Live Blog: Timberwolves vs. Hornets

I reserve the right to end this live blog early in case of a blowout…Laughing  Anyways, glad you’re here for tonight’s game.

First Quarter:

*Linkin Park’s "Bleed it Out" = cool song.  Wish they’d play it at Target Center.  Pete, meanwhile, states the obvious in his keys to the game…he makes the shocking revelation that the Wolves must contain Chris Paul.

*I’ve been to New Orleans several times, and I’d wager that their arena is one of the more ugly ones in the NBA.  Great city, though…unbelievable food.  Definitely can’t wait to go back there. 

*Yawn.  Another great up and under by Big Al.

*The Hornets fans stand until their squad scores?  That’s kinda stupid.

*Madsen’s starting again.  Hmm…while I question Wittman’s lineup, the Hornets continue to struggle from the field.  The few fans who showed up to New Orleans Arena remain standing, two minutes into the game.

 *Ah, Gomsey steps out.  Gotta limit those turnovers tonight.

*Pete’s right about Rashad…he needs easy baskets to get going.  A streaky guy like him needs to get the confidence level up early with a few easy looks.

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*Well, what else is new?  A quick start for our squad.  Let’s see how long they can maintain this hot shooting…because I’m guessing that they’ll fizzle rather quickly tonight.

*I may take that back.  They look very impressive tonight, forcing Byron Scott to take an early timeout.  They’ve been getting some great looks on the offensive end, so it’s no surprise that they find themselves ahead early on.

*More on New Orleans…po’ boy sandwiches are some of the best food I’ve ever had.  And that’s not even an exaggeration.

*Mad Dog may bring absolutely no skill to the table, but he knows how to play (when the ball isn’t in his hands, that is).  Meanwhile, Big Al drains the jumper that I’ve been talking so much about…keep taking that shot, Al.

*New Orleans has gotten extremely sloppy on offense, which is a huge surprise.  They’re just not taking care of the basketball, and the Wolves have done a good job of taking advantage of that carelessness. 

*Wow, we just had a sighting of the old Marko Jaric on that drive…that play was ugly. 

*Al Jefferson’s been the star on offense for the Wolves, as he leads all scorers with eight points.  Gomes has five, and McCants has two.  Paul leads the Hornets with six points.

*Both teams have five turnovers, and that’s a stat to keep an eye on the rest of the way. 

*Ah, the memories of Bobby Jackson playing in Minnesota.  Remember that magical Final Four year?  Oh wait, scratch that…I forgot, we went 0-35 or something that season. 

*Antoine’s three continues to look sweet.  Nice release, nice arc on the shot. 

*Well, Walker’s made over 1,500 threes in his career because he’s taken over 10,000. 

*Ugh…Pete and Hanny are slobbering over Wittman again.  Meanwhile, ‘Toine continues to prove himself All-Star Game worthy, as he gets a bucket on a drive as the quarter ends.  Wolves lead 29-19.

Second Quarter: 

*Wolves shot 60% in the first quarter.  Hmm…that seems to remind me
of a recent game.  Oh yeah, the Wolves shot lights out in the first
half in the Atlanta game, but absolutely collapsed in the second half. 

*New Orleans continues to display a surprising amount of slopiness on offense.  Anyways, a free throw disparity continues to haunt the Wolves…New Orleans has shot 10, while the Wolves have only shot three.

*Pete basically just gave this team a pass for the first 30 games of the season…and it’s true to an extent that it’ll be a while before we really start to see what we’ve got in this team, but still, you can’t let them off the hook for the 1-10 start. 

*A 16-point lead…surprising, but I’ll be abolutely stunned if we lead by double-digits at the end of the third.  Meanwhile, the Wolves continue to dominate on offense…this game is becoming eerily similar to the Atlanta game.

*The Wolves shooting percentage has increased to 64%, while New Orleans continues to struggle, shooting 36.8%. 

*The Rhino gives the Wolves their biggest lead of the game.  The second unit, unlike in past games, has done a phenomenal job for this team.  And as I type that, Jaric increases the lead to 23. 

*Haha, Marko Jaric looks hilarious when he’s angry.  Anyways, I’m absolutely stunned with what I’m seeing…this has been Bassy’s best game of the year, Marko can’t miss (4-5 from the field), and the 1-10 Wolves are steamrolling a 10-5 team.  Let’s see if they can sustain this energy on defense and the stellar shooting on offense. 

*There’s literally no one in some of the sections in the upper level.  Ouch.  That sucks…I’ve really been rooting for the Hornets to succeed in their return to New Orleans, but it’s easy to see that the return of the team has been rocky. 

*Here’s the key to the game, this far…New Orleans has eight turnovers, and the Wolves have scored 16 points off those giveaways. 

*The Wolves have been pretty weak at the end of quarters, but they show no signs of slowing down as the first half winds down.  They’re shooting 62.2% from the field, while the Hornets are shooting 34.4%. 

*Haha, that should be interesting…the All-Star Game in New Orleans.  No way it could live up to the antics of the Vegas All Star Game, though…I hear Vegas wasn’t a pleasant place to be during All-Star weekend.

*Looked like New Orleans was gaining a bit of momentum at the end of the half, but Marko Jaric puts an end to that with a cold-blooded three.  The Wolves head into the half with a healthy lead.

