T-Wolves -vs- Phoenix Suns (12.8.07)
Wow... Wolves win. How the heck did we beat the Phoenix Suns? I'm still not sure myself. This game was almost exciting as the game when we beat the Suns last year, stopping their 17 game winning streak, or whatever sick number it was at. Maybe we've just got their number at Target Center? I bet if we played them in the playoffs we would easily take the series, just so long as all the games were played in Minneapolis. Ha. Ok, as much fun as it is to humor myself, I'll stop now. The atmosphere was pretty exciting for once and it was a great game. I didn't see this one coming, that's for sure.
(Click "Read More..." for thoughts and analysis.)
This "Musings" is going to most likely be a bit on the short(er) side. Being that I don’t exactly take notes and have a less than photographic memory… it makes publishing a Britt Robson-esque masterpiece slightly problematic. My memory is bad enough as it is, and then going out and getting blitzed afterwards can’t help. Also, I like to do some things that are foreign to most of the people in attendance at Target Center, namely things like “cheering”, “yelling bad things about the other players”, “clapping” and/or “standing while clapping.” Now, I don’t do ALL of those things every game, but I do like to switch it up and keep the crowd on their toes. Sometimes, I actually get excited and can become lost in the game too. I don’t think everyone knows that if it’s quiet during a game, you can cheer and/or clap without getting in trouble. The point of this is that from time to time, I can actually get involved/distracted by the game, which may or may not affect my ability to recap it afterwards. Fair enough? That’s why we’re fans, right?
- Let’s see… Bonk and I got to Target Center a little late, due to the horrible downtown traffic thanks to the stupid Holijizzle parade. I can’t believe how badly that backs up all the traffic. Is it really necessary to have it every single night? Man, I can’t wait until it’s over. When we arrived about halfway through the first quarter, the Wolves were actually leading something like 12-10. We were shocked.
- I almost forgot, the “Starting Lineup vs Wins” watch currently stands at 11 – 3. Can you believe we already had 11 different starting lineups in the first 18 games? I can’t either. We had another new lineup tonight. I believe it was Marko and Sebastian, Brewer and Smith, and Big Al at center. It’s awesome that we’ll probably lead the league in something I guess. To glean a positive from this, I really like what Coach Sichting is doing with this lineup. That’s awesome that he started these guys that played well down the stretch in the Atlanta game. Dare I say that he’s finally found a lineup combination that works? It’s hard to believe that these 5 guys are who seem to produce the best results, but you can’t disagree with how well they play together. Even I can tell that it’s probably our best combination of five players at this point in the season. Gomes has inexplicably lost his mojo, and McCants is overrated as an offensive spark. It’s fine to have them get some minutes off the bench, but I don’t think either should be starting right now, as much as it pains me to say that about Gomes. I’m sorry Ryan, please don’t hate me. The resounding question is, “Will Wittman keep playing this lineup when he comes back?” Sadly, I wouldn’t doubt it if he completely switches things up and goes back to running things his way. The thought of that is really depressing.
- I will give everyone some first quarter stats. The only reason being that I grabbed one of the “Official Scorer’s Reports” from media row after the first quarter. Let’s see if there is anything interesting… Wolves only down 28 to 32. High scoring, but not bad. Al’s already got 10 points and 5 boards, while Craig Smith has 12 points. Telfair’s got 3 assists. However, two glaring things really jump out at me. The Wolves are only down 4 points, but they are getting “out-assisted” by the Suns 14 to 6! Also, even crazier, the Wolves have attempted 6 free throws to the Suns zero. Wow.
- In case they didn’t beat it death enough, it was “70’s Night” tonight. I thought it was really lame, but whatever. They gave out fake wigs to people that I wouldn’t wear even if I got their in time to get one. The Dance Team was all wearing different 70’s era dresses which I thought were pretty ugly. The Sugar Hill Gang played at halftime, which I guess was alright. It was probably better than the majority of the halftime performances we are asked to suffer through. I mean, at least we weren’t watching like a troupe of 5 year old girls doing something that was supposed to constitute gymnastics, or maybe the arena could go dark and we could watch Extreme Makeover again. I don’t watch it on TV, why would I want to watch it at halftime of a basketball game. Also, the Sugar Hill Gang would have been cooler if they would have been allowed to wear all the clothes and whatnot that they usually wear. Instead, they all had to wear Wolves jerseys with the number “07” on them. Lame. The too small and inevitably too tight jerseys just made the guys look old and fat. It was still a decent performance though.
