I really can’t believe the comeback that happened tonight for the Wolves in Brooklyn. Without their two best players, Minnesota went on the road, got down by 22 on unbelievable shooting from the Nets, and still managed to pull out a victory.
Alexey Shved and his new haircut became a real pro player tonight, Dante CunningHAM continued to woo us with his incredible energy and valuable movement off the bench, and the 3-point field goals finally began to fall. This is such a cliché but this was a total team effort on all counts. They were getting blown out as a team and came back as a team. Their mistakes were corrected during the course of the game and the regression eventually smacked the mean in the face and challenged it to a duel at ten paces.
Rick Adelman can’t receive enough credit for the coaching job he did. He trusted guys who were getting the job done, and gave them the tools and scheme to get it done. Check out the night’s grades after the jump.
(Note: if you’re not seeing grades show up, try looking in Firefox. There have been issues with Chrome and the recap generator.)
|Derrick Williams, PF 18 MIN | 3-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | -12 I’ll give DW this: he attacked the basket and that’s exactly what you want to see him doing. Eight of his 12 shots came in the restricted area. The problem is he only made two of them. I still don’t think Derrick is a lost cause by any means. He’s doing more of what Adelman pleaded for him to do; he just has to finish it now. But as Zach Lowe said on Twitter, positive things are happening when he’s on the bench.|
|Andrei Kirilenko, SF 33 MIN | 7-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 6 AST | 16 PTS | +4 I can’t say enough about Andrei. He just does everything out there. He put up 16-10-6-1-4 tonight and completely changed the game. He never let the Wolves get out of the game, kept fighting on defense, and kept making plays. He had nine points and five assists in the third quarter when it looked like the game could be over. Incredible effort from AK tonight.|
|Nikola Pekovic, C 26 MIN | 9-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 21 PTS | +3 Early on in the game, the Wolves dominated the paint while the Nets dominated the perimeter. Part of that was due to Pek’s dominance inside. He scored 17 points in the first half, off a myriad of offensive rebounds and quick moves in the post. When the Nets tried to gamble on steals, he sealed them off. And his two HUGE blocks in the fourth helped seal the victory.|
|Luke Ridnour, PG 19 MIN | 2-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | -5 I thought Luke did an admirable job on defense, considering the size and quickness he gives up to Deron Williams. However, there just wasn’t a ton he could do to bother Williams. What Luke did do was remind the Wolves they’re allowed to make 3-point shots. Not a good night overall, but he was just influential enough to help make up for Deron roasting him.|
|Brandon Roy, SG 29 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 6 PTS | -2 Roy moved a lot better on offense tonight, and while he didn’t score much at all, he did find a way to make plays. He found guys consistently inside in the first half, amassing six assists by halftime. Defensively though, he was pretty brutal. After Sunday night’s showing in Toronto, people were freaking out. I think with the way he moved tonight, you can calm those thoughts a bit.|
|Dante Cunningham, PF 26 MIN | 5-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | +18 Dante Cunningham is a game-changer — pure and simple. His effort ia valuable movement on both ends at all times. He gets into spaces on offense and takes away spaces on defense. He didn’t shoot well from the field but he ended up with a double-double in 26 minutes. He was way too active for the bigger but slower Nets’ frontcourt. As of right now, he should get the PF minutes off the bench when Love comes back.|
|Lou Amundson, PF 6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -6 Didn’t have many minutes and didn’t do much during his minutes. He came in because of early foul trouble to the Wolves’ bigs.|
|Chase Budinger, SF 26 MIN | 7-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +21 Look whose shot finally decided to join us! Chase had eight points in the fourth quarter, and three big defensive rebounds. The other night, the Wolves couldn’t end possessions with defensive boards when they needed them. Chase helped out in that respect, along with providing some sharp-shooting antics. Great to have that barrel pointed at the other team.|
|Greg Stiemsma, C 10 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +1 Stiemsma didn’t have much time out there, even with Pek’s early foul trouble. But he made a couple of shots. You’d like to see him get at least one rebound in 10 minutes though.|
|Alexey Shved, PG 18 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | +16 Okay, let’s discuss Alexey Shved for a minute. I don’t know if it’s the new haircut or someone told him Russia would get a medal if they won, but he stepped up and played a phenomenal 4th quarter. All 10 of his points came in the last quarter, and he played all but two seconds of the quarter. He finally broke through and showed what he’s capable of. He’s a playmaker out there, even if the defense isn’t good.|
|Jose Juan Barea, PG 30 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 6 PTS | +17 Barea didn’t do much overall on offense, but I thought his defense was pretty impressive. He was part of the fourth quarter lineups that drove the comeback. Barea was a pest and stopped letting people walk all over the Wolves’ perimeter in the fourth.|
Five Things We Saw
- 3-point shooting disparity and catch-up. At one point in the second half, the Nets were 13-of-19 from 3-point range and the Wolves were just 3-of-12. That was a 30-point difference in downtown shooting. Just about everything else in the game was even. Then the Wolves started knocking down shots and defending the perimeter. The Wolves made four of their final eight 3-point attempts and the Nets missed their final four attempts. HUGE change from the way the game was going.
- Taking care of the ball. After Sunday night’s game and a turnover on the first possession against the Nets, I figured we were in for an arduous night. But the Wolves took great care of the basketball. Part of that is because the Nets didn’t have good defenders out there, especially in the frontcourt. Gerald Wallace missing the game was huge for keeping control of the ball. More nights like this and we’ll see just how efficient the offense can be.
- The bench, man. The Wolves’ second unit tonight had a brutal start. The Nets were carving them up and shutting them down, causing many people to tweet me about how bad the bench is for Minnesota. Oddly enough, I didn’t get those same tweets after the comeback. The effort to stick with the game plan and fight back in the second half was huge.
- Defense. The Wolves’ perimeter defense was bad in the first half. In the second half, the defense picked up but the Nets were still making contested 3-pointers. In the fourth quarter though, the Wolves shut it down. Brook Lopez made two free throws with 4:07 left in the game to tie the score. Brooklyn didn’t score the rest of the night. The Nets went 0-for-6 with three turnovers and were blocked twice by Pek in the final 4:07. D-FENSE.
- Where Brooklyn at? In the loss column. BOOM NAILED IT