"It was probably one of the most complete games I had all season," Brewer said after Saturday's practice. "Both ends of the floor, I played pretty well. In the second half I really didn't make shots. I feel like defensively I was helping the team. If I can be active like that and get a lot of deflections, I can help the team."
Here's video from last night's game, showing Kevin Garnett's first return to the Target Center as a member of the Boston Celtics:
T-Wolves -vs- Boston Celtics (2.08.08)
If we could only win ONE game this entire NBA season, tonight’s game was the game I would have wanted us to win. It was a wild and entertaining ending to a very memorable night. Alas, as we all know, the ending was a heartbreaker. Leon Powe scored the put back bucket as time expired, to give the Celtics the 88-86 victory over our young TimberCeltics. We probably should have lost regardless, as Ray Allen was hacked pretty badly on his final shot with time winding down. Fortunately for Celtics faithful, Powe was in position to grab the rebound and quickly layed it back in for the win. If Powe wouldn’t have made the basket, I would agree with anyone stating that Jesus Shuttlesworth deserved to shoot free throws for getting hacked on his shot. With that said, I still think the Wolves deserved to win the game, based on how the two teams competed for the majority of the game. The Celtics came out flat and appeared to be coasting through much of the game. The Wolves were hustling and playing very hard, as you could tell they desperately wanted this win. Either way, we lost another thriller to the Boston Celtics this season. That’s probably why they have the best record in the NBA, and we have 10 wins.
KG’s return stirred some mixed emotions. First off, it was pretty cool to see him again. I thought maybe we’d all clap and cheer and that would be it. However, as soon as he walked out onto the court I got goosebumps. I couldn’t hear a single person booing him, nor did I see anyone *not* cheering for KG, as some had hypothesized might happen. I had wondered if KG would just come out for this introduction because he was obligated, or because he truly did care about the fans here in ‘Sota? Would he stare at the ground and wait for the cheering to be over, or would he acknowledge the fans? After seeing a replay at home, it appeared like some tears were welling up in KG’s eyes. It was an incredible moment. KG looked genuinely happy to see everyone while waving and looking around. KG displayed emotion… but in a touching way. It’s been a while since we fans have seen that here in Minnesota. Even though he was not able to play in the game as most fans had desired, it was still decent closure to the KG era. I think it will help a lot of fans to move on and eventually get behind the new youngsters on our squad.
A few things that I didn’t like about how they did KG’s appearance/tribute: 1) They did it too early in the introductions. Due to the unnatural conditions of the walkways and entrances in Target Center (aka an actual sellout), people were still trying to file in when KG walked out onto the court. There were quite a few empty seats, because many people had not been able to get to their seats in time. That was a shame, and I wish they could have waited a little longer. However, I do understand that it’s not easy (or usually allowed) to switch around the player introductions and a game start time. 2) Couldn’t they have allowed the fans to clap and cheer for more than one measly minute? I mean, come on. Seriously? We could have cheered for him longer if they wouldn’t have ushered him off the court. Then again, I guess this goes back to actually starting the game on time. Would anyone really have cared if the game started five minutes later? Perhaps the TV people might have cared I guess. Regardless, it was a good appearance, but it just seemed sort of rushed. Also, they didn’t really announce it too well, as KG just suddenly appeared walking out of the tunnel before anyone really knew what was happening. I guess I’m nit-picking though. It was certainly much better than him not making the trip at all. Last thing about KG, there were infinitely more Boston KG jerseys than Minnesota KG jerseys. I just thought that was pretty interesting.
(Click "Read More..." for thoughts and analysis.)
I may end up regretting this statement I made in our recent roundtable discussion here at T'Wolves Blog:
And what are the Wolves chances of ever wining a title
with Big Al as our cornerstone?
Won't happen. I honestly don't have a lot to add from College Wolf and Jeremy's comments, as they nailed the reason that the Wolves won't win a championship with Big Al as the first option...simply put, he's an excellent second option, but he'll need to be playing alongside a star for the Wolves to win a title. I love his game, but I don't think he'll ever have the mentality or dominant game necessary to be "the guy" on a championship roster. And that, my friends, makes this upcoming draft absolutely critical for the future success of this team--anything short of drafting a future superstar will be a disappointment, as the Wolves need to acquire their first option before we can start discussing future championship contention for this team.
Since I wrote that in mid-January, Jefferson has scored 27 against Phoenix, 39 in a later game against the Suns, a career-high 40 against New Jersey, 26 against Chicago, and 25 against the Clippers. He's posted double-doubles in nine of his last 10 games, been named Western Conference played of the week, and shot over 50% from the field in nearly every game since the middle of last month.
