Coming into their contest with the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves had dropped their previous three games and had lost five of their last six. After such a hot and promising start to the year, the Wolves had seen their record fall to below .500 at just 8-9 for the 2013 NBA season before they took the floor on Saturday.
One of the big reasons for their hot start this season was the play of Kevin Martin, arguably their biggest offseason acquisition. Against the Mavs, his strong play helped fuel the Wolves to a 112-106 victory to get out of the rut they had found themselves in. On the night, Martin finished with 27 points and three assists while shooting a solid 7-14 from the field, 3-6 from three and 10-11 from the foul line.
Over the Wolves’ first seven games of the season, where they went 5-2, the play of Martin was truly a catalyst. The guard scored more than 20 points in six of those contests, made three or more attempts from long-distance in four games, and shot 43 percent or better in five of those games. With a new team and under Rick Adelman, Martin was shining.
However, as Minnesota hit their recent skid, Martin began to do the same. In their three losses coming into Saturday’s game, Martin had scored more than 20 points just once, was a combined 5-16 from three and had not shot better than 43 percent in any of the three losses, including two games that he shot below 37 percent from the field.
One of the reasons that the Wolves went out and signed Martin this summer is the fact that they lacked consistent production and depth on the wings. With Martin providing that early, as well as the early play of Kevin Love, Minnesota was rolling. With him struggling lately, though, the Wolves have slowed down a great deal. After an impressive performance on Saturday, it will be interesting to see if Martin and, subsequently, the Wolves will be able to get back to the ways of success.