I’m going to keep this short, because Minneapolis has been hit hard by a damn blizzard and I have to get up in
six five damn hours to snowblow the driveway for a second time so I can make it to work tomorrow.
The Wolves lost to the Lakers. Kobe Bryant scored 38 points, knocked down 7 threes and 11 free throws, and hit some very big shots down the stretch. It is the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Sixteen, and I am still typing sentences like “Kobe Bryant scored 38 points, knocked down 7 threes and 11 free throws, and hit some very big shots down the stretch.” Amazing.
The game appeared headed for a blowout but since Byron Scott is Byron Scott he sat one of his best players because learning reasons or something and the Wolves got back in it. There was a time, when the Wolves were trailing by double digits in the middle of the second quarter, that I thought the recap was going to go the full-on crazy route. For instance, I had every intention of leading off with this tweet from our own Zach Harper and just getting weirder and weirder from there:
@ZacharyBD they’re lobbing grenades, we’re lobbing onions. They’re making soup. Umm this is getting away from me and I can’t stop TOWNS GOOD
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) February 3, 2016
After all, the Lakers have the second-worst offense in the NBA as measured by Offensive Rating (97.1 points per 100 possessions) and the very worst effective field goal percentage (45.8%, nearly two full points worse than the next closest team), and yet they scored 66 points on 56% shooting (including 38% from three) in the first half against the Wolves.
I was ready to get weird and completely mail this in, but then I watched this replay several times and realized how awesome it was. Ricky’s long bounce pass to Wiggins to end the first half was crazy town banana pants…
ricky to wiggy pic.twitter.com/lPnvOQuqjt
— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) February 3, 2016
And that inspired me to at least try a little. Ricky has that effect on my life. I wish he had the same effect on some of his teammates.
Anyhoo, a quick run at the start of the fourth trimmed the lead from 11 to 3 in just 3:05 of game time. The Wolves even took the lead for a brief moment, thanks to back-to-back Zach LaVine buckets, but that’s when Kobe decided to take over. He hit back-to-back threes, followed by a an airballed desperation fallaway jumper that didn’t have to be taken, but hey, two out of three wasn’t bad. It wasn’t like watching a young Kobe again, but it was a refreshing turn from the bricklaying we’ve seen so often over the past couple of years. 38 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists from an all-time great in his farewell season. I’m not a big Kobe fan, and I obviously pull for the Wolves, but it was still cool to watch. What did you think, Sam Mitchell?
“I hate him.” Sam Mitchell on Kobe Bryant
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 3, 2016
Like, check out this nice little moment between Andrew Wiggins and Kobe Bryant after Wiggy hit a turnaround jumper right in front of the Mamba:
Kobe’s face after this Wiggins fadeaway jumper is great pic.twitter.com/FwFEaXwu4J
— Rob Perezingis (@World_Wide_Wob) February 3, 2016
As Kobe said postgame:
Kobe told us on @TWCSportsNet that he told Wiggins he recognized the fadeaway J … Wiggins said he took it directly from Kobe. Kobe smiled.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 3, 2016
In summary, the Wolves dug a deep hole by playing like shit in the first half and couldn’t dig out of it. Much of the game was a massive bummer to watch, which is probably why so many of us on Twitter hit the bottle. It got fun at the end, but only if “watching an all-time great offer up a vintage performance” or “seeing a cool little moment between a 20-year veteran on his way out and a 20-year-old kid” trumps “watching the Wolves win.” If you’re more a fan of the latter, and are pissed at the loss, I hear you. God, the Wolves were awful. Wiggins was excellent, Towns was pretty good but didn’t get enough touches, and Ricky played with the same heart he always does, but beyond that…
Beyond that, it was one of the Wolves’ worst losses of the season, to a team they probably should’ve beaten, who had entered the game as losers of 10 straight. Whatever. Shrug. 50 down, 32 to go.