Kahn and Ronzone's likely reaction after this one.
Another bad loss for the Wolves. Tonight I blogged about it live. Really wish I could have made some more optimistic remarks, but it is obviously difficult when the solutions seem so obvious to the general fan, and the team plays so sloppy after being so well-rested. Let's hope we can pull some upsets in what will be a very difficult upcoming month. Check out the rest of the transcript below the fold.
7:02 PM: Good evening my tens of Wolves fan. Mike here typing live from Uptown, Minneapolis where it is a paltry 15 degrees and declining. I am joined by the most masculine drink of all time: a bubbly can of Peach Citrus Fresca. Tonight the Wolves face Dallas Mavericks, in Dallas, and have about a 3% chance of winning this game. Glad I was able to start things off on a positive note.
Currently the pre-game show is in full force. We have already seen a shot of Kevin Love and Anthony Tolliver wearing some of those noise canceling headphones. What's up with those things? Do they both hate people that much? Don't normal earbuds work?
7:07 PM: Ok. What in the hell is the Arby's Value player of the game? I don't get it. Isn't Arby's known for being overpriced? I mean, Beef and Cheddar is a fantastic sandwich and all - but $3.99 for 1 fast food item is a bit much. Hardly any value. And what criteria does one need to meet to be the value player? Random text message folly it seems.
Also, after the commercial break: Tonight's game plan. This should be good
7:11 not-inserting-PMs-anymore: This pre game analyst debate segment is awful. Scripted. Based on percentages you can tell anywhere from 3-5 people are voting, if any. Kind of like the Howl-Meter at Wolves games. Clearly fake. Debate as you deem necessary.
7:20 Well I suppose I should stop attempting to tell bad jokes about things no reader is really watching. Tonight is going to be a tough contest. Mark Cuban in da house tonight screaming at officials, Dirk Diggler and Jason Terry (who I swear shoots 100% from the field....), ugh. Expect a lot of 3's tonight from Dallas. They should easily exploit our awesome transition/team perimeter defense on the wings so I don't really know. Boy-o-Boy I encourage everyone to watch and keep a tally of the # of: contested jumpshots the Wolves take tonight, # of terrible shots from Brewer off the dribble, and overall # of botched possessions due to the inability to recover from a broken play. Alright, time to be a little more "glass half full" perhaps. Also, my Light it Up Prediction is.....Darko. Why not? Chandler will be tough but that's ok. If not him than Ridnour. He is ready for a big night. Talking to yourself on the internet is weird, either way. Also my dog is chewing on a drum stick (the instrument).
7:23 - Good news on Jonny Flynn, who will play a game for the D-League this weekend and hopes to return to the lineup next week. We often wax on about how his impact will not replace Ridnour or Telfair. I agree with this, but I still am eager to see how he fares. He certainly is a better interior finisher and arguably quicker than both Ridnour and Bassy, and much more explosive. One could even say he is a better defender. Will be good to see if Jonny can bounce back and merge quickly with our team. We could use a spark.
7:26 - I just realized now that Kevin Love is going to have to guard Dirk tonight. Or will Darko take the assignment? I sure hope so. They should put Love on assistant coach Darrell Armstong, as it will certainly have an equal or greater impact. Meanwhile Marney Gellner states "Is this the year the Mavs put it all together? The Wolves would like to think that won't happen tonight." Great insight, I was thinking the Wolves wanted to lose. Also why are the Wolves wearing red warmups? Did Tyson Chandler leave his tampon stash in the laundry again? Ugh. Sorry that was gross. Actually nevermind, both teams wearing red for AIDS prevention so I will take back that insensitive joke.
7:40 - Here comes Jim Pete's GAME PLAN! 1. Defend Dirk. No, terrible idea. Just let him shoot. 2. Match Dallas' bench. 3. Rebound on both ends. I am really interested to see how the Wolves play after an odd amount of rest as of late. On that note, is it or is it not a little bit overrated to be considered worse off playing on the tail end of a back to back? As if 3 days of rest is any better? These guys have been down in Dallas for 4 days sitting in the sun and absolutely positively getting hammered every night. Probably Rhombus too. One could argue a well rested team flying into town the previous night is more well rested conking out and sleeping in a hotel until noon. Yes I realize this statement is likely completely false.
