2017-18 Season

Wolves 118, Pelicans 107: Welcome to Karl-Anthony FlavorTowns

The Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 118-107 Saturday night to complete a season sweep. The Wolves’ record now stands at 34-22 overall, 22-6 at home, and 25-9 against the Western Conference. The Pelicans fall to 28-24.

The Wolves came out of the gates strong, taking a quick 9-0 lead, and attacking the paint. Of the team’s first 22 points, 16 came from within the lane, a tactic no doubt in response to the Pelicans losing All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins for the year due to a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Antony Davis (who finished with 38 points and nine rebounds) was a monster for New Orleans in the opening frame, scoring 19 points. Davis was perfect from the field in the first half when somebody other than Karl-Anthony Towns was guarding him (Towns held him to 2-of-7 from the field in the first 24 minutes).

The Wolves lead 37-29 after one and never looked back.

Jimmy Butler (30 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists) and Towns (22 points, 16 rebounds, and one assist) lead the way for the Wolves in front of a star-studded crowd. Notables in attendance included football star Antonio Brown, future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, Sting, Shaggy, minor league baseball player Tim Tebow, and even the mayor of FlavorTown himself!

Andrew Wiggins (three rebounds, +15) and Tyus Jones (6-of-9 from the field in 20 minutes) each contributed 15 points and Taj Gibson added 12 points and nine rebounds. Newly acquired Nikola Mirotic posted 18 points and 12 rebounds in 33 minutes off the bench for the Pelicans.

The Wolves controlled this one from the opening tip, leading wire-to-wire. This was due in large part to the Pelicans playing the Oklahoma City Thunder the night prior as well as the Wolves shooting 10-of-21 from the three-point line; Butler and Towns combined to go 5-of-8.

New Orleans simply didn’t have the firepower or legs to contend with the Wolves sans Boogie Cousins and on the second night of a home-road back-to-back, but they can’t really be criticized for not trying. Since the two teams last played one month ago their roster has undergone myriad changes, including swapping guards Tony Allen and Jameer Nelson, big man Omer Asik, and a first-round pick for Mirotic and signing former Sun Mike James as well as Emeka Okafor (yes that Emeka Okafor) out of the G League. They were also in the sweepstakes for former Suns center Greg Monroe before he ultimately signed with the Boston Celtics.

The Target Center’s transition from a stadium half-filled with apathy to impenetrable home base seemingly overnight has been a pleasant development for the Wolves; they’ve now won 12 straight within the friendly and newly renovated confines of 600 N First Avenue. The Wolves’ 22-6 home record is now tied with the San Antonio Spurs for second-best, the two teams trailing only the Toronto Raptors (20-4) in terms of percentage.

The Wolves are next in action on Wednesday, February 7th against the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers (30-21). Tip is set for 7 pm.

Notes

  • It was reported prior to the game that Shabazz Muhammad has requested to be traded or released prior to Thursday’s (February 8th) trade deadline. This shouldn’t come as a shock has Muhammad has fallen out of the rotation almost entirely and he has reportedly hired a new agent to speed up the process. Muhammad was re-signed to a two-year, minimum level contract (the second year is a player option) this past offseason and figured to be a strong bench scoring option for the Wolves. Due to his inconsistent and overall vastly underwhelming play, it would be shocking to see another team trade for Muhammad at this point; waiving him figures to be the most likely path.
  • Listen to Jim Petersen tell a hilarious story about Prince.

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6 thoughts on “Wolves 118, Pelicans 107: Welcome to Karl-Anthony FlavorTowns

  1. It’s great to see Target Center rockin’, but I can’t help but feel the place is filled with fair weather fans. Despite the product, it would have been nice to have a bit more support in the lean years. But the moment we have a winning record every beer coddling ‘fan’ comes out of the woodwork. Oh well, the guys deserve butts in the seats the way they’ve been playing and maybe most fan bases are heavily built out of people who show up when times are good.

    Emeka is still playing competitive basketball!? Jim, Darius Miles is NOT.

    If I could afford the Prince box, I’d use one too at times. RIP. It was so great to see him just shred the Super Bowl half time (Which is usually musically lame).

    You don’t get celebrities swarming on Minneapolis that often. Is it bad of me to say I’m not too excited about the crop that turned up at this game?

    I get the feeling that fans drive the guys that actually write articles and game summaries up the wall about certain issues. Maybe things they think are over blow, over simplified, trendy or simply are sick of hearing about even if they agree. I feel like Thibs sort of encourages these… In the recent past it was the starter minutes thing. You don’t hear about that anymore because Thibs figured it out at some point and now keeps minutes within reason. It’s actually still as issue to a degree, and could bite us late, but he’s taken a lot of the edge off. No more 40’s. I like having one less thing to complain about in life.