- I wouldn’t mind if they got rid of the majority of the promotions and all that garbage and just focused on the game. But, I suppose when the team is as bad as the Wolves you have to try and do anything else to keep people occupied. Case in point, “Hoopman” must go. I hate Hoopman. Everyone else seems to loves Hoopman. I do not understand it. If you don’t know, “Hoopman” is a guy that walks around with a basket strapped to his back and he throws a ball to people in the crowd. Whoever has the ball then tries to make it into his basket (lol) for a crappy t-shirt prize. Hoopman always gets more of an applause than anything else at the game. It drives me nuts. Hoopman thinks he’s a pimp, when in reality he’s just a goon. I hate the fact that people cheer louder for his stupid ball and a chance to throw it at his hoop and miss horribly. You know where he’s at in the arena at all times, because entire groups of people will stand up and yell/cheer frantically for seemingly no reason at all… until you figure out they are trying to get Hoopman to throw his ball to them. If I ever get Hoopman’s ball I am throwing it as far as I can in the completely opposite direction. Hopefully he never comes near our section again. Crunch, Air Crunch, and Chomper can all stay. But that’s it.
- On a related note, I believe it’s at the end of the third quarter when the promotions bozo’s, the Dance Team, and Crunch come out on the court and start chucking and shooting t-shirts into the crowd. By shooting, I mean shooting them from those air-gun thingy’s that you see everywhere nowadays. Also, the shirts are all wrapped up really small and sealed in plastic or something, which makes it easy for them to throw. They are in the shape of a rectangle and probably the size of a baseball (maybe a little bigger.) Anyhow, I’ve always told Bonk that if I EVER got one of those stupid shirts (and they are stupid because I’ve seen them before. Basically just a lame advertisement with a small Wolves logo.) I digress… anyhow, if I ever got one of those shirts I would chuck it back onto the court from my seat. He didn’t think I could get it back onto the court, and I thought I could… although I did have reservations. Also, there isn’t much room to get a running start or anything, like all the people on the court do. I’m sitting there watching this gong show commence as it always does, and then all of a sudden, a shirt comes flying towards us. I think it was the first (and will probably be the only) shirt to come directly towards our seats in our section all season long. I then agilely reached my arm up amongst the throng of screaming lunatics and snatched the shirt from the jaws of despair. Did I take a moment to look at it? Did I stand there like a goon trying to get on the jumbotron because I was sooooo excited that I got a shirt? Hell no. I chucked that thing back on the court. It was awesome. Granted, I almost nailed one of the ballboys in the head, but I made it back onto the court nonetheless. The shirt then sat out on the middle of the court until they were all done. I am fulfilled.
- That’s pretty much the end of my social life stories for tonight, so we might as well try and get some more basketball related content into this sad excuse for an article. Besides being consumed with awesomeness after the final horn buzzed, I’ve got two distinct memories that really stuck out. One, McCants taking a terrible shot, getting his own rebound, neglecting to pass to any other open guys, and then attempting to go back into the lane and missing again. It was a sad sequence of events. McCants could probably be a decent player and really help the squad, but he’s absolutely got to stop doing things like that. The second memory is of that massive freakin whiner Steve Nash. It was towards the end of the fourth quarter and the Suns were trying to mount their comeback. Nash gets fouled while passing the ball to one of his teammates on a fast break. Nash and D’Antoni absolutely cannot believe that it wasn’t a shooting foul and will NOT stop complaining. It was absolutely ridiculous… and he was obviously passing the ball. I didn’t understand. Nash even walks to the free throw line and shoots a free throw, which was bizarre to say the least. So, the Suns are inbounding the ball and Nash goes to screen someone and very blatantly elbows our guy in the back. Presumably because he was still mad about the last call. Everything that just happened was completely classless and absurd. Nash is overrated and D’Antoni is the biggest baby on the NBA sidelines. I’m so glad they lost.
