Created: 11/07/2012 9:57 PM KSTP.com By: James Monical
Luke Ridnour had 19 points and five rebounds, and Greg Stiemsma got the rout started with six straight points to end the third quarter in a 90-75 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.
Stiemsma finished with 12 points and five rebounds, and Derrick Williams added 14 points and six boards for the Timberwolves, who are 3-1 for the first time since 2001. They led an ugly game by three points early in the third period before going on a staggering 28-6 surge that blew open the game.
J.J. Redick had 16 points, but the Magic shot just 35 percent and turned the ball over 20 times to lose their second straight game. Arron Afflalo added 12 points for Orlando.
Without injured stars Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, the Wolves were hoping to stay afloat thanks to a soft opening to the schedule, and they couldn't have asked for much better than this. They began the season with a sluggish win over Sacramento, dropped a game in Toronto and then surprised the Brooklyn Nets with a big comeback on Monday night before burying the Magic in the final 14 minutes.
The Wolves and Magic were both awful in the second quarter, combining to miss their first 19 shots and turning the ball over virtually every other trip down the court.
Redick missed his first six shots from the field before getting going in the third, with his jumper off a screen cutting Minnesota's lead to 62-55 with just over a minute to play.
That's when Stiemsma took over. He scored the final six points of the period, then added a jumper to start the fourth, and the Wolves were off and running.
Despite the trade of star Dwight Howard to the Lakers, the Magic got off to a surprisingly strong start in coach Jacque Vaughn's first season. They beat Denver and Phoenix to open the season, then had a narrow loss at Chicago on Tuesday night. Afflalo, Glen Davis and Redick had the offense humming at 103.3 points a game and shooting nearly 49 percent from 3-point range.
The Wolves are playing without their two franchise players in Love, who broke his hand a week before the season started, and Rubio, who is hoping to return sometime in December from a torn ACL suffered last March.
The injuries have turned the Wolves into a grind-it-out team that needs contributions from all over the floor to stay competitive until they get their juice back.
So far, so good.
They set the tone early on Wednesday night against the Magic, holding the sharpshooters to 28 percent shooting in the first quarter. Stiemsma knocked Afflalo to the floor on a drive to the bucket and Williams got going on the break to help the Wolves take a 15-point lead in the first quarter.
NOTES: Wolves PG J.J. Barea left the game in the fourth quarter with an injured left ankle and did not return. ... Mo Harkless made his season debut for the Magic, scoring seven points in 23 minutes. ... Chase Budinger added 10 points and Nikola Pekovic had 11 points and five rebounds for the Wolves.
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