Coming home after a long trip can be a bit disenchanting. The milk has spoiled and you can’t remember where you put anything. There’s nothing waiting for you but familiarity and more responsibility. Looking back on the luxuries of either friends and family or maids and anonymity, you almost have to ask yourself why you were in such a rush to get back.
That is unless home holds 20,000 people.
It’s been ages since our last gathering at Target Center and with the bitter taste of defeat by OKC still lingering, all our boys needed was some encouragement from another sellout crowd to get back on track. The shot clock didn’t work, Kevin got kneed in the Love and it was almost too nice a day to even be inside. But we weren’t in any rush to leave.
|Wesley Johnson, SG 18 MIN | 2-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -5Sometimes he has it, most times he doesn’t. Add this game onto the second pile. Wes Johnson’s inefficiency isn’t that of an agenda driven superstar; he’s hardly a selfish guy and has a respectable a shot selection. He just can’t make shots. Every three pointer he hoists that misses the mark is met with the same incredulity we share with friends. You’d think more of them would go in, if only on accident.|
|Derrick Williams, F 18 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS | 0Foul trouble kept our young man out of the action early and things sorted themselves out rather quickly in his absence. What we did see in his brief appearances were more shallow exploration of the perimeter coupled with an encouraging eye for the open man. Derrick fed cutters well and when he did put the ball on the floor, moved the ball quickly to shooters once the defense collapsed. This could’ve been a good opportunity for him to sneak some much needed practice in, but it’s good to know he’s still growing.|
|Kevin Love, PF 44 MIN | 11-19 FG | 7-7 FT | 21 REB | 4 AST | 30 PTS | +25The first player to follow a 50+ point performance with a 30/20 output since Moses Malone. It’s astounding how quickly Kevin Love has taken us from skeptical to unsurprised. Aside from a put back dunk, there was no flash or flair, just the standard fare of spot up shooting and hard nosed post play. At this point, the only complaint we can muster is that the boy refuses to wear a cup. If we’re ever going to witness another generation of Loves in this league, Kevin is going to have to protect himself.|
|Luke Ridnour, PG 36 MIN | 9-14 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 25 PTS | +11Luke seems to excel because he knows his role and more importantly, knows his limitations. There are no reckless forays to the rim, no flashy passes or even the occasional heat check. Just jumper after jumper after jumper. Spotting up, curling off of screens and so many pull ups in transition, which he does as well as anyone. That put the onus on Ty Lawson to pressure him and Luke consistently took advantage by driving and feeding the open man. For a team in desperate need of perimeter scorers, it was comforting to see Luke take advantage of the little guy.|
|Martell Webster, SF 26 MIN | 4-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +8Again, we don’t want to be too hard on a guy who clearly wants to contribute, but Martell’s game is becoming a case study in insecurity and indecisiveness. He can’t make the open jumper, so he drives. He can’t finish his drives, so he sulks back to the perimeter. He always appears to be looking for a rhythm and in this contest it led to a smattering blocked shots, missed layups and ill advised passes. Where is the line between never giving up and forcing the issue?|
|Anthony Tolliver, PF 34 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | +9Just a dependable guy, that Anthony Tolliver. Respectable spot up shooting, excellent help defense, complimentary board work and timely passing. With enough notice, he’d probably pick you up at the airport afterwards too.|
|Wayne Ellington, G 28 MIN | 7-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS | +10If Wayne was just a little bit taller, he could be a baller. His comfort and form shooting off the catch or the bounce are reminiscent of Ray Allen. However his size, speed and strength are not. With little chance to get to the rim or stop a bigger guard, there’s not going to be many opportunities for him even when he’s making shots. But hell, if JJ Barea can find a home in this league, we should applaud Wayne’s every effort to prove his worth.|
|Michael Beasley, SF 22 MIN | 5-15 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +14The nonchalance with which Beas fired up his first shot-a made three after an offensive rebound-would lead you to think he was too cool to care. Used sparingly off the bench, chewing on his mouthpiece as he sauntered back upcourt, there was the thought that he’s already checked out this season. But the bare box score belies his effort this evening. Beasley missed shots, but not of the expected variety. He didn’t stop the ball, just positioned himself well and took advantage of opportunities in the post, transition and off of pick and rolls. Maybe he’s just accepted his role? Maybe his bum toe forced him to move sparingly? Who knows. But considering he could’ve sat this one out, twas an admirable showing.|
|Malcolm Lee, G 14 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 2 PTS | +13*shrugs* Welcome to the NBA, kid.|