About a half hour prior to Wednesday night’s game against Cleveland, assistant coach Terry Porter informed Robbie Hummel that he’d be making his first career start. “My heart instantly started beating a lot faster,” Hummel commented after the game, reflecting on the experience. “The butterflies (set in)… I knew the scouting report, but I went back to my iPad, because, now I really needed to know the scouting report.” Hummel handled the newfound postgame media attention gracefully — almost as well as he handled his minutes on the floor with the first unit.
With Kevin Martin sitting out due to flu-like symptoms, Hummel stepped in at small forward, Corey Brewer slid down to shooting guard, and the Timberwolves annihilated the slumping Cavaliers, carrying a lead of 20-to-30 points from the 2nd quarter through the end of the game. “(Hummel) does all the little things you don’t notice,” said head coach, Rick Adelman. “He’s always in the right spot defending, helping out, he rebounds the ball. He’s just kind of a glue guy. I had a lot of confidence he was going to do well.”
If Hummel was the glue, he held together four fantastic performances around him. Kevin Love tallied 33 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, Ricky Rubio racked up 16 points and 16 assists, Nikola Pekovic hit 5-of-7 shots, and Corey Brewer played his finest game of what’s been a stellar start to the season, finishing with 27 points, including a 5-for-5 mark from beyond the arc. Hummel was good on both ends of the court; he fit into the offense seamlessly, made smart passes, helped with interior defense, and fired away when he had open looks (he connected on 2-of-4 three pointers and 4-of-6 shots overall). Without the dynamic Martin, the Timberwolves didn’t miss a beat.