Quick Hits | Minnesota vs. New Orleans Reaction
Quick Hits | Minnesota vs. Pelicans Reaction
After last night’s 88-77 win over the New Orleans Pelicans at the Target Center, our Kyle Ratke made a few observations. He typed them here. Enjoy.
1.) Pek’s Replacements
The biggest concern going into the game for the Timberwolves was the absence of big man Nikola Pekovic. At shootaround before the game, we had the chance to talk to Ronny Turiaf and Gorgui Dieng, the two likely replacements for Pekovic.
How’d the two do?
Turiaf: 4 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 altered shot, 2-of-5 from the field, 26 minutes and 13 seconds of play
Dieng:0 points, 4 rebounds, 0-of-2 from the field, 6 minutes and 26 seconds of play
That only adds up to about 33 minutes of play… Well, that’s because the Wolves were forced to play some small ball to match New Orleans, playing Dante Cunningham a bit at the five as well. Cunningham, according to Basketball Reference, had his best game since Jan. 10, scoring 12 points while grabbing six rebounds in 20 minutes of play. Cunningham was 6-of-7 from the field.
He’s mostly known for his midrange shot. Last night he was putting the ball on the floor and driving a bit, which shows he was riding that confidence train. It was against a depleted team, but I can assure you Rick Adelman is just fine with that.
2.) This is the latest in a season (45 games) the Wolves have been over .500 since 2004-05 (24-21).
This is a fact that the Timberwolves PR team can confirm. You think I dig for these nuggets? Ha, good one.
Who was on that 2004-05 team, you ask?
Anthony Carter, Sam Cassell, Ndudi Ebi, some Kevin Garnett guy, Eddie Griffin, Trenton Hassell, Fred “The Mayor” Hoiberg, Troy Hudson, Ervin Johnson, Mark Madsen, Michael Olowokandi, Latrell Sprewell, Wally Szczerbiak and John Thomas.
What was I doing during 2005? Well, I didn’t have my driver’s license. I was probably very awkward and still afraid to talk to girls. I realized that I wasn’t the next Cris Carter, Allen Iverson or Derek Jeter. At best, I was Chris Walsh, Rex Walters or Luis Rivas. I also was going through my chubby period. My mom will gladly show you photos. Stupid mom.
The Wolves have won five out of six games and with both Dallas and Denver losing last night, Minnesota is just two games back from Dallas for the eight seed. Is this the run the Wolves have been looking for?
Kevin Martin was very physical on the defensive end last night. I’m not sure if Adelman gave him a talk before the game or what, but man, it was pretty fun to watch.
Martin isn’t the biggest guy on the court. In fact, compared to most players, he’s kind of scrawny, but that’s what made what he did last night all the better.
Pelicans center/forward Greg Stiemsma just got outmuscled for a rebound by shooting guard Kevin Martin. http://t.co/SK5fWkjvK4
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) January 30, 2014
Plus, he scored 18 or more points for the sixth time in his last seven games. His 3.4 rebounds per game are his highest total since the 2009-10 season.
Like I’ve always said, when Kevin Love and Kevin Martin combine for 16.3 rebounds per game, the Wolves have a great chance to win.