Mavericks 98, Wolves 75: Crowdsourcing Distractions
Have you ever noticed Rick Carlisle looks a lot like Jim Carrey?
Have you ever noticed Dirk Nowitzki looks a lot like Barry Pepper?
Have you ever noticed that Rajon Rondo “look like that Turtle Name Franklin on Nick Jr?”
These are distractions.
I’ve kept my spirits pretty high throughout all of the losing this season. I guess I try to look at the big picture, look for bright spots in the development of Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad (when he’s healthy). This is a beautiful game to watch, and it’s important to keep all of it in perspective. But this one got to me – Dallas is an incredible team, and sometimes it didn’t even look like the two squads were trained to play the same sport.
The Mavericks’ crisp, decisive passing, intelligent, swarming defense and outstanding three point shooting overpowered the Wolves in every phase of the game. Sure, Andrew Wiggins was alright. Thad had a decent stat line, if you ignore the fact that he had more shots than points for the 10th time in his past 17 games and has 10 total free throws in his past 8 contests. Oh, Nikola Pekovic played! He had 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting with 4 rebounds in 22 minutes, mostly with the second unit. That was… encouraging, I guess. I don’t know.
Dallas is awesome. Their starting five fits together so perfectly it almost isn’t fair – Monta Ellis’ shot creation helps atone for Rajon Rondo’s poor jump shooting, and Rondo’s defense covers up Ellis’ warts on that end. Tyson Chandler does all the little things Dirk Nowitzki doesn’t do and Dirk does all the superstar things Chandler could never do. And Chandler Parsons floats around all of it, ready to cut to the basket or catch and shoot threes. They’re a freaking juggernaut. It wasn’t even a ballgame after the middle of the second quarter.
Unwilling to dive much further into the nuts and bolts of this rather ugly, forgettable game (from the Wolves’ perspective, anyway), and having quickly run out of good doppelgangers from either team, I took to Twitter to crowdsource distraction topics for the recap. I will now discuss them one by one, in the order I received them. A sincere thank you to all who participated.
Without further ado:
@BreakTheHuddle analyze the exact difference Rubio makes in the line up
— Jon McGurran (@Prodeji) January 22, 2015
I want to believe that competent point guard play for 48 minutes (33-36 of Rubio, 12-18 of Mo with those two sharing the court for short spurts) would do wonders for this team on both ends of the floor, because holy shit, you guys, Zach LaVine is not very good right now. Any success he is having is because God bestowed upon the young man a soft jumper and nice hops – he really doesn’t know what the hell he is doing as a point guard. The offense is ugly, the defense is porous, and when Mo Williams is playing 35 minutes per night and is dominating the ball (which isn’t a criticism, he does so out of necessity), you’re screwed. Screwed, I say. Like, 5-and-31-since-Rubio-got-injured level screwed.
@BreakTheHuddle Chandler Parsons' natural beauty
— Yung Kurt Rambis (@IllegalScreens) January 22, 2015
He’s a gorgeous man, but he’s got a really, really flat jump shot. It’s bizarre. There’s no arc on the damn thing. It’s effective, but aesthetically it’s a trainwreck. For that, overall, I give him a 5.5 out of 10. I’d probably swipe left on him, to be honest.
@BreakTheHuddle Randy Moss' repeated torchings of the Cowboys
— Adam Reisinger (@AdamReisinger) January 22, 2015
In seven career games versus the Cowboys, Randy Moss scored 10 total touchdowns. The only two teams he scored more often against were the Bills and Packers, and his 95 yards per game versus Dallas was his highest career mark versus any NFL franchise. He also never lost to the ‘Boys. Not once.
@BreakTheHuddle 90s cartoons
— Zikachu (@TlMBERWOLVES) January 22, 2015
The definitive ranking of 90’s cartoons, according to your favorite Timberwolves blogger (me):
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
2. Darkwing Duck
3. Duck Tales
4. Tale Spin
6. Sonic the Hedgehog
7. Hey Arnold
— Boosh (@HoopsBoosh) January 22, 2015
You may notice Pokemon was not on my list of cartoons above; truth be told, I never watched it, played it, collected the cards or anything. It’s a total mystery to me. I mentioned this to fellow A Wolf Among Wolves blogger Tim Faklis after the game, and this is the conversation we had:
Me: “I’ve never had anything to do with it. Were you into Pokemon as a kid?
Tim: “Oh, yeah.”
Me: “Like, the cards? The show?”
Tim: “No, the games! There were different kids of games, different colors, I used to play it on my GameBoy when I was a kid, and I was really into it for a year, but then I lost interest…”
Tim: “Until college!” (Laughter) “Then I got the game back out and beat it again! But you don’t have to type that up and put it in your recap or anything.”
@BreakTheHuddle "Who's gonna win the Barea vs Love post-Wolves Success-off?"
