Well, if anything, the Wolves have kicked it up a notch in the entertainment category over the past few nights. The Washington and New Orleans games were brutal to watch, but these last two games have been a bit more enjoyable. They've been sloppy, but watching this team has seemed like somewhat less of a chore during this past week.
Unfortunately, though, the last two games have only been enjoyable up until the final minutes. Then, as we've grown accustomed to, things have fallen apart for the Wolves.
In Denver, the game was lost in the final two minutes- and when things went downhill, they went downhill fast. Missed jumper by McCants, five second violation on an inbound, missed hook shot by Al, and it was all over. Give Denver credit...while the Wolves have had some outright late-game collapses, I'm not sure this can be categorized a "meltdown." Sure, the Wolves missed several opportunities down the stretch to steal a win from the Nugs, but more than anything, this game was lost because Denver did a great job of taking advantage of our crunch time mishaps. They gave us no room for error in the final two minutes.
A couple of bright spots: First, Antoine Walker. Admittedly, I jumped on the "Antoine sucks" bandwagon earlier in the season, but he's really come on strong in the last four games. The only thing that's been missing is the shimmy...c'mon ‘Toine, when you gonna bust out the shimmy for the Minnesota crowd?
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When he's stepping behind the arc, Antoine's been doing a nice job of getting his feet set and not shooting a flat shot. First few games, he was shooting too many off-balance threes, and there was very little arc on his shot.
I've also noticed that he's making some things happen on the interior. He's still parking himself on the perimeter a little too much for my liking, but he's been driving, getting some tip-ins, and grabbing a few boards as of late. There's very little not to like about his recent play...needless to say, I'll be giving him a few All Star votes today.
It was also good to see Gomsey coming on strong in tonight's game. He's been a nonfactor in the offense over the past two weeks, but he delivered 18 points on 7-13 shooting...and in 24 minutes, no less.
I was left scratching my head after seeing the foul disparity- the Wolves were called for 31 fouls, while Denver was only whistled for 20. That margin surprised me...perhaps the Wolves played a bit more aggressively on D than the Nugs did, but I have no idea how we ended up with 11 more fouls than Denver.
Turnovers continue to plague the Wolves...it's hard to win games when you cough up the ball 21 times, as they did tonight. I'm continuing to see an unusually high amount of traveling calls, some poor passes courtesy of Sebastian Telfair and Marko Jaric (among others), and an abundance of (for lack of a better term) stupid plays.
Take, for instance, Gerald Green dribbling right into a corner when he was bringing the ball down the court. Ugh! And how about that stretch where the Nuggets stole an inbound pass following a basket, and nearly stole the next inbound pass? The Wolves seem to go through stretches where they play dumb basketball...and that was certainly the case tonight, as the swarming defense of the Nuggets and the careless play of the Wolves culminated in way too many missed opportunities for our squad. This team just isn't playing smart basketball...they're gonna have to start taking better care of the ball before they can start winning a few games.
Rashad McCants' performance was tougher to watch than the "2 girls 1 cup" video (if you've never seen that video, consider yourself lucky...very lucky). His jumper was off-target from start to finish, and strangely, he kept on firing jumpers rather than penetrating and trying to create an easy shot. It made no sense for Rashad to keep taking jumper after jumper- he needed to use his athleticism to get an easy bucket, and try to get into a rhythm that way. Don't keep throwing up 20-footers when they just aren't falling.
Can someone please explain to me why Mark Madsen was starting? Because I have no clue of what Wittman was thinking. More idiocy from the coach: Brewer played two minutes, and Craig Smith had 16 minutes. That's just inexcusable.
Finally, it's good to see Gerald Green working his way into Wittman's rotation. It was the absolute wrong decision to keep him on the bench as long as Witt did...players don't improve when they're a DNP night after night. They just don't. Players improve when they're given an opportunity to play, make mistakes, and gain regular season experience.
Green didn't play well against Denver, but at least he played. Of course, with the inexplicably short leash Witt's been keeping him on, I wonder how long Green will keep his spot in the rotation.