He's displayed an "alpha dog" mentality, unfazed by double and triple teams and demanding the ball in key, pressure-filled situations. He's getting on his teammates' cases when they don't give him the ball in the post, and he's showing major assertiveness in the huddle. From the looks of it, he's quickly capturing greater and greater respect from this team, and appears to be establishing himself as a locker room leader. And while he'll never match KG's defensive ability, Big Al's shown noticeable improvement on the defensive end as of late.
In short, it seems like he's becoming a superstar right before our eyes.
Am I fully convinced that Jefferson can eventually be the first option on a contender? No--the jury's still out on that. But am I becoming more confident that he'll be able to develop into that role? Absolutely. I can't quite put my finger on what I've been seeing from Al lately, but he seems to be attaining that "it" factor--a star mentality, a mindset that the greats achieve at some point in their career. The attitude that says, "I'm going to score on this possession, and you have no chance of stopping me."
Two or three weeks ago, I was convinced that Jefferson could never be "the guy" on a contender. Now, I'm not so sure. He's been playing at an extremely high level lately, and if he continues to assert himself on the court and keeps entering a leadership role with this team, the sky's the limit for Big Al. On the other hand, these recent weeks of dominant play could simply be the exception to the rule for Jefferson--maybe he will ultimately end up being a 20-12 guy, and a solid second-option.
At this point, we just don't know if Al can enter truly elite status. I do know this, though: My opinion of Jefferson has changed quite a bit over the past few weeks.no comments
Round Table Discussion: Six Month Anniversary Of The KG Trade
As you all may or may not be aware, today is the sixth month anniversary of the blockbuster Kevin Garnett trade; which changed the faces of the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves. It is rare for a player of KG’s caliber to get traded in today’s NBA, and this blockbuster trade was the biggest single player trade in NBA history; netting the T-Wolves five players and two #1 draft picks. In return, the Wolves received Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, Gerald Green, and two future first round draft picks.
The staff here at TWolvesBlog commemorated this event by holding a “Roundtable Discussion” to look at both the Wolves and Celtics franchises, during the sixth months following the trade. The trade has made the situation in Minnesota substantially more difficult, while the Boston Celtics are reaping immediate dividends. As it stands, the T-Wolves have the worst record in the league at 9-36, and on the flipside the Celtics currently enjoy the league’s best record at 35-8.
(Click “Read More” to continue on with the Roundtable Discussion…)no comments
Note: This article appears on www.derok.net/wolves
In the darkest of nights, hope can still light the way. [image2]
A little over a week ago, the Wolves were sitting dead-last in the NBA standings at an abysmal 5-34. Morale amongst their fans had hit an all-time low as the players looked completely lost and had managed to win only one of their last fourteen games. To say things were bad would be the understatement of the century. If not for the apparent Top 4 draft pick the fans had coming in June, things would have been borderline apocalyptical.
Ten days later, the Minnesota Timberwolves are still dead-last in the standings, but a mini-tear has improved their record to 9-36. While those who cheer for the Spurs may consider the team's latest 4-2 stint to be smallest of accomplishments, those of us on the spacious Minnesota badnwagon couldn't be happier. Seemingly overnight, a massive change took place inside the Wolves' locker room. The team, which had been struggling to a historic degree, managed to overtake the Warriors by one on the road and followed it up with a ten-point victory over Western Conference-leading Phoenix. They then nearly shocked the world during an emotional one-point loss against Kevin Garnett's NBA-leading Celtics. The Timberwolves followed that gutsy performance with an incredible come-from-behind victory over New Jersey in which they trailed by seven with under two minutes to play. While last night's defeat at the hands of the Bulls left much to be desired, the Wolves managed to avenge the loss with a gritty effort tonight in the second game of the back-to-back series. After averaging a win about once every two weeks over the first half of the season, this sudden string of victories has injected new life into the organization. Because for the first time in a very long time, Timberwolves fans finally have reason to hope.
The Second TWolvesBlog Open Mailbag...
Like last time, we might as well jump right into this; it's the long awaited Second Edition of the TWolvesBlog Open Mailbag. (Ok, so it definitely wasn’t “long awaited.”) Like last time, I’ve got even more quality questions from people all over the world! Or not. Anyhow, there is a very diverse variety of topics from: This year’s All-Stars, should we trade McCants (yes!) and/or Foye?, updated predictions about this team’s final record and status, Coach Wittman’s job status, Adriana Lima, Chris Richard’s PT, Corey Brewer, and finally, College Wolf’s First “Unintentionally Funny and/or Entertaining Roster of Awesomeness!”
(Click "Read More..." to dive into the MailBag.)no comments
With KG getting injured and falling on the way to the tunnel due to pain, only to make a late-game return, I knew we were potentially due for another WWF-esque moment from the Big Ticket. I was really hoping to see him raise his arms as he entered and get the crowd going nuts. It's absolutely incredible when he gets them going like that, even if it does get the home crowd rallied up against my own team.
