All five wolves starters scored in double figures, and four of the five scored 20 points or more, as the Wolves defeat the Orlando Magic 124-118 on Wednesday night.
1. The Wolves starters played almost every minute of this game, and the box score shows that. The starters scored 110 of 124 points, had 34 of the 42 rebounds, 20 of the 22 assists and 7 of the nine steals. The also had 37 of the 45 free throw attempts, with both Taj Gibson and Jeff Teague going to the line for ten shots each, and Andrew Wiggins would hit 7-9.
2. Speaking of shooting, all the starters besides Wiggins were very efficient. Wiggins the lone exception as he went 6-15 from the field, and 1-4 from three. He did score 20 points, but that was largely due to collecting seven points at the line.
3. A final positive for the Wolves is in a game they should've lost, losing every category but free throw shots, they found a way to pull out the victory. It isn't often you shoot worse from the field, make less three-point shots, collect fewer rebounds, and assists and less points in the paint and collect a win. A big part of that is the free throw shooting, and also the single digit turnovers. Only turning the ball over eight times for the night.
1. Blown lead. The Wolves had to play their starters so many minutes in this game because they blew a big lead in the fourth quarter. At halftime the Wolves were up by three. By the end of a 41-18 third quarter, the Wolves were up 106-80, a 26 point lead. Now that's a lead they have to hold, and is a lead that will pay off in the long run as big leads going into the fourth, when held, allow the starters to rest and keep their minutes totals down.
2. The Wolves lost the painted area in this one as they gave up 58 points in the paint, and also gave up 57 rebounds and only collected 52 boards of their own. A common theme, that leads to high opponent point totals, even on a night when the opposing team shoots 63.6% from the free throw stripe.
3. Bench play once again was horrendous. In a combined 50 minutes, the bench five went 3-20, 1-10 from three, scoring only 14 points. This is the biggest weakness on this team and in order to compete with the big dogs in the Western Conference, it's an area that Tom Thibadeau and the powers at be must address.
The Wolves are off on Thanksgiving day, but host the Miami Heat on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the Target Center.