T-Wolves -vs- Seattle Supersonics (3.14.08)
So I was going to watch the game last night and do one of my typical "Musings of a Wolves Fan" articles. However, that was not going to be happening since apparently college hockey takes precedence over the NBA. Granted, it was a playoff game going into overtime... but still. How many people watch the NHL, let alone college hockey? I was going to say something about the low viewership ratings, but then again, multiple Wolves telecasts have recieved less than 1 market share this season. For the record, 1 market share is only approximately 16,000something people. So, it's not the like the Wolves have been attracting huge crowds either. Even with all that said, I can't believe we were forced to watch college freakin hockey last night instead of the Wolves. The game tonight against Portland isn't on TV (and I knew that), so it was doubly pissing me off. Also, some posters in the forum informed us that apparently they couldn't watch the Wolves game last night either, even on DirectTV League Pass. I'm no technician, but I'm about 99.999% sure that was directly related to the fact that I was sitting at home in my living room trying to stay sane while watching nearly 30 minutes of exceedingly boring overtime college hockey. In the downtime between the first and second overtimes of the hockey game, they showed the Wolves game on a very small picture in picture. The other box on the screen besides the Wolves? A screen showing the fans sitting in their seats waiting for the second overtime to start. What a complete farce. Couldn't they have just shown the Wolves game fullscreen for the 15 minute overtime (or however long it is?)
When the el-lamo college hockey game was finally over, it switched over to the Wolves with about 7 minutes remaining in the third quarter. At this point I was half-awake and it was extremely tough to really get into the game, being that I had missed the first 30 minutes. I didn't focus on the game as raptly as I typically would, because I was undecided about whether or not I would actually do this article. The more I got thinking about it, the more mad I was that we missed so much of the game for some lame college hockey game. Also, there is no game on TV tonight... I might write my congressman.
The game was somewhat close what I finally got to start watching. Personally, I didn't think a whole lot of defense was played in the second half, but from what I read by one of our forum posters and a short game recap, apparently the first half was the "no defense" half. Still, the teams scored a combined 117 points in the first half compared to 120 total points in the second half. It doesn't look like there was much defense being played at any point in the game. It wasn't long after I started watching in the third that the Wolves pulled away. The Sonics were in foul trouble and we were abusing them at the free throw line. The Wolves attempted 16 total free throws in the third quarter alone. According to the recap, the Wolves scored 10 straight points from the line at one point. The Sonics made a half-hearted comeback attempt at the very end of the game, getting within 5 or so at one point. Typically I wouldn't have been worried about that, except they did come back and beat us Sunday night under the exact same premise.
With the win, the Wolves no longer have the worst road record in the league... and also avoided a season sweep by Seattle that would have been the first in 11 years.
(Click "Read More..." for thoughts, analysis, and Lottery Pick Odds.)
Even though I didn't get to watch much of the game, I just wanted to point out a few interesting stats via the official Boxscore, as well as Popcorn Machine.net website.
First off, the Wolves Lottery position. We are currently tied with Memphis for the second/third worst record in the entire league. (If two teams end with the same record, there are no tiebreakers. Rather, the ping-pong balls are combined for those two spots and split evenly.) As it stands, Seattle is just barely behind us with the fourth worst record. They have 1 more win than us and Memphis, but also 1 more loss. In regards to our lottery odds, based off last years numbers I think we have approximately a 52% chance to land one of the top 3 spots. Based on where we stand (tied), our odds are approximately 17%ish for any of the three lottery picks. The percentages will become much less complicated when we are no longer tied for the same record as another team.
- Gomes: Looks like my boy had a monster game! 23 points, 15 boards and 0 turnovers. 5 of 6 from the free-throw line ain't too shabby either. He could improve on the 8 of 18 FG shooting, but I'll take it.
- Foye: From what I saw of him, he looked good. The passing was crisp and solid, and he made some shots. I think he made 2 threes in the third while I was watching, so he was 0 for 3 the rest of the game. Still, 40% from deep is solid. He's been shooting the 3 ball real well lately, much better than from any other spot on the floor, which is kind of baffling. Like Gomes, he was 8 of 18 overall (which is actually good for him), wtih 7 assists and 0 turnovers. I saw a few of his assists, and they were "legit", which is promising.
