GameDay Blog: Wolves vs. Bulls - Oct. 13, 2012

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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That's a wrap from Target Center. Catch full postgame analysis, highlights and interviews at Timberwolves.com and follow @MNTimberwolves and @MarkRemme for further updates from tonight's win.

[Related Content: CLICK HERE for full postgame coverage of Saturday's 82-75 win against the Bulls]

Final Score: MIN 82, CHI 75 The Wolves held on for the 82-75 victory tonight, thanks in part to a big night from Nikola Pekovic in the paint. He finished with 16 points and 17 rebounds and made his presence felt on both ends of the floor. Meanwhile, Alexey Shved hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 15 points in his Target Center debut, and Brandon Roy added 13 points and four assists in his first home game in the Twin Cities. The Wolves didn't have a crisp night, turning the ball over 19 times and shooting 32.8 percent from the field, but they did put together a solid defensive performance in the fourth quarter. The Bulls finished the game 1-for-12 in their final 12 field goal attempts, and the Wolves held a 24-15 edge in fourth quarter scoring. Kirk Hinrich finished with team-high 15 points for the Bulls, and Joakim Noah finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Overall, a solid home win particularly because of the way the Wolves pulled away in the fourth. Key stats were the 32-22 points in the paint advantage and the 16-9 advantage in fast-break points. The Wolves will face Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday at Target Center in an international exhibition.

Q4 - 2:40: Lou Amundson just threw down a put-back slam that ignited the Target Center crowd and gave the Timberwolves a 77-68 lead heading into the timeout. Amundson is just 2-of-8 tonight, but he's been active around the basket--getting some good looks but unable to connect. He's also got two blocks on the defensive end. Bulls ball. MIN 77, CHI 68

Q4 - 4:49: Wolves rookie Alexey Shved is heating up from deep. He just connected on his second 3-pointer of the game (2-for-3), and it gave the Wolves a 73-68 lead. Shved has 13 points overall on the night--he's 5-for-5 from the free-throw line and is 3-of-6 from the field. A nice showing offensively in his first game in front of the home crowd. Meanwhile, Pekovic continues to wrestle rebounds away from the Bulls. He's got 15 on the night to go with 14 points. Pek (34 minutes) and Budinger (32 minutes) far and away the most time on the court tonight for the Wolves. He's back on the floor coming out of the timeout, along with Barea, Shved, Budinger and Amundson. MIN 73, CHI 68

End Q3: At the end of the third, the Timberwolves trail the Bulls 60-58. Pekovic has recorded a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds, and if he stays healthy that will likely be the first of many this season for The Godfather. The Wolves are opening up the fourth quarter with Barea, Shved, Budinger, Williams and Pekovic on the floor. Williams is having a rough night offensively -- after a 25-point performance on Friday in Indiana, he's shooting 0-for-8 from the floor for 2 points. He has brought down seven rebounds. CHI 60, MIN 58

Q3 - 6:05: Timeout on the floor, and the Wolves are trailing the Bulls 52-51. No doubt Brandon Roy is being active tonight -- he's got 14 points and 4 assists while shooting 3-of-6 from the floor. But he's also diving for loose balls and has hit the floor at least twice tonight. It will be telling how his knees respond to that type of play over the course of the season. Meanwhile, the Wolves and Bulls combined to shoot 0-for-8 from 3-point range in the first half. In the third quarter, they're a combined 3-of-5, with Budinger and Roy each hitting one. CHI 52, MIN 51

Halftime: The Timberwolves head into the half trailing the Bulls 40-37. Adelman said a wide variety of players would see action tonight, and the minutes suggest equal opportunities for a collection of guys. Right now eight of the 10 players who have seen action tonight have played somewhere between 11 and 17 minutes. The play is a little choppy at times for both clubs, particularly in the turnover department for the Wolves. They've miss-fired passes and been called for a few travels in the lane, but as Chase Budinger said prior to the preseason opener in Fargo that's often a byproduct of early exhibitions. We'll see if play is a little more crisp in the second half. Leaders for the Wolves: Pekovic 7 points/7 rebounds, Roy 7 points, Cunningham 6 points. Leaders for the Bulls: Noah and Muhammed with 8 points, Butler with 6 points, Belinelli and Robinson with 5 points each. CHI 40, MIN 37

Q2 - 2:31: Brandon Roy gives the Timberwolves a 35-34 lead with 2:45 remaining in the second quarter. He's currently 2-for-4 with six points, two assists and a rebound in 14 minutes of work. Dante Cunningham is finding his way to the basket pretty effectively so far tonight, making some pretty crisp cuts through the lane. He just hasn't connected on all of them, though he's been to the line twice. He's got six points on 2-of-4 shooting. Pekovic still leads the way w/ 7 points and 7 rebounds. He was just called for a late foul on Boozer, who is headed to the free throw line. MIN 35, CHI 34