7:45 - When the Wolves move the ball as effectively as they did on the first play of the game, their offense really does look good. I just think the team will not succeed..JESUS Love gets stuffed in the lane and the subsequent yelling sounded like a barbarian warcry, my dog nearly passed a stool onto the couch...good lord be quiet. Sebastian and his seal yelps are on the bench so I am a bit surprised. Listen for the seal yelps from Bassy when he draws contact. Anyhow, this team is underachieving a bit, and I firmly think it is due to an overcomplicated offense (expect to hear too much about this through the rest of this writeup). Rambis has the trust of the guys but at a certain point he simply has to tone this down. If he didn't have 3 more years on his contract he would potentially be on the outs. On a related note, Rambis is shooting for his TWENTIETH win as Wolves head coach tonight. Awful. This team has tools. Complete underachievement.
7:50 - Some 7:50 bullets:
-Nice corner 3 from Wes. He needs more shots during the game. I would also hate for our 4th overall pick to be used only as a spot up jumpshooter. AND, we have our first awful mid range shot off the dribble from Brewer! Beasley also out with 2 fouls early... I forgot to mention that.
-Dallas getting easy shots and hitting early while the Wolves continue 1-pass possessions and are adding up the stupid turnovers. Typical.
-If Gerry Neal was fouled at the end of the Wolves/Spurs game last week, then Wes Johnson was just murdered on his last 3 point shot attempt.
-We also have our first Jim Pete "Groan." A common sound when the Wolves make a stupid decision or make an unforced turnover. When he makes that "mmm!" sound it is usually very appropriate and generally a gut-wrenching moment.
7:57 - The Wolves just announced a sweepstakes in which you can accompany the team on a road trip and be ignored by the players, Brewer's terrible mid range shot off of the dribble tally now at 2, Darko dunked, and Brian Cardinal is in the game. Quite the quadumvirate (made up word) of events.
8:01 - Girlfriend, studying for GMAT, just asked: "how many words is 250 words?" She is off to a great start. And is from Dallas.
8:04 - I want to comment that I am pleasantly surprised by Love's post game as of late. He actually has proven to be not half bad down low. Nice little hook shot. On an unrelated note, Brendan Haywood...what a failure of a signing. Did anyone out there not see that coming a mile away?! Of course he would slack off when he got a crazy contract. And deep down, ask yourself if you would do the same thing in his position if you were a role player. I posted a lengthy write-up on that very subject a few months back. Easy to not try when someone gives you $35 million guaranteed with no consequences for poor performance, other than being provided with less work (playing time). Right? Kind of? Part of you would maybe want to slack off a bit? And at the 1:07 mark we have the first Bassy seal yelp. Free Willy!
And it's 29-20 after 1. Jim Peterson says "My Goodness" after Tolliver...accidentally throws the ball to the ref while inbounding the ball. WTF? Off to a shaky start Wolves, come on let's pull it together. Hopefully Beasley can get hot here quick.
8:13 - Tom Hanny just used the word 'telegrafted' in a sentence.
8:15 - JJ Barea looks like Hoggle from Labyrinth....and Brewer still can dunk.
8:19 - An enigma wrapped in a tortilla, word is from Jim Pete that Rashad McCants scored 20 points in a D League game. Nice. Sign him. And on a Downs release, Marion hits his 2nd 3 of the season followed by a Barea 3. I guess the Mavs got the memo: shoot 3's and you will win.
8:30 - Jim Pete with another groan on the Marion mid-range shot, putting the Mav's up 14. I'll take this opportunity to say that, aside from the shot release, Wes Johnson is capable of becoming a Marion-lite or Marion-parallel. This is a good thing. I heard some interesting rumblings that people in and out of the Wolves org think Wes will be our best player before long. I don't buy it. And with that, Beasley just shut down Hoggle. Dance Magic Dance. Jump Magic Jump.
8:35 - Well a pretty sub-par first half but a nice effort to close it. Certainly within reach. Good to see Beasley get some looks, and Darko with a quiet 10 (per my Light it Up Prediction). Wayne also with his best stretch of ball all year. Wolves trail 43-55
8:51 - My dog's thoughts on the first half: lihew;fjl;ccvewvp[okcpe. Thank you. Here she is now, eagerly awaiting JB Bickerstaff's responses to his riveting halftime interview questions:
8:53 - I think we have Ridnour-selves of any hope after that shot to start the half.
