2011-12 Season, Game Analysis, Player Analysis

Lakers 104, Wolves 85: Shaken, not stirred

These things happen.

We can’t all be Kobe Bryant. In fact, these are the nights we wonder how Kobe Bryant is Kobe Bryant. He should’ve been in bed like the rest of us; wallowing in self pity and reaching for that second pint of ice cream. Instead, there he was, pirouetting into those patented fadeaways, jumping passing lanes, and whipping assists to teammates. If dislocations, torn ligaments, aching knees, a broken nose and a concussion won’t slow him down, then Kobe has simply run out of ways to amaze us. We applaud his excellence with a yawn and shake of the head.

Kevin Love, on the other hand, didn’t play tonight; presumably bed ridden with reported flu-like symptoms. This doesn’t make him weak, or any less of a competitor, it just makes the Wolves a befuddled mess. They’d gotten by without him before–including much of the previous night–however those are the exceptions, not the rule.

Or did you expect the bench to outscore our starters for the second straight contest? Well, they did (49-36), but Kobe (31) almost did too. There simply weren’t enough shooters to keep the defense honest, there weren’t enough post threats on either side of the ball  to negate the Lakers size advantage, and there never has been a slasher to keep things moving, much less compete with a Hall of Famer.

Or perhaps you expected another outburst from Derrick Williams? Instead, he just set the bar impossibly high for himself. No one in NBA history has done what he did against the Clippers. This wasn’t Kenyon Martin stumbling around the perimeter after Williams, it was a sharp, lengthy and disciplined defense denying him room to operate. Even when he found space, he still missed. So Williams remains a puzzle; forced to play out of position, yet appealing to his nature won’t always yield positive results. If we honestly believe that the key to Williams development is to let him fire away from 18 feet until he happens upon another hot streak, then we’re destined to be more disappointed than he is.

Or maybe you thought Ricky Rubio would run circles around the Lakers inept point guards? Well, they tried to trap him and he found the open man. He even got out in transition and manufactured a few more easy buckets. But he also found himself in a painfully familiar position; capable of creating for everyone except himself. After a series of impressive performances before the break, fatigue seems to have taken over and our young man is now in quite the slump. Tentative and aimless, Ricky is back to shooting as a last resort. Gasol & Bynum’s length definitely didn’t help matters, blocking two of the few clear looks he happened upon, leading to a 1-8 performance on the night and a ghastly 9-39 in his last four games.

Unfortunately, this apparently is a situation we can only hope Rubio shoots himself out of. He certainly can’t overhaul his game in the midst of this hectic schedule with no practices, and abstaining from shooting will only make things easier for the opposition. We just have to play the percentages. Those numbers will creep back up and they’ll probably plummet a few more times too. But hey, these things happen.

The Wolves were without their best player and soundly beaten by the better team. There honestly isn’t much else to say about tonight other than get well soon, Kevin.


Share this because Rubio would pass this along:
Tagged , , ,

0 thoughts on “Lakers 104, Wolves 85: Shaken, not stirred

  1. I think all this publicity is to Kobe’s liking THAT is part of why he does it. It is a bit overblown. Soldiers are out fighting hurt all the time and don’t hardly get recognition for it individually.

  2. What? Why are you knocking Derrick’s performance in this last game? He shot 4-8, including 2-4 from 3 for 10 points. I’ll take 50% shooting every night, especially from 3.

  3. @Luke- That doesn’t seem to be what he was doing. He acknowledged that Williams had a helluva game against the Clippers, but it was unrealistic to expect him to do that again.

    The wolves got outplayed against a better team while their best player was out with an illness. It was an ugly game, and the wolves weren’t going to win, in part because Williams couldn’t match his ridiculous performance against LAC.

  4. No comments about Beasley? Why are the Wolves so willing to give up Beasley for not much in return? They attempted to trade him to the Lakers for a late first round pick… why? Are there a lot of 23 year old, 6’9″ players that can easily go off for 40 points in a game out there? Why is it that the Wolves have said, screw it, we MUST get rid of him. I don’t know if I can stress the importance of this enough: he is 23 years old. People tend to mature a bit more in their mid to late 20’s… Beasley can be one of those people… can’t he?

  5. RDB – I agree with you. Why even try and trade him if a team isnt willing to take a risk on a draft pick. His salary is very reasonable which makes him very trade friendly. Personally I think the Wolves try and resign him to a 3 year deal. He will come at a bargain price with his mental issues. He likes it here already and has a home. He very will may mature into one hell of a leader. The Wolves then have a great 6th man and plug in starter.

  6. Beas has scored 41 points in the last two games. He looked sharp, confident and decisive. Problem is, he scored 39 points in the five previous games combined. He looked aimless, aloof and dissatisfied. He was forcing shots and on multiple occasions failed to cross half court in defensive transition.

    I love Beas as a person and I like his skill set. But he’s not a leader and the longer look we get, the clearer it becomes that its very hard for him to change. This recent streak might be motivated by the trade talk, but honestly, how long do you expect it to last?

    Granted, he won’t command much on the open market and unless we find a suitable replacement, I’d like t hold on to him til this summer, but the thought of committing three more years to him makes me uneasy.

  7. Beasley’s contract is up after this season. Then his salary might not be so reasonable anymore. Sure he can go off for 40 but how often has he done that compared to how often he has isolated himself and kept chucking up bad shots in games? Why do you think Adelman uses him so sparingly? To get a 1st rounder for him would have been a steal. For the wolves to evolve as a team we can’t have all these “just need to mature a little” players on the roster, Beasley, Anthony Randolph, Wes Johnson, Darko Milicic. What has either of those four really contributed this season seen over all the games played? Very little actually. Neither is usually on the court much.

    We gave 2 2nd round picks for Beasley and at the time it looked like a steal. Now it doesn’t anymore. We can all see why the heat were willing to give him up that cheaply. He has no place on a team that is serious about getting better and winning.

  8. Minnesota championship contender in 2013-2014:
    1-Trade Beasley, Randolph & Ridnour for Ray Allen, Stiemsma & pick.
    2-Trade Wes Johnson & Ellignton for Mbah a Moute & Sanders.
    3-Sign Kirilenko to the full MLE in the FA starting at 5 million for four years.
    4-Sign Stiemsma long term for the least amount you can. 1M & some more if possible.
    5-Sign Ray Allen to the bi annual exception to keep the cap space low.
    6-Trade all the picks owned for future picks (if possible 1st picks) so you do not add salary as the aim of all this is to sign Harden in a MAX deal and Pek with the most afterwards.
    7-Review what would be more useful: amnesty Milicic, cut Webster & Miller (non guaranteed) or trade all for expiring contract & future picks.
    8-Offer James Harden a MAX and offer Pekovic the most you can after that in the next FA.
    Final team: Rubio-Barea…Harden-Allen-Lee…Williams-Mbah a Moute…Love- Kirilenko- Sanders…Pekovic-Stiemsma & future picks.
    A championship team in two years not bad at all. You have offense and defense all over the squad.

  9. Looks like JP is going to apply for Kahn’s job this summer. I don’t think either of trades 1 and 2 would happen because I don’t think celtics or bucks would be interested in taking over our failures.

Leave a Reply