Q2 - 5:36: The Wolves are mounting a comeback here in the second, highlighted by a nice three-point play by JJ Barea. Barea drove baseline, double-clutched and scored off the glass in between Bulls defenders Noah and Radmanovic while being fouled. He connected on his free throw, and the Wolves trail by three midway through the second. Cunningham checks back in for Wolves, Boozer back in for the Bulls. CHI 30, MIN 27

Q2 - 8:48: Greg Stiemsma entered and exited the game quickly here, having picked up three fouls (and a technical) in three minutes of play. He did connect on two free throws while in the game and has two points. Meanwhile, Wolves looking a little unpolished so far here in the second. They've got nine turnovers (Chicago with eight) and are shooting 36.8 percent from the floor. Lou Amundson just collected a block minutes ago on the defensive end, and he's gotten a couple looks near the hoop on the offensive end. He still hasn't been able to finish, though--was fouled on one touch and hit 1-of-2 free throws, then was called for traveling on a subsequent possession. CHI 26, MIN 20

End Q1: The first quarter is in the books at Target Center, and the Bulls are holding a 20-19 lead. Nine players saw action in the first quarter, with Pekovic leading the way scoring 7 points and adding 5 rebounds. Dante Cunningham has 4 points. The Wolves are shooting 41 percent from the floor, with Luke Ridnour and JJ Barea splitting time at the point. Pekovic has been the story so far as he's muscled his way to the basket and taken on multiple Chicago defenders--which is no easy task considering he's had to battle the powerful Boozer in double-team situations near the hoop. CHI 20, MIN 19

Q1 - 2:46: The Wolves just tied the game up 15-15 with a powerful move by Nikola Pekovic, who scored and was fouled. He'll head to the line after the timeout. JJ Barea checked into the game for Luke Ridnour moments ago. Again, coach Rick Adelman said a lot of guys would be mixed and matched tonight to see how chemistry works with the different combinations, and with Love not playing with a sore right elbow a group of players should see time at the 4. As we come out of the timeout, Alexey Shved and Derrick Williams just checked in. MIN 15, CHI 15

Q1 - 5:45: The Timberwolves just went on a 6-0 run and took a 11-9 lead here at Target Center, led by 5 points from Pek (2-3 FG) and 4 points from Dante Cunningham (2-3 FG), who was just replaced by Lou Amundson on the court. The rest of the starting five still remains, and Budinger just connected to give the Wolves a 13-11 lead. So far Ridnour is looking mobile in his first game of the preseason. He missed the first two with back spasms. MIN 13, CHI 11

Tipoff: Starters for tonight's game: Chicago - PG: Kirk Hinrich, SG: Marco Belinelli, SF: Jimmy Butler, PF: Carlos Boozer, C: Joakim Noah. Minnesota- PG: Luke Ridnour, SG: Brandon Roy, SF: Chase Budinger, PF: Dante Cunningham, C: Nikola Pekovic.

The Wolves announced at gametime that Kevin Love is a late scratch due to a sore right elbow. The Wolves and Bulls are under way.MIN 0, CHI 0

Pregame – 6:15 PM: The Timberwolves and Bulls will tip off tonight at 7 p.m. at Target Center, and after speaking with both coaches it sounds like a few notable players will not play in tonight’s exhibition. For Chicago, coach Tom Thibodeau said small forward Luol Deng and shooting guard Richard Hamilton will both not play tonight, Deng due to sore groin tweaked during Friday’s game against Cleveland. Hamilton also will sit the tail end of this back-to-back. Jimmy Butler and Marco Belinelli will start instead.

For the Wolves, it sounds like Andrei Kirilenko will also sit with left hamstring soreness. Luke Ridnour (back spasms) is still a gametime decision. Malcolm Lee will also sit again tonight. After that, coach Rick Adelman said he’ll try to play a collection of players to see how the guys play together during these last five preseason games.

One thing Adelman said was in facing a hard-nosed defensive team like Chicago in exhibitions, it helps prep the team heading into the regular season.

“You really find out a lot about your team. They’re very physical, they come at you and they’ve been a very good team,” Adelman said. “They lost their best player but they’re still a very good team and we’ll find out about ourselves. Last night we played a lot of guys off the bench and I thought they competed real well. So we’ve got these guys twice in exhibition, so I think when you play a good team it helps you.”

Heading into the game Thibodeau said the new-look Wolves could pose some problems.

They’re tough. They’re well balanced, they have good size,” Thibodeau said. “They can shoot the ball. They can move well without the ball. Because of their movement and playing big at the 3, rebounding is a big concern.”

Will update with official starting lineups as we get closer to gametime.


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com