    So, I’m hoping this is true of ‘free Towns’. In the last 2 games we look good and KAT is getting 2nd most looks, ahead of Wiggins. Truth be told, he could still get more featured, and if fact should. But the situation seems to be in the process of being rectified. The results are already being seen in how we preform as a team. Thibs still could do so much more in this dept, and most coaches would. But KAT does a lot to help himself, too. He plays aggressive and involved most of the time (unlike Wiggins’ inconsistent at best metal involvement). He takes shots when he does get the opportunity that are efficient. He gives himself extra attempts by nosing out O rebounds with uncanny instinct and determination. The guy deserves to be met halfway. Wiggins, for instance, does not, on effort and ability to get himself involved, but also because of shot selection and efficiency. Ideally, unless he’s hot or things are weird for some reason due to matchups or injuries, he should get 3rd most attempts, with Butler and KAT vying for most attempts. But my point is this issue has been better and even if it is just reasonable if imperfect going forward I’d be more than happy to shut up about it and focus on something more interesting.

    Man, I know NO just had a draining win over OKC, but they didn’t play any D. I loved how guys like Tyus really took advantage. But they just can’t win if they don’t play more D than that… they just can’t score enough (and for that matter they had some trouble scoring outside of Davis and Mirotic–good pickup). I was never worried in this one, even when we looked flat on O for stretches because of this. They wouldn’t be able to stop us long enough to put together a run. Sad that Boogie got injured. Honestly, though it is sad to see happen to anyone, I don’t really like Cousins that much. But it’s sad for Davis. He was starting to find a way to be a top level player WITH Boogie (he wasn’t really the same player with him on the team mostly, until recently). Just before Boogie went down we were getting full on Davis and Boogie. Now Davis is back to his carry the team numbers and approach. It will fill his stats but this team will have some trouble. Mirotic will help, but it’s a hit.

    Loved to see Jones score, but even with 15 pts and 6,5, and 8 from other bench guys he was still -10. For Tyus it’s not about scoring or stats but how he runs the O and makes the team better. But he needs to work on his scoring a bit and this game was good practice. We don’t need another Teague. People underestimate the ‘invisible’ ways a PG makes a team excel.

    I don’t blame Shabazz. He is what he is, which is strange, flawed and disappointing. But he’s not useless on a team like this, yet he goes unused. People might not want him badly, but someone could use him more than we do.

    Rubio just scored a career high 34 points (on 14 shots!) along with 9 assists. The Jazz beat the Spurs. They are starting to come together more. Snyder has gone away from the wing/forward creation to more guard heavy action with Rubio dishing and yes, scoring, and Mitchell getting a ton of scoring looks. Gobert is back and getting used to this roster. They’ve been a watchable team all season, due to good team passing, good effort and strong D. But now they are real fun. I know how hard Rubio has worked to make games like this possible. Really cool to see.

  2. Jones does so much more for us than Teague. I can’t believe Thibs doesn’t do anything about that. It’s this kind of favoritism/blindness//stubbornness that drives me nuts.

    I’m glad Towns is getting more usage on offense and he played good D on Davis. I still think he could get even more shots and he should ALWAYS be taking more shots than Wiggins.

    Once Jones is starting, I’ll actually get excited about this team. But for now, I’m not going to get my hopes up.

    1. “Once Jones is starting, I’ll actually get excited about this team.” I’ve wondered if we’ll ever see this. With this being Thibs first go around as a personnel man, I sincerely wonder if hubris will prevent him from making this happen. Relegating Teague to the bench would be admission of a very large and expensive mistake in bringing Jeff Teague to this team.

      I’m doubtful that Thibs has the humility for that kind of move.

      1. It is frustrating that our team probably won’t reach our potential because we have a coach that won’t admit a mistake. That’s a of the reason I don’t believe a coach should have that much power unless your name is Greg Popovich and you’ve won 5 championships. Thibs is coaching this team through a POBO lens instead of a coach and we’re not reaching our potential.

        The best coaches put the best team on the floor every night regardless of who’s getting paid what. Thibs has failed to do that unless forced to by injury.

        1. Jones starting probably would have its own problems, but personally I’d give it a try. There is a 0% chance Thibs will remove Teague with out an injury or a bizarre, unlikely trade.

          1. If Teague enters the game off the bench he will cause lots of trouble. I remember him being very [s]pissed off[/s] upset during preseason because Tyus was the starter in the first game. Thibodeau is sure being careful with this.

            It is best to trade Teague this week or on summer, and meanwhile distribute minutes the way Thibodeau is doing. Teague sure has a good market and with a contract of one year plus another player option one, there will be some teams interested in him. Tyus is yet improving as a player. There is no need to hurry.

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