Instead, we were "treated" to KG's tirade at the end of the game in which he popped out his jersey to display "Celtics" and kept repeating "This is what I'm talking about Motherf***ers!"
I have to admit, I love it when KG goes bonkers, but tonight I found it a little tough to swallow. It seemed to me that his actions were a little insulting to the Wolves organization. The way he clearly pointed out "Celtics" over and over again made it appear that he was driving home the message that the C's are so much better than the Timberwolves.
Trying to take a more objective look, Garnett was at home and was celebrating in front of the Boston fans. His actions could just be his way of saying "I'm happy to be here, to be a part of this organization, etc." But in the back of my mind, it still just seemed like there was a little bit of anti-Wolves sentiment there as well. I've seen him do the jersey pop before, but this one just seemed a little more enthusiastic, a little longer, and thus, a little more deliberate.
Trust me, KG has every reason to want to stick it to McHale, Taylor, and whoever else put him through twelve years of hell with their bad management decisions. I would just like to think that Kevin would also remember that there's thousands and thousands of Timberwolves fans who still support him just as strongly as ever. We treat him as if he were still one of our own. When he went down in the 4th quarter with the abdominal strain, it never crossed my mind to think "Yes! We have a better shot of winning!". Instead, I was annoyed with the Wolves as if they'd just injured one of their own teammates.
Through location, loyalty, or a twisted gluttony for punishment, we're all still following and supporting the Wolves in Garnett's absence. Because of that, any action he does to insult the organization can be taken as an insult to us. Truth be told, as much as I consider him to still be "one of us", he's really not. The fans on this site and I can take our shots at the team because it's "our" team. Anything negative we say is out of love coupled with frustration, and at the end of the day we still bleed for this organziation. Garnett doesn't have that relationship any more and every move he made last night was going to come under major scrutiny. I just wish he'd been a litte more careful, and, without sounding like a total wuss, a little more sensitive to the people he left behind.
Again, the game was in Boston and he was celebrating with the Boston fans. It's not far-fetched to think that he got caught up in the moment and forgot about the thousands in the Midwest who were watching him over the television. After twelve seasons of doing the incredible for us, I'm more than willing to give KG a pass on this one. I just seriously hope we don't see anything similar when the Ticket comes back to the Target Center, because that would simply be inexcusable.
My final word of advice to KG would be this - if you're going to pull out a WWF move on February 8th, make it this one: Act like you're going to run up to Al Jefferson and clock him in the face, and then instead raise his arm into the air as a sign of solidarity with your long-time fans and the players they now support in your absence.
Trust me, the crowd will love it!no comments
This one hurts quite a bit, doesn’t it?
I know it’s rather remarkable that the Wolves (7-35) were even competitive with the Celtics (34-7) tonight. It’s even more remarkable that they had a great opportunity to win the game, and should have emerged with the win. But man, our squad was in the driver’s seat with 23 seconds remaining, and they frankly handed this game away.
The play that’s sure to generate much discussion is the Corey Brewer inbound sequence, as Brew was nailed for a five-second violation. For starters, Brewer needed to call a timeout, since absolutely no one was open…Corey just lacked awareness on that play. If you’re inbounding the ball, you need to be counting down from five to zero in your head. And secondly, the inbound play itself was ridiculous…again, Corey had no options because everyone was covered. Witt’s inbound play failed to free anyone up.
And here’s what is even more insane: On the next inbound play, the EXACT SAME THING happened. Marko had no options, and was forced to call a timeout. It’s inexcusable that inbound plays, of all things, played an instrumental role in deciding this game. Truly a case of the Wolves snatching defeat from the hands of victory.
Witt had Marko and Bassy make the final inbounds passes of the game…problem is, that decision was too little, too late. I must question Wittman giving inbound duties to a rookie at a critical juncture of the game—I’m a Corey Brewer rube, but there are definitely more reliable passers on this team. Of course, hindsight is 20/20.
With their meltdown in the final 40 seconds or so, the Wolves dropped an extremely winnable game. But even though the ending was a crushing one, this team still deserves major credit…they fought valiantly, and we can’t forget about the intensity and passion they displayed for virtually the entire game.
(Click "Read More" to continue)no comments
It's Mailbag time again...
I'm running the second TWolvesblog Open Mailbag for anyone that is interested in sending any questions and/or thoughts, and I'll anwer them next week. Heck, I promise that I'll even answer them all... I'm like an Equal Opportunity Employer.
There's tons of things to talk about at this point in the season: The Wolves roster, our
awesome record, the Head Coach/Front Office situation, any previous or upcoming games, what you like or don't like... the possabilities are endless!
Or you can just email me and tell me that I suck. It's all good.