Preview and chat: The Minnesota Timberwolves

Kurt —  December 20, 2006

You get what you pay for here at FB&G. I have no comments from last night’s game as I didn’t see it (blame the virus wiping me out). So, I’ll borrow some thoughts from yesterday’s comments:

From the always-insightful kwame a.:

Second half we lost our defensive intensity, we only gave up 42 pts in the first half. I’d say the low-point was when Kwame was out to begin the fourth quarter and the Bulls ran their offense through Mike Sweetney. Bynum looked completely lost, they got out ahead by 7 before Kobe could come back in and we never saw the lead again. At some point they have to put Andrew on the pine for his defensive lapses, it’ll let Ronny play and show Andrew that defense and defensive rotations are just as important as post touches

From Dr.RayEye

The Lakers began to take on the personality of the Smusher at his best–a brilliant offensive play followed by bozo defense–a brilliant defensive play followed by a bozo offensive move (maybe more bozo defense than offense). Frustrating, but fun to watch for Smushaholics.

And Muddywood expressed the frustration:

PUT A BODY ON SOMEONE!!! DO THEY TEACH THAT ANYMORE? Real rebounders assume that every shot is a miss and every rebound is theirs. Turiaf is the only one. He’s a real rebounder. Everyone else just gets rebounds that kind of just bounce their way.

Last meeting. The Lakers played the Timberwolves in just the fifth game of the season, and that may have been Andrew Bynum’s best game as a Laker. He had 20 points, 14 boards, three blocks, an eFG% of 67%, was a team best +14 ad had an offensive rating of 156. That was a bit of anomaly, usually it has been point guards doing the damage to the T-Wolves this season.

Also in that meeting, Kobe shot 71% but had “just” 17, Odom had 15 points and 9 boards.

For the T-Wolves, and try not to be shocked by this, Kevin Garnett was the force that kept the team close, or even in the building. He had 26 points on 55.6% shooting, and offensive rating of 126 and he used 20% of his team’s possessions. It’s been about the same of late, in the last 10 games KG has averaged 22.3 and 11.6.

(Quick shout out to Rob L. for providing game stat breakdowns for me.)

Things to look for: Last meeting, the Lakers played good perimeter defense (again in part because Bynum was a strong presence behind Smush, Kobe and the rest). In that game Mike James, Randy Foye and Ricky Davis all shot under 33%. It’s going to be tough to do that well again on all of them, but keeping any of them from getting hot and shooting over 50% (none average that on the season) will go a long way toward getting the win.

Rookie Craig Smith apparently has fallen a little out of favor, he is shooting well (59.2% in his last 10 games) but getting just 18 minutes and averaging 6.7 points per game.

Road back-to-backs are hard, but this is a winnable game — outside of KG the T-Wolves have no reliable offense (which is why they are 28th in the league in offensive efficiency). Of course, right now you could say the same thing about the Lakers and Kobe. It pretty easy to define this game — whichever team gets the better contributions outside their respective superstars will get the win.