Wolves Beat Sixers 116-110: A Preseason Recap

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Because it’s the preseason, and the actual storyline behind the game itself isn’t actually all that important, we’ll keep this recap short.

Despite some poor interior defense, and some equally questionable shot selection, the Timberwolves were able to pull away from the Sixers after a surge in the third quarter.  Also, some veteran 4th quarter leadership and savvy from Mo Williams probably saved the Wolves’ bench from a collapse to end the game.

Despite some iffy shot selection, especially in the first half, we did get to witness the first one of these in the Target Center:

As well as one of these:

GIF: Mo Williams lobs it to Zach LaVine for a dunk

Some observations throughout the game:

  • Shved made his return to Minneapolis in extremely Shveddy fashion. His first couple possessions resulted in points, but we saw a slew of empty drives to the hoop, ill-advised shots, and leaps in the air without intention. His statline, 7 points on 3-8 shooting, with 4 boards and 6 assists, didn’t really match up with what I felt like I saw. In my opinion, it seemed worse in-person.
  • The combination of Rubio-Brewer-Wiggins-Young-Pek/Dieng was a nightmare for the opposing perimeter offense. This group’s combined 9 steals in the game was a driving force for the decent surge they had in the 3rd quarter. On the other hand, it was a bit of a disaster when the Sixers made it near the basket.
  • Anthony Bennett was good in his Wolves debut. Bennett was very good – good enough for Flip to call him “the best player on the floor, when he was out there”. Spot up jumpers from just outside the free throw line seemed automatic for him. He also had a nice putback dunk off a miss early in the game (a rebound Flip Saunders referred to as a “man rebound” after the game). LaVine also had a nice game. In fact, nobody really played poorly for Minnesota tonight.
  • Mo Williams was perhaps the most notable joy to see out there tonight. He was hitting shots and (usually) making the right passes. He was also the calming force of a mostly nervous 4th quarter lineup, which probably sealed the game for the Wolves tonight. Apparently, there was some friendly Blazers vs. Wolves Twitter debate going on regarding this surprisingly polarizing backup point guard. I didn’t hear any of it, though, so who knows? Maybe Blazers Twitter doesn’t follow me. Oh well.
  • Lastly, I would like to thank Steve McPherson for my new Facebook header.
    BzoT_ksCYAIouUo

 

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16 Responsesso far.

  1. Biggity2bit says:

    I gotta admit, I don’t quite know what to do with Wiggins and LaVine. They’re just so smooth and leggy. They float when they jump, and they seem like players who could be put in the right place more often than not by vets like Rubio, Thad, Pek, and Mo.

  2. Glenn says:

    Seeing Bennett play well was the best part of the game for me. We all expect Wiggins to be good at first and hopefully become great. We all know Levine is going to be fun the watch and get his throw-downs. So far neither of those guys has disappointed and they seem to be on the right track. But Bennett is the big wild-card. He could put last season behind him and prove himself, or he could be the next Michael Beasley/Derrick Williams underachiever. I watched the whole game yesterday, and aside from one 3-point miss that the announcers and Flip didn’t want him to take, he looked really good. His dunk in the 2nd half certainly was a ‘man play’. He ripped the rebound away from a sixer and threw it down with authority. He looks like a man on a mission, and that’s a really, really good thing.

  3. Dave says:

    Is it worrisome that supposedly all of our players played well, and we beat a horrendous team by 6 points at home?

  4. gjk says:

    They didn’t play well. Williams made shots and Bennett showed he’s not useless. It was completely sloppy and unfocused ball that was saved by bursts of energy. Also, playing for a job is a much higher level of urgency than tuning up for the season. The Wolves went undefeated in one of the Rambis preseasons. Should Spurs fans be worried that they lost to a Euro team? Portland lost by 19 in Utah, the Clippers lost by 18 at home to the Warriors, Philly beat Charlotte by 14, and the Heat are winless.

    One small thing: the bench didn’t really seal the game when they were -4 in the 4th. The starters put it far enough out of reach that the bench could hold on to the lead despite some uninspired ball movement and defense.

  5. David says:

    Soooooo after that depressing interlude by gjk, 20 wins?

  6. Fan says:

    Over 35 wins is already over my expectation, to be more realistic.