- I’d like to do a player by player analysis, but I don’t remember enough about each player and my headache isn’t getting any better. So, let’s just look at the boxscore and pick some stars of the game.
- Stars of the Game: Al Jefferson and Marko Jaric. Big Al had 32 points, 20 boards and was a terror on the offensive boards. It was a sight to behold. He really held his own in the paint against Amare Stoudamire and the other Phoenix players. Jefferson will be a force to be reckoned with in this league for many years to come. Marko had 19 points and 5 assists, but most importantly plays good defense and really seems to relish being a leader out there for the rest of the guys. It’s amazing and I never thought this could possibly happen. After seeing the “Marko at point guard” experiment two years ago crash and burn like the Hindenburg, I’m amazed at what he is doing out there for us this season. I guess all I can say is keep it up. I won’t mention his 6 turnovers as to not ruin the moment. Oops.
- Also, after the Wolves won, Marko and Al gave each other a huge hug on the court. It was touching. It made me want to hug Bonk, but luckily I decided against it for the good of everyone around us.
- The rotation was only 8 players… which was awesome. I love the fact that they aren’t trying to play every single player on the squad. That’s just not feasible and is counter-intuitive towards establishing a rotation and pecking order. Well done Coach Sichting. I’ve already gushed enough about the starting group, so we’ll stop now.
- The Wolves out rebounded the Suns 55 to 33! We also had an incredible 19 offensive rebounds to their 8. Some timely offensive boards toward the end of the fourth sealed the win for our team. They really fought hard out there.
- We attempted 22 free throws to the Suns 15. My goodness. There must have been some type of freaky deaky space/time vortex directly over Target Center last night. That’s my only explanation.
- Brewer followed up his 18 rebound performance with 11 tonight. Nice work young fella. Quite stealing them from Big Al though, I’ve got him on my fantasy team.
- Jefferson had the best plus/minus at +13. Craig Smith was the worst at -8. In fact, he was the only guy on our team in the negative. So, that means the only time the Suns gained points on us was when Craig Smith was out on the court. Lol, something should be said about that but we don’t want to ruin the happy mood.
- Amare didn’t put up the stats like we are accustomed to, but he’s still an absolute beast out on the court. He and Dwight Howard are two of the biggest, meanest looking players in the NBA. Definitely worth seeing in person.
- Nash had 15 assists, and Marion was their high scorer with 18.
- Nash led the Suns with a plus/minus of +4, and Raja Bell was the loser of the night with -13. So much for his good defense. Whatever, I don’t even really like the plus/minus statistic anyhow haha.
- A terrible three point shooting night for both teams. The Suns went an atrocious 7-25 and the Wolves were 4-13. Stop shooting threes and just give it to Jefferson inside! How hard is it? Jefferson did have 26 shots last night, so something seems to be changing. Thank goodness they were getting him the ball.
- I guess when it comes down to it; we matched pace with the Suns and responded to their challenges. We inflicted our will on the boards and dominated them in the paint. I really hope we can build off this awesome win and it gives our guys some much needed momentum.
I wake up today and know we won the game because my drunken stupor had yet to be inflicted upon my memory while I was at the game last night, and the scoreboard said we had more points than the Suns. 100-93. It wasn't necessarily the prettiest game, but we'll take it. There is a good chance this was the game of the year for our young team. Glad I was there. The atmosphere was surprisingly enjoyable and the fans actually seemed to care this game, which was a nice surprise. The NBA.com attendance was officially listed as 19,356 (which is still a joke), but it was a very good crowd. If I had to guess I’d say there were probably 17,000 or so people actually there. What a crazy, amazing night. I think I still might be in awe that we actually won. Much partying ensued after the game. Time to lay down now.