Gorgui Dieng after being asked about his game-winning shot. He’s so modest.
The Wolves have their last road trip of the season as they travel to play the Sacramento Kings on Sunday (8 p.m.) and the Golden State Warriors (9:30 p.m.). Sunday’s game will air on Fox Sports North Plus and WCCO 830-AM. Monday’s game will air on Fox Sports North and WCCO 830-AM.