I haven't been getting enough sleep lately. I've been really busy over
the past week, I've been catching up on some late-night TV viewing (Conan
rules!), and -- oh yeah -- I LOVE caffeine. So, with all that in mind, I
haven't exactly been getting my recommended amount of nightly sleep.
Thank God for the Wolves -- they're a helluva sleep aid. Today's
game was a snoozer from start to finish, with the Wolves only briefly
displaying any life. Remember when we
were all talking about how fun this team would be to watch? Well, in reality, they've been exceptionally boring.
At one point this season, the Wolves were actually competitive. They weren't
winning, but they'd be in the ballgame right down to the wire. Lately,
though, we've been seeing more and more games that have been decided by
And today's game was indeed over by the end of the second quarter. Dallas came out with
greater intensity than the Wolves did, made the all-important hustle plays, and
most importantly, they actually played defense.
Here's the bright spot of the game: Quick Change performed at
halftime. Otherwise, the suckers who actually paid money to see today's
game (myself included) were absolutely robbed. A waste of money.
A couple things from today's game: This team doesn't hustle, they don't play
hard on defense, and they're completely one-dimensional on offense.
Four fast break points for the Wolves. Prior to this season, we
envisioned a team that would play fast-paced and up-tempo on offense, using
their youth and energy to their advantage. That hasn't happened.
This team doesn't push the tempo, and often gets bogged down in sluggish
Now, that wouldn't be the absolute end of the world if we actually had
serviceable perimeter shooting. But we don't. Antoine Walker is the
only person on this team who hits the three with any regularity (and even
'Toine's often inconsistent from behind the arc) -- other than him, quality
perimeter shooters are few and far between on this roster (and I even hesitate
to classify 'Toine as a "quality" perimeter
shooter..."streaky" is perhaps the better word).
The defensive effort from the Wolves was nothing short of laughable.
When you're playing a team like the Mavericks, you need energy and intensity on
defense -- give Dallas
uncontested shots, and they'll kill you. The Wolves must not have gotten
The matchups with Dirk weren't exactly favorable. Neither Al nor Craig match up
well with Dirk, and that was painfully obvious during the game...Nowitzki had
numerous uncontested jumpers, and he simply doesn't miss when defenders fail to
get a hand in his face.
On the perimeter, the Wolves' defense couldn't have been much worse. Dallas' guards were
constantly able to penetrate against our guards, who played with no energy on
the defensive end and simply weren't moving their feet. Look at the
stats: Bassy finished the game with three fouls, while Jaric picked up another
three and McCants had four. Again, that's just evidence of this team
playing defense with their hands, while failing to get a body on the Mavs
guards. Don't call it poor defensive
technique...call it poor effort.
Our bigs deserve plenty of blame on the defensive end, as well. As I
maintained a huge advantage on the offensive boards, simply because they
hustled and we didn't. That's a simplistic statement, but really, it
doesn't need to be any more complicated than that...Dallas hustled, and the Wolves didn't.
And it's been getting increasingly common to see the Wolves get out-hustled.
I fully believe that this team quit on Wittman today. It's been said
that the NBA is a game of momentum, a game of runs...well, the Wolves didn't
really make a run, and they never had much momentum (they showed a little life
in the second quarter, but beyond that, Dallas
dominated this game).
I'm not upset because they lost to Dallas.
That was expected. It's that the Mavericks displayed more hustle, more
intensity on the defensive end, more energy.
It's one thing to play a hard-fought game, and come up empty. It's
another to not even care.