By Jerry Zgoda
Dominant at times, disinterested and disorganized at others, the Wolves rescued themselves with a preseason fourth quarter Wednesday night that Randy Wittman suggested they would have been incapable of last season.
A team that hoisted 24 threes and made seven of them two nights after they shot 58 percent from the field in that Milwaukee romp, the Wolves’ three-point indiscretion left Wittman cursing under his breath. But it was consecutive threes by Rodney Carney and Ryan Gomes busted open a tied game with 3:04 and turned a game in which the Wolves led by 13 in the second quarter and trailed by nine early in the fourth.
More notable, though, was this: The Wolves, so far outdistanced last season in free-throw disparity, reached the free-throw penalty bonus with 5:10 left, when they trailed by three. The Thunder never made it into the bonus. The result: The Wolves made 9 of 10 in the fourth, including 5 of 6, in that final 5:10 while the Thunder went 0-for-1.
Rashad McCants scored 13 of his team-high 15 points in that fourth after dribbling the ball all over the place into trouble and getting into foul trouble that fouled him out late with his indiscretion, and was 6-for-6 from the line in the fourth. (8-for-8 for the game while going 3-for-10 from the field).
“We can get to the foul line this year,” Randy Foye said.
Other thoughts and observations:
Rodney Carney played 26 minutes and showed what we know he can do: Run and dunk (he also had a nice double-clutch baseline layup). But he made his only three of the night (he missed three other tries) when it counted most, when Sebastian Telfair found him all alone in the corner with the shot clock running down with 3:04 left. He is intrguing, but he and Corey Brewer seem awfully similar: Great athletes in the open floor, great hops, inconsistent shooter.
Kevin Love matched up against Johan Petro and Nick Collison, among others, and the first two preseason games showed he’s going to get outreached and outjumped under the basket. But he also has held his own through sheer scrappiness. He had eight of his 10 points in the 4:36 he played in the first quarter and played 27:37 total.
Wittman played nine guys (compared to all 15 in the Milwaukee blowout), all of them 19 minutes or more except for Chris Richard’s seven minutes. No Ahearn, no Ollie, no Araujo (no Craig Smith, either, because of his swollen knee, which was detailed in my pregame post).
The Wolves will sign free agent center David Harrison, the former Indiana Pacer, in Denver Thursday or Friday, to a non-guaranteed contract. It’s a low-risk move for a 7-footer who was suspended for five games last season for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy. The Wolves worked him out at Target Center last month, but it was abbreviated when he injured his calf midway through. They need another big body because Jason Collins and Calvin Booth are injured and it looks like Araujo might end up taking a guaranteed deal in Europe. He won’t undergo his team physical until Monday, so that means he can’t practice with the team until then.