Grizzlies 90, Wolves 86: A quick reaction

Zach Harper —  January 5, 2012 — 9 Comments
Memphis Grizzlies 90 Final

Recap | Box Score

86 Minnesota Timberwolves
Michael Beasley, SF 5-16 FG | 0-2 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -4
Oh… B-Easy… that was a rough game. I have no doubt the lacerated finger is really hurting his effectiveness. Shooting decisions aside, it seems really hard for him to get any kind of touch on his passing, dribbling or shooting. I like how much he found himself inside, but the touch just wasn’t possible.
Kevin Love, PF 11-21 FG | 3-4 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 27 PTS | -11
It’s hard to find a lot of fault in what Kevin Love does night in and night out. He’s taking a lot of 3s but he’s also making a really good percentage. He missed a few shots inside in the fourth quarter. He didn’t make it to the free throw line a lot in this game. But I’m just searching for nits to pick right now. The turnaround fadeaway out of the post was sick. Love was fantastic again.
Darko Milicic, C 1-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -7
I don’t even… I mean… he rebounded well… but I just don’t really understand why he’s taking so many shots… at least they were all in the paint… then again… HE MISSED 5 SHOTS IN THE PAINT!… I can’t even process this right now.
Luke Ridnour, PG 4-10 FG | 4-5 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | -5
Asking Luke to be the J.J. Barea in the 2-point guard lineup is a pretty difficult task. He’s just not that kind of scoring guard. However, I like the effort he’s putting into it. When Rubio isn’t in the game, he’s attempting to run a pretty inefficient halfcourt offense. When Rubio checks in, he’s trying to spread the floor for him.
Wesley Johnson, SG 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -6
J.A. Adande has a hashtag on Twitter of shooters who can’t shoot. Wes might be the captain of that hashtag. Not exactly sure what he’s doing out there, other than getting his Donté Greene on right now.
Anthony Tolliver, PF 1-4 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | +7
Tolliver comes in and plays defense against Gasol, the Grizzlies’ NBA 2K12 create-a-player Josh Davis, and Rudy Gay. His defensive effort against small forwards like Gay and LeBron has been superb and inspiring. Need him making shots though.
Wayne Ellington, G 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +1
Speaking of shooters who can’t shoot, Wayne needs to start knocking down shots. He isn’t making spot-up jumpers. He isn’t making pull-up jumpers. He isn’t making much of anything.
Anthony Randolph, PF 3-3 FG | 2-4 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -2
Anthony Randolph was a ball of energy tonight and it was in a very good way. Got three quick scores. He made a weird jumper just above the elbow. He got to the free throw line four times. Using him in a Chris Andersen, 10 minutes per game type of way may be the way to go with Rubio.
Ricky Rubio, PG 5-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 10 AST | 12 PTS | +2
Ricky came in and energized a zombie offense that couldn’t generate any progress against the Grizzlies defense. He was looking to take shots and passed the ball incredibly. He had a couple of bad turnovers. Two lazy passes and a miscommunication on a kickout and he also missed two big free throws. But other than that, he was sliding his feet and changing the game. Puppy breath and cinnamon.
Derrick Williams, F 2-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +5
We got to see a pick-and-pop 3-pointer from Derrick. We got to see the spin off the high post for the oop from Ricky. Williams seems to be a lot more comfortable out there on offense, but he’s still hesitating to shoot a bit on the perimeter. I’d love to see him take those hesitations and turn them into drives to the basket.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Missed shots. That offense was ugly. The execution wasn’t there and the shooting was just horrific. There were a lot of misses inside. Without Barea out there and with Beasley cut on his hand and unable to really get off a good shot (assuming he decides to take one), the offensive options are really limited. Wolves need a perimeter scorer in the worst way, especially in the halfcourt.
  2. Rubio impact. It’s hard to quantify the galvanization he brings into most games. Tonight? He brought the efficiency and the direction the Wolves badly needed. It’s nights like these when the offense starts slow and Rubio starts fast that people will be outraged he’s not starting yet. Hard to argue with, but I’m glad he’s at least finishing games. This isn’t the Rambis situation we flashback to.
  3. Rubio looking to shoot. Ricky is looking to shoot and it’s working out. He called for the ball for a 3-pointer on the wing. He made the pull-up 3 off the double screen when the Wolves needed a clutch basket. Adelman has been telling us he can shoot and not to believe the talk about his poor shooting. It seems to be legit.
  4. Horrendous free throw shooting. Missing 11 of 24 free throw attempts and four of 10 in the fourth quarter makes you want to punch everything you come into contact with. Wolves’ free throw shooting has been inconsistent this year and it needs to trend upward.
  5. Turnovers will kill you. Wolves had 17 turnovers and gave up 23 points off of them. They forced 12 turnovers and only scored seven points off of them. It’s going to be hard to win like that on any given night. Please no more of this.