8:55 - Wolves now down 16 on the Butler mid-range/Jim Pete Groan Shot. Wolves once again have no capability to form an offensive scheme stressing simple ball movement and open shots. I'm obviously no NBA coach but, again, at what point does this become too bad where Rambis is in the hot seat? Still firmly believe this is an 8 win team (!) at this point with a simplified offense playing to the guy's strengths, but we take so many god-awful shots and have about 40% empty possessions per game, easily. Even without a defensive adjustment, and only some basic swinging in the perimeter, screens, and open shots with your bountiful shooters. Instant offense. Tubby Smith style. Hold on while I run and find another Wolves-related topic to have a knee-jerk reaction too...like Wes Johnson's sick alley-oop that just happened. My dog just went crazy.
9:02 - Jim Pete with (is this 4 now?) another Groan on a Beasley missed layup. Mike makes up for it with a shot. Jim points out how the Wolves no longer ISO Michael Beasley. Couldn't relate to that comment more, as the Wolves strategy on O is similar to how Wolves fans react to player performance: over-the-top-knee jerk reactions. I know Darko is on a tear but you have to switch it up every now and again and ISO your leading scorer. Rambis is so hit or miss. Again, he has the respect of the guys (for now) though and this matters. Dog is now suddenly asleep again.
9:15 - As much as the Wolves didn't win many games, I have to say, in hindsight this past November was an awesome month Wolves-wise. Some spectacular performances, great games, and a solid way to start the year. While the upcoming schedule is difficult, I'm just hopeful some positive things continue to develop as we embark on what really is a month long road trip against playoff teams. We could go winless in December.
9:18 - Just saw the Thunder/Nets game was going into overtime and tried to switch over to League Pass and realized the girflriend was recording something, probably Real Housewives of Iraq or something, which is preventing me from changing channels since my DVR only allows us to watch 2 things at a time. This game better end quick. I guess I'm stuck watching Cardinal drain two threes (season high) and listening to the 7th Jim Peterson groan, all topped off by a Kevin Love bricking a 3. On another note, Sundiata is in. He had a solid game last time he played and deserves a look.
9:21: 8th JP groan on another dreadful, stupid turnover from Gaines.... I mean, come on, I really do not want to go on another rant about how god-awful our offense is. So I won't.
9:25: 4th quarter amusement:
9:27: Hoggle with another make. How did this guy ever make it into the league and succeed? It's kind of neat. Here is what Hoggle looks like for those of you who have never seen the epic film Labyrinth from 1986:
9:37- You know its a typical Wolves December when the commentators start talking about Brian Cardinal's wife's college basketball career at Purdue.
9:46 - Well this would have been a much more fun experiment had we played a decent game. Wolves lose 100-86
10:09 - Concluding - our offense is predictable mush and my sleeping Pug/Terrier mutt could defend it. Our defense at times is passable, but that offense is worse on a different level. Dreadful, dreadful and will never ever produce sustainable results until we build it around our player's strengths. We have plenty of 'quality' players who can produce: a top scorer in the league looking to revitalize his career, the league leading rebounder and shot blocker, 3 point shooters at all 5 positions, lightning quick guards who can shoot reasonably well, quality perimeter defenders. It just doesn't make sense. The "team is young and gelling" excuse is an absolute cop-out in professional sports. Kahn put together a solid roster that should absolutely be more successful than it is today. I think the biggest need on O is that explosive 1-2 guard who can get to the rim and score with the tenacity of a Russell Westbrook. I am really hoping Flynn can somewhat fill this role when he returns, even if it is to a very poor man's degree, because he has that "extra step" ability. Enough waxing on. Embarrassing, but predictable, loss after so much rest.
<insert another knee-jerk all-hope-is-lost reaction>
With that said I am not ready to throw in the towel on Rambis just yet. The key difference between him and Wittman 1) Rambis has 2.75 GUARANTEED years left on his deal (this matters), while Wittman was probably paid $8.50 an hour on an at-will employment contract. And 2) he is a 'player's coach' who has a respectable staff, and as of today has the respect of his team. But man, they need to try some new things or advantage #2 will plummet and very quickly, and that is not nearly as knee-jerk as some of the other comments in this post. This team absolutely needs results TODAY in the worst way. Even if it means no shot at a top 4 player in the draft.
Thanks for reading.