The first half of the season for the Minnesota Timberwolves has been one disappointment after another. But the Wolves managed to dig deep and won the last game going into the All-Star Break Wednesday night.
But for a team that’s dug itself into a crater and is still missing two of its top three players until further notice, Wednesday night’s 117-90 win was a small bandage.
And at this point Minnesota (25-28) needs a tourniquet.
“We needed a win like that,” point guard Ricky Rubio said.
You think so?
Backup guard J.J. Barea echoed the sentiment: “I think this is great. I think this will give a little confidence when we get back and try to get on a roll.” Barea added 18 points, one rebound and three assists for the night.
And forward Kevin Love, who put up who put up 32 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists added: “We had kind of been treading water there. We knew we needed a win.”
This helpful win the Wolves received was partly in thanks to the 52.3% shooting output and the Nuggets massive mistakes– 21 turnovers that lead to 29 points. But whatever the reason Minnesota snapped a four-game losing streak at home.
But while this Minnesota remains optimistic, the glimmer of hope is short lived.
“It was a really important game, but now that’s over with,” Coach Rick Adelman said. “We know where we stand.”
“We’re 52 games in, so there’s 30 games left — still a chance for a nice push,” Love said. “We just have to go out there, and we have to take it.”
Rubio attacked the basket like he did in two games that Love missed earlier this month, scoring 11 points, 12 assists and one rebound. He’d previously said it’s his primary duty to delegate, but when he proves a viable scoring threat, it opens up the floor significantly.
“It changes what the defense can do,” Adelman said. “Once he makes a few shots, the big guys have a tendency to get up more, and his guy’s trying to get around a pick, not going under, and it opens up driving lanes for him.”
Even against former teammates that know his tendencies as well as anyone, leak-out specialist Corey Brewer scored 22 points and added five steals.
Ronny Turiaf continued the best rebounding stretch of his NBA tenure, pulling down 11 rebounds, blocking four shots and dishing out three assists.
He’s had double-digit boards in three straight games, the longest such streak of his career. It’s a good sign for depth when Pekovic, who missed his ninth straight game with right-ankle bursitis.
“If you just keep pushing, if you just keep doing the little things you’ve been doing, you might not see success right away,” Turiaf said. “Eventually, you keep pushing, you’re gonna see success.”