Wolves' Sharp Shooting Sinks Cavs 78-65
Built Ford Tough Leader of the Pack
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Timberwolves Summer League coach David Adelman praises guard Coby Karl for his leadership on the floor, joking once this week that Karl’s so good at leading the team he does the coaches’ job for them.
But on Thursday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, one other aspect of Karl’s game came to the forefront: Given the opportunity, he can knock down shots from anywhere on the floor.
Karl finished 6-of-7 from 3-point range for 18 points and the Timberwolves beat Cleveland 78-65 on Thursday at Cox Pavilion in the team’s third Summer League game of the season. The Timberwolves started fast, knocking down 72 percent of their shots in the first quarter en route to the 13-point win.
Karl set the tone early, draining shots well beyond the arc and finishing the first half with 15 points. And with the Cavaliers making a run at the Wolves late, cutting the team’s once 20-point lead down to single digits, Karl drained a late 3-pointer that all but iced the game.
“He shot the lights out, so we needed it tonight and Coby did a great job of shooting the ball,” guard Kammron Taylor said. “He’s a great shooter and he proved it tonight.”
Across the board Minnesota had a big night offensively. The team finished the game shooting 51.9 percent from the field and took a 20-point lead into the fourth. For Adelman, the biggest key to tonight’s game was the team’s unselfish play.
“You shoot a lot better when you move the ball like that,” Adelman said. “We’ve been lucky that the guys we brought in–our personnel staff did a really good job. The guys that are playing are moving the ball. There are a lot of right ways to play, but we’re doing one of them. They are moving the ball, defending. It’s fun to watch.”
Much of that began with Karl and Taylor, who had an efficient game at point guard. Taylor shot 6-of-9 from the floor, scored 12 points and added two assists and three rebounds in 18 minutes. More importantly, with the Cavs making a comeback in the fourth, Adelman said things changed when Taylor returned to the floor.
Taylor said the trust and unselfishness across the board was the key. He said no one cares who gets the points as long as everyone is making good basketball decisions and moving the ball.
Wolves forward Derrick Williams led the team in scoring with 23 points to complement Karl’s 18 and Taylor’s 12. Mike Harris had eight and Lior Eliyahu and Corey Fisher each had six. Wes Johnson did not dress after tweaking his ankle in the second half of Tuesday’s loss to Charlotte.
For the Cavaliers, Tristan Thompson finished with 16 points, Samardo Samuels had 14 and Garrett Temple and Luke Harangody each had seven. The Cavs had 18 turnovers in the game, which led to 18 Timberwolves points.
Derrick Williams led the team in scoring, but guard Coby Karl sent the Timberwolves’ offense off and running tonight with his perimeter shooting. Karl finished the game 6-of-7 overall—all being 3-point attempts—and collected 18 points and four rebounds. Not only was he hitting from beyond the arc, he was hitting well beyond the line. Karl said he wasn’t necessarily feeling in the zone Thursday; instead, it was his teammates finding him with open looks that led to the barrage of scoring.
Still, his coach credits Karl’s team work and unselfish play.
“The thing about Coby that’s great is he’s going to take what’s there. If he doesn’t have a wide open shot, he’s going to make the next play for his teammates,” Adelman said. “When you play like that, guys are going to sell for you. They’re going to go screen for you, they’re going to do things for you. He’s so unselfish in everything he does.”
Highlight of the Night
With the Cavaliers beginning to make a run and Minnesota needing a spark to stop Cleveland’s momentum, Derrick Williams came to the rescue. At the 5:50 mark of the fourth quarter, with the Wolves’ once 20-point lead now down to eight, Williams took an alley-oop pass from guard Corey Fisher and slammed it home with authority over Cavaliers forward Luke Harangody. The dunk gave Minnesota a 67-57 lead and brought some of that momentum back to the Wolves’ side.
The Numbers Game
- Karl was exceptionally hot from 3-point land tonight, but he’s been pouring in baskets from beyond the arc all week. In three Summer League games Karl is shooting 66.7 percent from 3-point range (10-of-15).
- Derrick Williams knows he needs to penetrate and get to the basket if he’s going to make a successful transition to the small forward position. With his athletic ability, the Wolves are looking for him to be aggressive when he gets his hands on the ball. So far this Summer League, he’s doing just that and he’s getting rewarded for it. Williams went to the line 16 times on Thursday against Cleveland, shooting 11-of-16 in the game from the stripe. Add that to his previous two games, and he’s been to the line 40 times. The next step is capitalizing on those free throws—he is shooting 60 percent from the line in Summer League
- Minnesota began the night on fire from the floor. The Wolves were making 85.7 percent of their shots through the first eight minutes of the game and ended the first quarter shooting 72.7 percent from the floor. For the game, Minnesota made 51.9 percent of their shots.
Quote of the Night
“People don’t understand how bad I really want this. I’ve been playing in Europe the last five years. I’ve been getting better every year with my game, and I feel like now is a good time to show every NBA coach, the Timberwolves, everything that I can do and that I’m ready. I’m staying focused.” -- Wolves guard Kammron Taylor
The Timberwolves are off on Friday and will return to action on Saturday against the NBA Development League Select team. Tipoff is set for 7 PM CT. The game will not be televised and no tape delay is scheduled for the contest. The Wolves are 2-1 in Summer League action heading into the contest.