In a battle between the two expansion franchises that began play in the NBA together in 1989, the Timberwolves beat up on their other half, the Orlando Magic with a fairly convincing 90-75 win at the Target Center and improved their Northwest Division best record to 3-1.
First of all, this Orlando squad is not any good. Their 2-2 record may be the last time they see .500 this year. That's why this win by the Wolves was a nice blessing. The shorthanded Wolves beat the weaker opponent, and beat them soundly. This Wolves squad was dominating so much, that in 1st half, the Wolves were able to survive an EIGHT minute field goal draught where they missed 12 straight shots, yet somehow still kept the lead.
The big turning point came in the 3rd quarter when Orlando was down 58-53 and nipping at the Wolves paws. Then the Wolves managed a FOUR point play that was like a turbo boost on what became a 28-6 run for the Wolves that pushed the lead up to 27 points at one point in the final quarter.
A main contributor in that run was the person known as the Sconny Steamer, The Steam Machine, Mannheim Stiemsmaroller and simply Greg. It was the living legend Greg Stiemsma himself who scored 10 points in a about a 4 minute span and protected the rim like a little kid protecting a teddy bear. The Steamer was brought to the Wolves to provide a defensive presence in the middle but his unexpected offense have been the most surprising aspect of his game. As my buddy Matt tweeted tonight:
"The Sconny Steamer is everything we needed Darko to be. He may have half of Darko's talent but he gives 10 times the effort."
That nailed it.
In the end, this was a game that the Wolves still should've won, even though Love and Rubio are out. To have a 3-1 record without their pair of stars is good but they have now won three games and all a little differently. They have won a game in a classic pull away form, also have won via the massive comeback and now they can say that they dominated a team. A win is still a win and beating bad teams is what playoff teams do.
Here are some other articles on the game: