After a busy NBA Trade Deadline on Thursday, the Timberwolves looked to go for their first season sweep of the New Orleans Hornets in six years. The Wolves started the game hot, hitting their first three shots – including a Kevin Love 3 pointer and an alley-opp pass to Darko Milicic. Unfortunately, the Hornets countered the Wolves hot streak by hitting 4 three pointers of their own and finished the first quarter shooting a blistering 68% from the field. Kevin Love had an efficient first quarter with 5 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists, again proving why he was the lone Timberwolves NBA All-Star this year.
In the second quarter, Timberwolves swingman Wesley Johnson was aggressive and kept the Wolves close, with a couple of nice pull up jumpers and a nice wrap around pass to Center Nikola Pekovic. Wes Johnson led the Wolves at the half with 15 points on 7-11 shooting. The Hornets continued their torrid shooting by finishing the half with 68% shooting and led the Wolves at halftime by the score of 55-43.
In the Second Half, the Wolves continued to chip away at the lead but unfortunately, Chris Paul and the Hornets were too much to handle. It didn’t really matter who was guarding Chris Paul tonight. Against the Wolves this season, Paul was averaging 19.5 pts, 13 assists, and 4.5 steals. Tonight, it was no different. Whether it was Luke Ridnour, Johnny Flynn, or even Pooh Richardson, Paul had his way with the Wolves– weaving around defenders and carefully dissecting the Wolves defense play after play. Paul ended the night with 17 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds. The Hornets ran away with a 95-81 victory and look to continue to gain momentum in a late season Playoff surge in the Western Conference standings.
The highlight for the game (and possibly the season) for the Wolves was Kevin Love extending his Double-Double streak to 45 consecutive games, the most consecutive games in 32 years since Moses Malone’s streak of 44 games. Kevin Love finished the game with 11 points and 14 rebounds, whereas Wesley Johnson and Luke Ridnour both led the Wolves with 22 points. New Acquisition Anthony Randolph made his first appearance as a Wolves player and had a nice up and under lay-up at the end of the game. In these next 23 games, it will be interesting to see how the Wolves assimilate Randolph into their rotation, and hopefully, this young team can start to gain some experience and confidence to help them finish the season strong.
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Written by Phil Aguila