Zach Harper

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9 responses to Grizzlies 90, Wolves 86: A quick reaction

  1. Thanks for the great coverage Zach. I am a Wolves fan in Nuggets territory and am starved for coverage of the Wolves. Your twitter feeds, this website, and pirated game coverage keep my hunger covered. Any chance of a trade for Cousins?

  2. darko vs gasol in the paint looked like my grandparents dancing at a wedding.

  3. Ridnour a B-? that’s one hell of a generous curve your using. How many assists did that PG have in the first half?

    He is always looking for his own shot and what was that crap at the end of the game? Oh yeah not trusting his teammates to rebound the damn ball and trying to do it all on his own..

    D+ at best and I’m being generous too.

  4. Can we call Wes Johnson a bust yet? Highly touted and candidate for ROY before his rookie season started. If we weren’t so thin on SGs he shouldn’t even see the floor. I don’t know what we need more, a real C or a real SG.

  5. Great write up, Zach — keep doing them.

    I agree that Rubio needs to start. I’ve watched several games this year, and it is amazing how much smoother the offense becomes when he enters the game. Maybe some of this is the other team is tired or has substitutions, but it is time to see if he can do this at the beginning of the game rather than getting in a hole we have to dig out of.

    Definitely need a shooting guard. I wish Philly would give us Iguodala for Beasley and Ridnour, but Even Turner isn’t progressing well enough for them to do that. There are too few true centers in the league for us to get one via trade.

  6. Ridnour was the only player playing competent offense in the beginning of the game. That stretch was painful I almost stopped watching when Wes air balled the wide open three.

  7. Love the new format.

  8. I don’t understand why everyone’s so hard on Darko. I was at the game last night and thought he had a nice defensive game against Gasol who was a complete non-factor (6 pts on 3-11 shooting). The shots Darko takes are in the flow of the offense and he typically provides a decent scoring punch every third or fourth game. As an added plus, KLove gets at least 1-2 putbacks every game on Darko’s missed layups (had 2 last night).

    Maybe it’s just me.. but I’d take Darko at $5M/year over Marc Gasol at $13/year, not to mention Kwame Brown ($7M), Andris Biedrins ($9M), Brendan Haywood ($8M), etc. Darko will never be the starting center on a legitimate contender, but that doesn’t mean he sucks. He’s a backup making backup money, forced into a starting role. Could be worse..

    I don’t see how the TWolves have the assets to trade for a legit starting 2-guard, since I can’t see anyone giving up much for Beasley, Randolph, or Wes (assuming Love, Rubio, and Williams are untouchable). Best bet is to wait until the trade deadline and see if anyone needs someone w/ cap space to take on a big contract (Turkoglu?) and hope we can pick up a nice asset in return.

  9. Rubio-Williams-Love-Barea-Webster-Randolph can not be moved from my perspective. The rest can leave.
    I would start: Rubio- SG (TBD) – Williams – Love – C (TBD)
    Second unit: Barea (PG – SG) – Webster (SG – SF) – Randolph (PF – C) – C (TBD)
    Championship teams make a rotation of 4 players at the most. I know we are far from that but adding two solid pieces at SG and C and a good prospect at the C will see the team just short in experience.
    KG would be more than welcome the next year. He can still bring something to the game bur even more important: he can help develop our big men and make his leadership count.
    My dream choices are Harden and DeAndre Jordan. Both almost impossible to get.
    Hassan Whiteside would be someone I would bring to develop. He can be a good shot blocker and defender for the team. He is just too green yet.
    What do you think?

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