The shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves continued to look like the Dallas Mavericks we thought we had at the beginning of the season, winning despite missing several key players. The T-wolves kept the Mavericks at bay for the entire game en route to a 90-82 victory.
The Timberwolves largely had their way inside as Nikola Pekovic had 20 points and 6 rebounds while Andrei Kirilenko had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Three other players scored in double figures and Luke Ridnour, starting at point guard with Ricky Rubio and J. J. Barea both out, amassed 15 points and 7 assists plus 8 rebounds and 4 steals. The Timberwolves dressed only 10 players and the Pekovic only played until there was 2:46 left in the third quarter when he left with a sprained left ankle and didn’t return. His absence didn’t hurt the T-wolves either.
The Mavericks are now 4-4 while the T-wolves improved to 5-2.
Darren Collison had 21 points and 5 assists plus 2 steals. O. J. Mayo had 18 points and 5 rebounds.
Dahntay Jones brought in some energy off the bench and had 7 points and 4 rebounds. Other than Collison he was the only Maverick to hit 50% of his shots.
Chris Kaman did manage 12 points and 5 rebounds but on 5-of-15 shooting.
Rick Carlisle was ejected after arguing a foul call with 5 minutes left. Assistant coach Jim O’Brien coached the team the rest of the way.
You could get specific, such as Vince Carter’s 1-for-7 and 0-for-4 catastrophe but the team stats really tell it all.
The Mavericks never got on track in this game and shot a horrific 36.3% from the field and 25% from downtown. They were also again outrebounded 49-35. They didn’t commit many turnovers for a change but as has been the pattern, you can’t win with so few aspects of your game going well.
Three starters (Brendan Wright, Elton Brand and Jae Crowder) were pulled fairly early and only played 9-17 minutes each. Of the starters and the bench, only Collison, Mayo and Kaman really contributed much and Kaman had his worst shooting night as a Maverick.
As mentioned earlier Pekovic and Kirilenko pretty much had their way inside and the Mavs backcourt allowed Luke Ridenour to do pretty much anything he wanted, as his stat line shows.
The things the Mavericks did well during in winning four games are absent in the losses. On any given night they may shoot poorly, lose the battle of the boards and/or turn the ball over. Essentially instead of finding ways to win they are finding ways to lose.
Shawn Marion will miss at least one more game and it’s much longer than that before Dirk returns. Rick Carlisle will have to try a few new things to get some winning synergy ASAP as the Mavs clearly look discombobulated right now and this game may have been the most complete beating of all.
The Washington Wizards will be in town Wednesday night with another chance for the Mavs to try a few things against a struggling team. Hopefully it won’t turn out the same as the Bobcats game.