Well, I rolled to the Wolves game last night with Bonk, and I’ve got some thoughts I’d like to share. You won’t find any sugar coating or fluff pieces from me, so if that’s what you’re looking for you’ll have to continue your search elsewhere.
My initial thought, boy that sure was a tough one to lose. I was just stunned as we lost. After the four wins in a row, I thought we could take the Clippers at home for sure. Well, I was wrong. Granted we only lost by 1, but a loss is a loss. The Target Center had a decent atmosphere for a Wednesday… at least we had that going for us. NBA.com listed the official attendance at 14,223 but I highly doubt that many people were actually there. Something that really bugs me is the fan base in the Twin Cities. People don’t go to games to watch good NBA ball against other good teams. It depends entirely on the day of the week. It’s quite sad actually. For example, we had two pretty pathetic crowds the past two Wednesdays (against the Spurs, and yesterday against the Clippers), however the past two Friday nights were near sellouts (against Seattle and then the Sixers.) Is it just because people prefer to go on the weekends? I guess that could be it, but it sure is discouraging… especially in the wake of a four game win streak. Nothing I can do about that except to continue showing my support for the boys.
Enough about our night, it wasn’t too interesting outside of the game itself. No crazy boozin or stories about the night out on the town after this one.
My observations and thoughts on the game in terms of a plus (+) for good, and a minus (-) or bad:
+ Blount: Why wasn’t he playing more in the fourth? Can anyone please explain that to me? Just when ya get some faith in ol’ Coach Casey he puts the worst lineup ever out to start the fourth. (Ricky, Craig Smith, Bracey Wright, Madsen, Foye) WHAT THE #@$! IS THAT CRAP? My goodness Casey, our offense with those guys was simply deplorable. We had no ball movement, no one that could score in that situation, nothing. I *guess* it could have been for defense, but we were only down TWO POINTS. We need more punch and the ability to create one’s own shot in that situation. Once again, Blount got it done, plain and simple. Hitting shots, rebounding, and only one turnover. Granted, he misplayed a ball that hit him right in the hands when he would have had a lay-up, but I’ll take only one TO from Blount every day of the week. Maybe it was because I called Bill Simmons out on it… I sure hope Simmons was watching. You know he at least TIVO’ed it.
- Foye/James: What an atrocious game last night. Why wasn’t James subbed back in after it became readily apparent that Foye was struggling mightily? As much as I hate to say that it’s true, we could have used James. Foye was playing so awful and not moving the ball around AT ALL. 1-10 and four assists in 28 minutes? Ugh. Our PG’s combined for 1-15 FG’s for 5 points and 11 assists in 48 minutes. And we only lost by 1. Geesh, victory was right in our grasp if we would have even had marginal PG play…
+ Bracey Wright: Wow, where did he come from tonight? Granted, he shouldn’t be playing in the fourth when we are down 2, but he played the best of any of those guys the first four/five minutes of the fourth. He was 3-4 FG’s and some great hustle rebounds, along with adequate D. He only played 9 minutes, but there were all in the fourth quarter. Does that make sense to anyone besides me? No? Didn’t think so.
+/- KG: Good game. Missed yet another game winner. Perhaps all the pundits are right. I mean, he hit the Philly game winner in OT, but when was the last time before that? I saw a post saying that he has only hit something like 3 Game winners in his life. He’s missed at least four (Portland early in the year and the last three game winners attempted in the last three games other than the Philly winner) this year with one winner. Oh well comes with the territory, I guess. Really, should we expect anything different? To be fair, he carried us with his 19 points and 17 boards and we would have had no chance without him.
+ Maggette: I thought he couldn’t shoot? Whatever. He was the best guy on the court for the Clips. He would be perfect playing with KG and Blount so that they could open up the lane for him to do what he does best - Take it to the hoop. He had 11 FT’s and hit them all. He’s athletic, physical, and strong. A true SF that takes it to the hoop is one of our biggest weaknesses. McHale, can you get on the phone? Oh, you already tried that one? Sigh.
- Kaman: Why the @#*$()@ did he cut his hair? God he looks like a goon now. His hair was his claim to fame. He did have the Clippers first 7 points of the game, but then only 5 more the rest of the way.
??? Jaric: What happened to him? No one informed the crowd at the game. He went into the tunnel holding his wrist after only playing three minutes. Dangit. Hope it’s not too serious. I guess this gives Casey a reason to play Bracey Wright more minutes now. Oh boy…
+ Maddogg: Good cheerleading effort. Always up off the bench on a good play. Always the first one to slap everyone’s hands during a timeout. Too bad he gets paid 3 million a year to do that. I could do the same for much less.
+ Cassell: Solid, but not spectacular. Pretty much what I expected from him. During introductions he got scattered boo’s and applauses. Whatever, at least he didn’t drop 30 on us. Plus, he’s still ugly.
+ Elton Brand: The normal production you expect. Much like KG in that he is very consistent and you know what you’ll be getting from him. KG should have taken him to the hole more often, rather than settling for so many jump shots.
- Mobley: Laid a monster egg. 3 points. Why does he start over Maggette? Something I will never begin to understand.
+ Hassell: He’s been playing pretty well lately, which is good to see considering his slow start this year. Plus, his jumper at the end of the game to take the lead was pure money. He’s about as good a “glue” guy as we’ve got right now. With that said, I’d trade any package of Him or Ricky D + filler for Maggette in a nanosecond.
+ Ricky D: Pretty good game from him, all things considered. Hit some monster 3’s to keep us in the game, which was refreshing considering that he’s not a very good three point shooter. 7 assists were nice, even if the majority of them were simple feeds down to Blount for open J’s. I’ll take it though. I still wish he would drive to the hoop with authority, which is what I thought we brought him here to do…. Missed a monster ally oop that would have ignited the crowd like fireworks, but what do ya do?
- Craig Smith: He’s just not tall enough. On top of that, I think other teams are figuring things out and how to contain him. He’s still a good option for 10-15 minutes a game off the bench though.
+ Hudson: Still as ugly as usual sitting on the bench. The reason he gets a plus is because he did just that: sat on the bench.
- Casey: Just when Casey starts to suck you in with some wins, he pulls this coaching spectacle out of his bag of tricks. He blew it terribly. That lineup to start the fourth was one of the worst lineups imaginable. Just deplorable. Also, he was largely back to his ways of just standing on the sidelines doing nothing, again.
For the Wolves to be a playoff team, these are the types of games we needed to win. We are already too far down the playoff path to get one of the worst ten records in the league and retain our draft pick. So, we might as well go all out. Too bad Casey isn’t the guy to lead us there.