5 points for the Wolves fans from their loss to the Clippers
If the Wolves had any kind of decent player on the wings who could shoot, this game was theirs to be had. The team was build around Kevin Love and the maestro that is Ricky Rubio, controlling the pace of the game and finding people at the right spots and right times to get them good looks at opens shots. But for this you need good shooters. The Wolves thought they would have that in Buddinger and Roy. Both however are now lost to injuries and the Wolves are struggling to connect from long range.
With Rubio coming back hopefully by a fortnight, one out of Ridnour or Barea becomes dispensable. They must look at moving one of them if the Wolves want to have a shot at the playoffs.
Kevin Love’s hand may be okay for contact but he is still not “feeling it”. You could actually see Love clutching, jerking and holding on to his hand on many occasions. The range and smoothness is still missing and it would still be another week or so before the real Kevin Love comes to the fore. However Kevin Love is a player with a high basketball IQ. When his shots weren’t falling for him he made the free throw line his best friend. He went to the line 16 times today and and knocked down 12 of them. The fact that Kevin was able to gobble up 19 points while shooting so poorly makes him one of the best players in the league right now.
If injuries hadn’t put the Wolves in enough of a handicap already, they lost Andrei Kirilenko to back spasms. Kirilenko is a vital part of the Wolves offense and his clever reads allows them to make Rick Adelman’s corner offense operate smoothly.
Kirilenko has been shooting 50.8% from the field this season while also producing 7.8 rpg, 1.8 bpg and 1.5 apg. Not only is he a vital cog in the Wolves’ offensive machinery, the Russian is also the team’s best wing defender. All of this along with his veteran leadership was sorely missed by the Wolves today.
As I had written in an earlier post as well, Derrick Williams is a mystery that at the moment has no solution. The no.2 pick in last year’s draft is a classical tweener and today was just another example why he didn’t see any time on the floor in three of the previous four games.
A thunderous put-back dunk with the left hand and then minutes of clueless and hustle-less basketball on both sides of the court followed. The Wolves need to find a way to make Derrick Williams figure in the offense or else trade him for the perimeter shooter it so desperately needs to space out the floor.
The Russian rookie may not be in the league of Anthony Davis and Damien Lillard in terms of rookie of the year considerations, but his transition from Europe to the NBA hasn’t been as rough as lot of pundits had predicted. The Russian known for his shooting may not have found his shooting just as of yet (38% shooting) but his ball handling and play-making abilities have made him endearing to the folks in Minnesota(10 ppg/3.6 apg). When he finds his shooting stroke, Rubio-Shved back-court can really give a lot of teams sleepless nights
The Wolves went cold in the 4th quarter of the contest with their shooting going south and ended up losng the game to the Clippers 95-101. Here are the highlights