— Shaun K (@shaunk3000) January 22, 2015
J.J. Barea is married to Zuleyka Rivera, otherwise known as Ms. Universe 2006. Sort of seems like that automatically makes him the winner, doesn’t it?
@BreakTheHuddle my distaste for gerbils that can write
— maggaggie (@88mugsy88) January 22, 2015
I have no idea what Maggie talking about, as I would never refer to any of my distinguished fellow media members in such a derogatory manner. On a completely unrelated note, Flip Saunders was pretty perturbed pregame about insinuations local newspaper columnist Jim Souhan made in a recent blog post. Souhan said the following of the injured Rubio:
Flip’s response was pretty strong:
@BreakTheHuddle Why a team is fullcourt pressing up 22
— Greg Kerkvliet (@gjkerkvliet) January 22, 2015
The Mavericks were completely unrelenting in this game, pressuring inbounds passes and making Mo Williams work hard to get the ball up the floor even when Dallas was up more than 20 points. As a result, the Wolves weren’t getting into their offensive sets until 14, 12 or even 10 seconds were left on the shot clock, hence the 75 points, which are a new season low.
@BreakTheHuddle Recap injures Wolves’ suit game performance through the first half of the year. Longform.
— Tim Faklis (@timfaklis) January 22, 2015
At just about every home game I attend, I rank the injured Timberwolves’ players based on how strong their suit game happens to be that evening. A somewhat official tally:
1. Ricky Rubio (8-time winner, average rank: 1)
The man really knows how to dress – his sweater vest combinations are exquisite, and his jackets have got to be tailored. The only problem I have with his wardrobe is that he sometimes wears these bizarre European-cut capri pants that make it look like a damn flood is on the way.
2. Nikola Pekovic (average rank: 2.6)
Looks like the scariest / most badass club bouncer or evil henchman who has ever lived.
3. Maurice Williams (average rank: 2.75)
He’s a savvy, classy veteran and often dresses like it, though he’s made some questionable decisions with jeans (Mo, man, acid wash is old news).
4. Ronny Turiaf (average rank: 3.0)
I miss him.
5. Shabazz Muhammad (average rank: 3.3)
Oh, Bazzy. An ill-fitting jacket slung over a t-shirt? You can do better than that. Let’s see some of that famous on-court energy and effort devoted to your suit game, shall we?
@BreakTheHuddle Air pressure of various sports balls
— timberpups.com (@timberpupsblog) January 22, 2015
Flip Saunders opened his postgame press conference with a half-hearted joke about “playing with deflated balls,” a reference to the current NFL debacle involving the New England Patriots. It is my working theory that Flip Saunders is everyone’s kind-hearted, corny dad, and this topical joke merely reinforced that thinking.
Anyway, the air pressures of various sports balls:
Football: 12.5 to 13.5 PSI
Soccer: 8.5 to 15.5 PSI
Basketball: 8 PSI
Volleyball: 4-5 PSI
Baseball: None, a baseball is made of cork, rubber, yarn and horsehide and weighs 5 to 5.25 oz
Hockey Puck: None, a hockey puck is made of volcanized black rubber and weighs 6 oz
— Ben Schleuss (@BenSchleuss) January 22, 2015
The 2nd overall pick of the 1993 NBA Draft, Shawn Bradley averaged 8 points, 6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 833 career games with the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Dallas Mavericks and the Looney Tunes squad in Space Jam. Since retiring from the league in 2005, Bradley has returned to his native Utah and become a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. In 2010, he was narrowly defeated by Tom Cosgrove for a seat in Utah’s 44th House district.
@BreakTheHuddle The steps a parent can take to avoid a babynapping.
— Kacy (@KacyNoel) January 22, 2015
A little bit of context – there was an adorable baby girl sitting near press row with big cheeks, big eyes and the cutest little Ricky Rubio jersey on, and as soon as I saw her, I tweeted that I wanted to steal her. I didn’t, though. As far as steps to take to avoid a babynapping… vigilance? Is there more to it than that?
— Olly (@OllyNoonan) January 22, 2015
As I understand it, Weet-Bix is some kind of magical Australian potion made from ground koala bones and dried kangaroo tears that grants eternal life to whoever consumes it.
@BreakTheHuddle Give us an update on your hip-hop education.
— Mark Snyder (@snyde043) January 22, 2015
My final (and favorite) suggestion of the night comes from Mr. Snyder. Recently, I realized that I had never listened to much hip hop and figured I ought to change that, so I’ve been crowdsourcing (it’s becoming a habit, I guess) suggestions from my Twitter followers for recommendations on what to listen to. So far, I’ve really enjoyed Nas (Illmatic), Black Star, Kanye (College Dropout and Late Registration), Kendrick Lamar (holy crap, Good Kid Maad City is amazing), Mos Def, the Fugees and A Tribe Called Quest. I have yet to explore the Minnesota hip-hop scene, but it’s the next thing on my to-do list.
Oh, before I go, I thought of one other doppelganger:
Come back soon, you mythical creature, you.