The Minnesota Timberwolves put together a solid body of work this past week and are beginning to turn heads with their new found balanced scoring attack. With another dominant victory against the Utah Jazz and a thrilling one point upset over the Golden State Warriors, the Timberwolves showed the NBA world that they do indeed have the capability to cause waves in this year’s post season.
One of the Timberwolves’ biggest problems this season has been relying on all-star power forward Kevin Love for most, if not all, of the team’s offensive production. As of late, the team has started relieving Love of his overwhelming offensive duties, which has resulted in a string of solid victories over many playoff bound organizations. In this past Tuesday’s match-up against the Utah Jazz, each member of the Timberwolves’ starting line-up scored double digits, while point guard J.J. Barea chipped in 15 key points. Following the 15 point win over the Jazz, the Timberwolves held off the Golden State Warrior’s outside shooting barrage in a much needed 1 point victory. Love, Pekovic and Martin contributed 74 points, while Brewer and Rubio added 24 between the two. The Timberwolves capped the week off with a tough loss to the third seeded Portland Trailblazers, but put up quite the fight in a very hostile environment. More importantly, each member of the starting five again scored double digits with Martin accounting for 30 of the team’s 104 points.
The common denominator in each of this past week’s match-ups has been balanced offensive production throughout the rotation. Even though Love averaged a, by his standards, low 20 points per game in the last three contests, other players such as Martin and Pekovic made their presence known on the offensive end of the floor.
Martin, who has been known for sporadic scoring outbursts, showed the Western Conference that his scoring can be a consistent weapon for the Timberwolves. The sharp-shooting guard averaged 24.6 points per contest this past week and is beginning to find his place in the youthful lineup. Martin’s recent scoring has not only boosted his own season statistics, but it has also given the Timberwolves an added dimension to their offense.
With Martin now becoming a consistent outside threat to opposing teams, Love will be able to focus more on dominating the low block and securing important rebounds in the closing minutes of each game. Additionally, Rubio may now have a reliable set of wing-men to distribute the basketball to, rather than having to conduct the offense through an abundance of high screen-and-rolls.
The Timberwolves are looking better and better with each passing game, and the team may have just turned the corner with the mid-way point of the season approaching. The team finds themselves only four games out of the current playoff picture, but if their new found balance scoring attack becomes the new norm, then they should have no problem sneaking into the post season as an eighth or even a seventh seed.
The Timberwolves look towards another tough match-up Monday night against the strong-willed Chicago Bulls where their display of balanced scoring should continue.
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