- Big Al: He only played 30 minutes. I'm not sure if it was because of foul trouble (he had 5), or for other reasons. Still, he was 8 of 13 for 16 points, along with 3 steals and 2 blocked shots. The 5 rebounds is somewhat discouraging, but Seattle is a pretty tough rebounding team. Also, it didn't matter too much as Gomes was laying down the lumber tonight.
- The Beef (Craig Smith and Chris Richard): First off, it was awesome to see Richard logged nearly 19 minutes of playing time. Finally, geez... He went 2 of 3 for 6 points and 4 boards. I don't think his defense was great, but I didn't think it was awful either. He just needs more minutes to see if he's worth keeping next season. Did You Know that Craig Smith has the highest field goal % of any bench player in the league? That's kinda cool. Hopefully it doesn't drive up his price this off-season though. Tonight he went 5 of 7 for 11 points and 4 boards. I think some team might overpay him this off-season. I stand by the fact that we should keep Gomes over Smith if it comes down to a decision like that.
- Earl Watson: 10 points and 10 assists, but only played 28 minutes.
- Durant: 9 of 15 for 24 points and a plus 10 rating. That's one of the better boxscores I've seen from him. He's pretty silky smooth out there on the court, I will admit that. Like Corey Brewer, he still needs to add some muscle.
- Chris Wilcox: Was a beast inside with 20 points, 7 boards, and 2 blocks.
- Jeff Green: 18 points and 5 rebounds. He looks like he'll be a pretty good sidekick to Durant throughout the years. Reminds me of a Tayshawn Prince type with his versatility.
- Marko: 0 field goals attempted and only 5 points in 27 minutes? He also had a team worst -19 rating. Typically when he's out there he plays good defense and can rebound too. Well, tonight he had 1 steal and 0 rebounds. I only got to see about 5 minutes of him playing in the fourth quarter, so I'm not sure if he was playing good defense or not.
- Snyder: He had a solid 15 points (7 of 7 free-throws), but he also had 5 turnovers and was getting yelled at by Wittman and Jefferson at various points. So, I can't imagine that he was not "in the wrong" in those discussions, which puts him down here. 5 turnovers is bad, we don't want that.
- McCants: 3 of 8 shooting and 3 turnovers. To his credit, he did go 6 of 6 from the free-throw line and pulled down 7 rebounds. Not a horrible game but not too good either.
- Brewer: 5 of 12 shooting isn't terrible for him, but he didn't provide much else other than that. 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 2 steals in 25 minutes of action isn't too productive. He played almost the entire 4th quarter and I don't really remember him doing much.
- Missing the first 30 minutes of game time on TV because we were forced to watch overtime of college hockey. Ridiculous.
- Both teams had 16 turnovers. So, I guess that's not *too* bad, all things considered. At least we didn't lose the turnover battle for once.
- As is typical, we got out "fast breaked" 20 to 16, but dominated them in the paint to the tune of 64 points to 44.
- The Wolves got outshot 52% to 50%. Also, the Sonics shot 55% from deep, while the Wolves shot a still very good 50% The Wolves barely nipped them on free-throw shooting percentage (81.1% to the Sonics 79.2%), however we had a massive advantage on free-throws attempted for possibly the first time this season (I'm too lazy to check.) The Wolves went 30 of 37 from the line, compared to 19 of 24 for the Sonics.
- For the most part, I think using “plus/minus” from individual games is pointless. There are just far too many variables involved. So, I always take the ratings from any one game with a grain of salt. With that said, the winners and losers: Seattle - Kevin Durant +10. I'm not sure how he had the highest "+/-" for Seattle, considering he had five turnovers and plays little to no defense. He shot 9 of 15 which is good, but far from great. Damien Wilkins -12. I'm actually glad we never signed him three years ago or whenever it was that we signed him to a tender offer (and Seattle subsequently matched.) Minnesota - Kirk Snyder and Chris Richard + 17. Not bad at all for only a 5 point win. And they both played decent minutes so it's a somewhat good indication. Marko -19. Ouch! I guess that's what happens when you go 0-0 from the field with 5 points, 3 fouls, and 2 turnovers!
- The attendance was listed at 14,035. I'm shocked that many fans showed up in Seattle for a Sonics-Wolves game. Good luck drawing that many to Target Center.
The Wolves play the Blazers tomorrow night in Portland. I'm out~