  7. gjk says:

    No. Your point was that they supposedly played well and barely beat one of the worst teams in the league, implying they’re in for a long season. My point is that they weren’t sharp and that preseason games aren’t indicators of what will happen in the regular season, which I thought was clear by all of the examples of good teams losing big in the first week.

    I’d bet the Vegas over of 27 wins (apparently I’m not alone since the line started at 25.5) and feel confident going all the way to 30. More is possible, but it mainly depends on health of their best offensive players (many of their top 5 are injury prone) and how well the style of play fits their personnel.

  8. gjk says:

    Sorry, I thought it was the same guy who replied that originally posted.

  9. Uglyfunk says:

    I think the Vegas line is about right considering there’s a lot of talent on the team but little experience. Add the fact that core veteran players on the team get hurt a lot during the season (which gjk mentions above) it only enhances the limit of the 27ish number. This is all we should expect with a new scheme installation and coaching staff (and new team basically) anyway. I’m positive a number of people will jump ship right away on the team due to the lack of a winning record but I like the potential of not only Wiggins but what the rest of the team does going forward….especially Rubio

  10. farnorth says:

    Well it maybe my optimism but is Love worth +13 games by himself? Last year we won 40 with the worst bench in the league (OK there may have been a worse bench but I was not watching that team play)

    We replaced Love with Thad, is that going to drop us 13 games? We have added Bennett for Williams, Wiggins for Shved, and I guess you could say LaVine for Luc, and hopefully Mo Williams for JJ (although I could see Hummel getting cut). Is that a 13 game drop?

    The bench for sure is younger than last year but could it possibly be worse? I think 35 games is doable. Depends on injuries and how fast Wiggins is able to assert himself.

  11. gjk says:

    I think 35 is possible; I’m just concerned that all of their volume scorers (Pek, Martin, Williams) are injury prone and that Flip won’t maximize the offensive effectiveness of the rest of the group. I don’t think Love is worth 13 wins, and they’ll do better in close games. I’m mostly being cautious because they’ve literally underperformed my expectations every year since they last made the playoffs.

  12. Jordan says:

    Don’t worry I solved this with Science and win shares.

    win shares Lost – 15.8 (Love 14.3, everyone else 1.5 combined)
    win share gained – 10.4(Thad Young 3.5, Mo Williams 2.2, Lavine 1.9*, Wiggins 2.8*)

    * All rookie estimates based on nbadraft.net current player comparison.

    So based on what I do at work when really bored and I use several assumptions that can’t be proven, Like comparing Lavine to Russell Westbrook, it is clear to me that the exact number of wins is 5.4 less than last year.

    SCIENCE!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Fan says:

    @farnorth: Conversely I think this year we have deep bench: Mo Will, Brewer, Bennett, Dieng. even LaVine, JJ and Turiaf are consider playable. We just lost Love in the lineup but we added Wigs. That’s big team structure turnaround after the Love Deal. It’s exciting to see the new wolves.

  14. farnorth says:

    I agree Fan and I would also throw in that Budinger should be a more reliable option. I don’t see how we are that much worse than last year and in a lot of respects I would say we’re better.

    Kevin Love is a force in this league and I am not even going to suggest we’re a better team without him. But he is one piece and we replaced him with four very good pieces that all fit needs we lacked last year. Is Kevin Love better than those four players? Individually? Yes. Collectively? With all of the holes we had, I don’t think so.

  15. David says:

    So Adam Wojnarowski is reporting that Chase has been made available and the Pistons and Rockets are interested

  16. Boomstick! says:

    The Team has gotten better on the perimeter D thad, wiggins, are much better at steals and playing the permimeter. Rubio is also tops in steals in the league. With better defensive bench aside from the K mart who we already know has never played a lick of defense in his life. The interior defense has also taken a slight rise as thad is slightly better than K Love on D. Gorgi is improving and Bennet is the wild card the guy can make or break this team as far a winning. If he can play great D this team can win now. Scoring should not be a problem as almost every player on the team can score well. Still not deep on the 3 ball, but we will see what trading Chase gets us in return for his solid 3 point shot. Even though i believe the individual defense is better it will all come down to how well this team can mesh together. Great mix of vets, middle of careers, and young talent to possibly make the playoffs as the drive is there this year. I have not seen this team with so much drive since Khan stole it all away in his first year. With the learning curve, mental errors and growing pains i see a 35 win season give or take 5 games. With next year being a playoff team in the west if being possible even without major tweeks. Excited Hooowwllllll!

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