Halftime: Wolves 58, Hornets 37 

*Chris Paul leads all scorers with 15, thanks to an occasionally porous perimeter defense from the Wolves.  Jaric leads the Wolves with 12, while Big Al and ‘Toine both have 10.

*The free throw disparity continues to annoy me…once again, the Wolves are lagging in free throw attempts.  14 for the Hornets, four for the Pups. 

Third Quarter: 

*Buckle up ladies and gentlemen…before I could even type anything about the third quarter action, New Orleans started off with a 7-0 run. 

*Hey, I called it, as far as this game seeming eerily similar to the Atlanta game.  A dominant first half, but the lead quickly slips away in the second half.  Let’s see what happens…there are going to be some key possessions for the Wolves, coming right up here. 

*Huge play by Jaric. 

*Did I see that right?  Did Jefferson really just sit down? 

*Whelp, maybe that quick spurt by New Orleans was a bit of a fluke.  Jaric is continuing to shoot extremely well, and Craig Smith has been great on the interior.  Love the basketball intuition he displays on the offensive boards on a nightly basis. 

*Guh…the Wolves are getting lazy on defense.  Two straight bad fouls…one by Buck, the other by Craiggers. 

*Forget that statement about the Hornets’ run being a fluke.  The Wolves are just not playing with the energy they did in the first half, and they are in danger of losing their lead if they don’t match the intensity they played with in the first half. 

*The Hornets, though, continue to shoot themselves in the foot.

*Great job by Marko to draw contact and earn a trip to the free throw line.  That’s what our guards need to do more of. 

*Oh man, that was a cold-blooded shot by Walker…THAT is the kind of run-stopping shots that the Wolves have been lacking.   ‘Toine’s 3-4 from long-range, tonight.

*And there’s another run-stopping shot by Telfair.  They’ve completely answered the Hornets’ third quarter run. 

*That’s not the way the Wolves wanted to end the quarter…dumb play by Telfair, giving the Hornets an opportunity at the end of the quarter.  Chris Paul very nearly took advantage of that turnover…lucjily, though, the Wolves escaped with a 15 point lead, as we head to the fourth.  Can they hang on?  While they’ve played very well today, I’m not so sure they can.  Should be a very interesting final 12 minutes.

Fourth Quarter: 

*Time to knock down these free throws, Craig.   

*Nice…Craig comes through at the line, preserving the 15-point lead.  That’s the kind of stuff I want to see tonight. 

*Wow…Antoine Walker had his way with Tyson Chandler on the baseline…the Wolves are making the plays they need to, in order to conserve this lead.  And then Gomes nails the three…another clutch play.  Completely out-of-character for this team.

*That ain’t a bad timeout by Wittman.  The Wolves are off to an unusually good start in the fourth, and I think it’s a good idea to take a timeout to ensure that the Wolves keep this pace, given their fourth quarter history. 

*Box score update: Paul leads all scorers with 23, and Jaric leads the Wolves with 20. 

*The Wolves bench seems…dare I say, upbeat?  Another unusual sight in tonight’s game. 

*More examples of making plays to maintain the lead.  Great floater by Craig on the offensive end, and an even better block on the defensive end. 

*Note to Pete: I’d take Craiggers over Gary Trent any day. 

*What a play by Big Al.  I can’t say it enough…this team is making the necessary plays to maintain this lead.  Great dish by Bassy…he found Al right on the drive.  And in that situation, Al simply cannot be stopped.

*As well as this team has played, we’ve gotten some calls tonight. 

*Ugh…that Fred Hoiberg Federated Insurance as is cringe-inducing.  He delivers his lines like a robot, and it looks like the budget for that ad was no more than $300. 

*What. A. Game. for Sebastian Telfair.  13 points, but more importantly, eight assists.  He’s done a phenomenal job of directing traffic in tonight’s game. 

*Witt’s found something.  This team played extremely well tonight with Bassy and Jaric playing together at guard…he’s gotta continue playing these guys continue. 

*We’re not out of the woods by any means.  This Hornets team is too explosive to stop fighting… 

*Here’s a key possession…a basket puts it away.  Timeout on the floor. 

*Garnett = Voldemort (yeah, a Harry Potter reference…I’ll admit to having seen some of the movies).  Kinda odd that the Wolves ads refer to KG as "you know who." 

*Hey now, that Sweet Sixteen game never happened.  The Wolves production crew must’ve not gotten the memo. 

*Oy…that Walker three would have ended it, but this one is absolutely not over.  Especially after Al blew a pair of free throws.

*You’ve gotta be kidding me.  This team is just finding ways to lose, at this point.

*WHEW…that one got interesting, but I feel much, much better about this game, now that the Wolves are up by nine. 

*The missed three by Peja should just about do it.  Telfair ices it at the free throw line. 

Feels good to get the second win under our belt, doesn’t it?  The story of this game was clearly the guard play…I can’t say enough about Jaric’s effectiveness offensively, and Telfair easily played his best game of the season. 

Telfair directed traffic extremely effectively, which was a welcome change from times this season when the offense has been disjointed and sloppy with Bassy at the helm. 

Excellent road win for the Pups…I’m outta here for the night, thanks for joining me for the live blog.  Be sure to post your take on the game in the game thread.

TWolves Blog Staff

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