The Minnesota Timberwolves had a clear advantage in the frontcourt on Monday night in their matchup with the Chicago Bulls when their contest got underway. With Joakim Noah under the weather and Carlos Boozer being an awful defender, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic clearly had the opportunity to put up big numbers.
Pekovic finished the night with just one point and one rebound, though. It wasn’t ineffectiveness, but rather a sore Achilles that kept Pekovic from performing and limited him to just six minutes of action. Love played well, putting up 31 points and eight rebounds, but the surprise came off of the bench in the form of Ronny Turiaf playing in relief of Pekovic.
Playing 32 minutes on the evening, Turiaf put up 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks on 6-7 shooting while also turning the ball over just once. Turiaf was going against a Bulls team not at full strength, but he played with a solid combination of energy and skill and looked like a guy who could be a consistent contributor for Minnesota.
As I and many others have noted, the Wolves’ biggest issue this season has been their lack of bench production. No one on their bench has been a reliable option as a reserve this season and that’ really set this team back. Now that Minny is back at .500 with the win over Chicago, though, they have to be looking for guys like Turiaf and Chase Budinger—who finished with 12 points on 5-7 shooting against the Bulls—to step up going forward. Like I’ve said countless times, if the bench doesn’t step up, this team is going to have to make a move to try to fix the issue at hand.