As many of you have probably noticed, there’s been a severe lack of posts on TWolvesBlog.com lately. Our forum is still buzzing, but I’ve done an awful job at keeping up with my front page duties. In all honesty, the lack of headlines has a lot more to do with my busy school schedule than it does with me neglecting to write them.[ad2] I’m just on a crazy rotation at the hospital that’s taking up all my time. I haven’t watched the past two Wolves games, and the last time I saw them win was three weeks ago. February just hasn’t been kind to me as a Tiimberwolves fan. So wouldn’t you know that when I finally have time to write something meaningful and the team is actually on a semi-roll, it’s the NBA All-Star Weekend. What are you gonna do?
Well I’ll tell you what I’m going to do - write a recap of all the highs and lows of this Timberwolves season thus far. In a sports culture where the predominant line of thinking is “what have you done for me lately”, I think it will be a nice change of pace to reflect on what’s transpired for the Timberwolves over the course of the past 50+ games. So without further ado, I’ll get started.
The Butt Kicker - The Timberwolves kicked off the 2006-2007 season with two straight wins, but the most encouraging part of those early victories was not the outcome, but rather 2nd Round Pick Craig Smith. Considered an afterthought by most Timberwolves fans enamored with Randy Foye, Craig Smith proved himself to be one of the most NBA-ready members of his draft class. His play gave Wolves fans reason to believe that this team could actually go places as it had been blessed with not one, but two young studs that could make an impact.
A Bunch of Roaches - The buzz surroung the 2-0 Timberwovles took a major hit when then failed to continue their undefeated run by falling to Portland. The Wolves image was further tarnished when reports came out that Ricky Davis calling the Trailblazers’ players a “bunch of roaches” was what sparked their comeback.
KG on the Block? - The Wolves continued their skid, ultimately losing four in a row to end up at 2-4. It was a punch in the stomach to Timberwolves fans who had let themselves start to believe in this team. As the team faltered, it took approximately 0.3 seconds before everyone started calling for Kevin McHale to trade The Big Ticket.
November Recap: Chemistry in Question - Overall, November was an extremely up and down month where the team lacked any semblance of consistency. Their play was somewhat expected, as any group featuring a lot of new players is bound to struggle a bit until they gel. However, Coach Casey’s questionable substutions along with some grumblings about playing time, made this season’s opening month a disappointment.
The name goes on the back - The Wolves continued their downward spiral, but Marko Jaric managed to make Wolves fans smile when he checked into the game with his jersey on backwards. It was the season’s funniest moment, and also the biggest moment in TWolvesBlog.com history!
Waiting for “The Answer” - The Wolves managed to go on a nice tear in early December, but unfortunately much of that progess went unnoticed as the Allen Iverson sweepstakes held most fans’ attention. As time passed, it became clear that AI would either end up in a Wolves jersey or in the uniform of their hated rivals, the Nuggets.
Let’s just say we all know how that ended up…
More Disappointment - During the aforementioned December run, the KG, MJ, and Ricky D combo showed flashes of the Wolves former MV3. In back to back games where the Wolved downed division leader Utah, and snapped the Bulls’ 7-game winning streak, it appeared that the trio may have finally found the chemistry fans had been waiting for. The Wolves then went on to lose four in a row.
Fransisco Who? - I just love ragging on Fransisco Elson after he called KG “gay” back in 2004. Apparently, so does the Ticket…
Asked in October about the Spurs, Garnett eventually mentioned their frontcourt:
“The inconsistencies with the middle men … whatever the guy who they have now.”
Someone tried to help him out: You mean Elson?
“Whatever his name is.”
“Whatever his name is,” Garnett said pointedly.
December Recap: Casey Losing Control? - The Wolves continued their up and down pace, playing miraculously against teams like Utah and San Antonio, and then shrinking in the wake of weaker teams like Toronto, New Jersey, and Milwaukee. The Wolves were showing flashes of brilliance, but inbetween the highs, were ugly lows where Dwane Casey appeared to have no control over his squad.
Gotta love that old ball! - The Timberwolves were the first team to go back to using the old leather basketball, and the results were impressive. They opened 2007 with a phenomenal 7-1 record, taking down big time teams like the Spurs, Rockets, and Pistons. The Timberwolves finally looked like a team who could make some post-season noise.
Who Pooped in the Punch? - The Wolves began to falter and it appeared that the wheels were once again about to come off Dwane Casey’s team. At no point in this season did things get more out of control then when the Pistons came to visit. The game featured the makings of a brawl, and Garnett received and ejection and a one game suspension after throwing a punch in defense of Mark Madsen. The chaos continued as Ricky Davis stormed to the locker room after being taken out of the game by Casey. The initial company line was that Davis wasn’t angry, but rather in need of some quality time on the commode. His suspension the next game suggested otherwise.
Casey gets a pink slip - Having lost any semblence of control over his team, Dwane Casey was shown the door by the Wolves front office. Despite widespread criticism from the media, most Wolves fans were delighted at the change. As nice as he was, Casey had a knack for making some of the most inexplicable game decisions. Many T-Wolves loyalists were less than thrilled that his replacement was the inexperienced Randy Wittman instead of a big-name coach. But at that point, any coaching change was a good one.
January Recap: Wittman rights the ship… sort of. - Ultimately, the Wolves followed up their 7-1 run with an 0-6 skid. Randy Wittman struggled a bit at first after taking over the reigns, but eventually lead the Timberwolves to their best win of the season in a 121-112 barnburner against the Suns. He managed to lead the team to their first winning month this season.
This is where the “sort of” comes in - The Wolves may have come out of January alive and kicking, but February started out just plain ugly. The Wolves managed to rack up some embarrassingly nasty losses against the Hornets, Rockets, and Grizzlies. It appeared that no matter who the coach was, this Timberwolves team was bound to be dysfunctional.
Everything’s not lost - Despite those horrible defeats, the Wolves did manage to piece together a few good games agains the Warriors, and most recently two in a row agains the Celtics and Thuggets. And thanks to some mishaps by the other teams in the middle of the Western Conference standings, the Wolves have somehow entered the All-Star break in the eighth spot. Could it be that after all this season’s ups and downs, the Wolves still have some playoff basketball in store?
Looking Ahead - The Wolves have a nasty schedule the rest of the month, and March isn’t looking much better. It’s definitely going to take some stepping up and a commitment to teamwork for the Wolves to keep their spot in the standings. Will the end result be the post-season or the lottery this year? Anyone who tells you they know is lying. But in the spirit of the All-Star Game in Vegas, I’m willing to put my money on Kevin Garnett finding a way to pull this team through.