This one was not so fun.
Game six of the seven-game road trip looked like this team was just tired of being away from the Target Center. The energy was low, the effort was inadequate and the Wolves just seemed like they wanted out of there. I don’t really blame them. Not having Pekovic and Rubio has taken a toll on this team. The inside of the lane is a lot harder to patrol for the Wolves on both ends. The top of the defense is trying, but they’re just not the same without Rubio and his elastic wingspan deterring basic passes around the perimeter and into the post.
Gregg Popovich probably knew exactly how this game was going to go. Without Pekovic inside, he was going to make Love be a primary defender against the older but still effective Tim Duncan. If the Wolves fought back early, he’d probably unleash Manu and Parker drives all night. If not, he’d let Timmy break the will of Minnesota by showing them that even this old man could kick their butts on any given night. The Spurs had their perimeter attack waiting in the wings (no pun intended… okay, maybe it was a little intended) to unleash on a tired and road weary Wolves team. The Spurs are number one in the league in 3-point percentage and they’ll break your backs and runs with it.
In the end, the Wolves just were outmanned and out-energized for this game. One more Friday night in OKC before they get to come home and reacquaint themselves with home briefly. Grades after the jump.
|Wesley Johnson, SG
25 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -11There was a moment in the second half when Wes Johnson got up and snatched a rebound in traffic away from everybody else. It made me remember that Wes is a freak athlete that should find a way to utilize it more. I had forgotten he was in the game before that moment and forgot he was in shortly after.
|Derrick Williams, F
37 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -10I don’t mind D Dub shooting 4/12 when I see that he only took one 3-point shot. He’s getting closer to the basket. Hold on a second… what’s that? He was 0/6 from 16-23 feet last night. Get to the basket, Derrick.
|Kevin Love, PF
30 MIN | 5-13 FG | 6-9 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 17 PTS | -24Nice fantasy numbers from Kevin Love and he got his 40th double-double of the season. But he played atrocious defense against Tim Duncan all night. I am happy Love got to the FT line so much, but his defense wasn’t close to adequate.
|Luke Ridnour, PG
25 MIN | 1-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -23Luke was terrible – both ends of the floor. Has to be tired with the workload he’s had all season.
|Martell Webster, SF
24 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -17The old Shark Fin played pretty well. He attacked the basket and his defense was… well… it wasn’t good but it at least looked like he was trying.
|Anthony Tolliver, PF
31 MIN | 6-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 16 PTS | 0I’m giving AT a perfect score because I don’t think you could have asked him to play better. He was at the rim all night, making six of his eight shots there. He got to the free throw line, he flew in for rebounds. HE ACTUALLY PLAYED DEFENSE. AT brought the ruckus last night.
|Jose Juan Barea, PG
30 MIN | 7-13 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 11 AST | 18 PTS | -8I love the way JJ has played the last two games. 21 assists in those contests and he’s actually making the offense look pretty competent. Barea leading the second unit helped make this game less of a joke for a while.
|Wayne Ellington, G
23 MIN | 7-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | +9Wayne’s defense also wasn’t spectacular, but he was completely competent on offense. Wayne is one of the few guys on this team I want taking outside jumpers on a consistent basis. Hope he gets more playing time the rest of the way.
|Michael Beasley, SF
11 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -2I forgot Beasley played before I went back over it. That can’t be a good thing and it’s happened way too much this year.
Three Things We Saw
- Horrific defense. It looked like San Antonio was in a scrimmage for most of this game. The Wolves didn’t shut off the lane (43 shots at the rim for the Spurs) and they allowed a lot of offensive rebounds.
- Poor shot selection. Wolves were a combined 12/44 from 16 feet on out in this game and never seemed all that interested in getting to the basket. Part of that could be the Spurs’ defense. It’s still really good and they allow the sixth fewest shots at the rim in the association. But a lot of that also looked like tired legs from a long road trip.
- Stephen Jackson still hates us. StackJack’s fifth highest field goal percentage for his career is against the Wolves. His highest 3-point percentage against any team is when he plays the Wolves. Last night he was 6/9 from the field and 3/4 from 3-point range Sounds about right.