With both their main players power forward Kevin Love and Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio out due to their respective injuries, the TWolves relied on head coach Rick Adelman’s leadership off-court and their deep bench to get early season wins until their top dogs return to the court sometime in December. But despite of a growing injury list and a rather patched lineup, the Twolves managed to do the difficult task.
The short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the home team Dallas Mavericks on Monday wherein the final score stood at 90-82. Nikola Pekovic is the leading scorer for the TWolves after he put in 20 points, despite being pulled out late in the third quarter due to a sprained ankle. Pekovic did not return to the court, which means another man down to the Wolves team that has already been suffering from one injury to another.
Only ten players suited up for the TWolves, including the injured Pekovic. But even with a depleted lineup, Minnesota’s defense has been consistent all season long, which helped them to fend off the Mavs’ rally. The team’s defense has been so brilliant that they are among the top 5 defensive teams in the NBA so far.
As proof of the Wolves’ great defense, the Dallas Mavericks shot the lowest field goal percentage this season at a lowly 36.3 percent. Since the first 3 minutes of the game, the Mavs had been trailing the Wolves until the latter eventually went away with the win on the road.
According to Andrei Kirilenko, forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves, this can be attributed to the team’s “character”. He said, “nobody really looks down and nobody feels sorry. Everybody just keeps coming out and trying to give their best.”
Chase Budinger is scheduled to undergo operation on his torn lateral meniscus, which he injured last Saturday after filling for an injured Brandon Roy. Speaking of Roy, the game against Dallas was the second game he missed due to a sore right knee. With Barea also missing the third game this season due to a left foot sprain, Pekovic’ recent injury further adds more chaos to the lineup that is already hampered with one injury after another.
But coach Adelman is not worried about the team’s campaign this season, noting that “hopefully [they] can get some guys back and maintain the same energy level [they] had [in this game].”
Aside from Nikola Pekovic, other players also stepped up for the TWolves. Luke Ridnour put in 15 points and added 8 assists to help his team’s cause. Meanwhile, reserve Dante Cunningham added 14 points in this game. This is only the fourth win for the TWolves in the last 23 meetings with the Mavs.