Wolves 107, Nets 96: Reactions and grades

Zach Harper —  November 6, 2012 — 12 Comments

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.)

Minnesota Timberwolves 107 Final Recap | Box Score 96 Brooklyn Nets
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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Where Brooklyn at? In the loss column. BOOM NAILED IT

Zach Harper

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12 responses to Wolves 107, Nets 96: Reactions and grades

  1. Random Timberwolves Fan November 6, 2012 at 1:01 am

    Since when was Shved’s defense not any good? Honestly, his all around defense has impressed me more than anything. I haven’t seen him get burned off his man once.

  2. You might want to look again. He has active hands but slow feet.

  3. Random Timberwolves Fan November 6, 2012 at 1:09 am

    I honestly disagree. He effectively D’d up D-Will(good) in iso situations in the 4th, and D-Will(good) iso’s were aplenty. I was expecting atrocity on the defensive end — I think he’s shown he’s already capable of D’ing up non-tier 1 SGs. Of course, time will tell, but he has shades of Rubio on the defensive end in my beautifully skewed, homer-lensed eyes.

  4. I don’t necessarily think Shved’s a good defender, but I seriously feared for him after what I saw at the Olympics. He got lost a ton and was benched numerous times because of it. However, he looks much improved from what I’ve seen out there.

  5. Was interesting went with a bench lineup and pek to finish the game- kept screaming for him to put AK in but i couldn’t tell you who to take out. WOW great win

  6. Great win and what a boost of confidence going forward. AK47 has been playing his butt off on both ends of the court and is quietly having a good start to the year. Few things I noticed. Roy doesnt deserve to start at this point. His legs just are not strong enough. Adelman may want to go with a smaller line up. Barea, Buddinger, Cunningham, AK47, Pek as an example. Williams and Roy are slowing the offense down.

  7. Wolves should adopt the fantasy mindset on Williams. If he has a great game trade him at once. He’s really Beasley 2.0 minus the weed. He’s had a tremendous opportunity to show what he can do end of last season and beginning of this with Love out. He has not risen to the challenge. He’s too sluggish and energy-less.

  8. Credit to Adelman for what must have been a set play on the Buddinger 3 at the end. Up four, looking for a dagger, they start to go pick and roll on the left then whiz it back across the court to Buddinger on a flare screen. Great call, great execution.

  9. Shved is the best guard on the roster behind Rubio. Roy looks like he is about 37 yrs old. Good, but old. Ridnour, Barea, Lee, Conroy cannot bring what Shved brings.

  10. So far JJ has looked better. If he keeps playing well some of us might forget about Ricky for awhile

  11. Agree with roy, what i find frustrating about him isn’t that he is making bad plays but them seem to be mental mistakes, he seems to make the wrong decision on s/r all the time. I disagree about Williams being energy less, he seems to not understand where to be half the time, he sets a screen then without making contact tries to slip it, realises that was the wrong play and tries to re-set the screen. His issues are mental more than physical/energy. I wonder if he would be capable of playing the backup 5 behind pek in small lineups especially when love gets back

  12. Dante Cunningham played out of his mind tonight and was like you said an absolute game changer. Unreal effort from him and rest of the bench. Most of the time its not about the talent on the floor its about the effort players put in.

    I can only imagine this effort will remain if not increase when our two best players return. LETS GO

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