You knew I had to squeeze Thad Young in there somewhere
It’s no secret that the Timberwolves’ greatest pitfall this season has been what the kids call a SEGABABA (SEcond GAme of a BAck-to-BAck). Going into last night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers they were 1-5 in such games and had faced and summarily dismissed the Pistons in Detroit on Tuesday night. With Michael Carter Williams sidelined with a … knee infection (yeah, that’s the ticket) and a Sixers team that appeared to be largely made up of created players from NBA 2K14 (“James … Anderson? Sure. Hollis Thompson? Those sound like basketball player names.”), it seemed like this might be the game to start turning that trend around.
It’s time I let you in on a dirty little secret about the Minnesota Timberwolves: most nights, as a team, they are not very good at shooting the basketball. I know this might come as a bit of a shock, given the furious offensive pace in Tuesday night’s 121-94 shellacking of the Detroit Pistons. But it’s true, I promise; let me offer you a bit of proof. Below is their season-long shot chart, which features an awful lot of red (note: red=bad) for a team ranked 12th in points per 100 possessions:
It looks even worse when the Timberwolves’ shots are broken down by distance, in segments of five feet, as shown here:
Inside 5 feet
5 – 9 feet
10 – 14 feet
15 – 19 feet
20 – 24 feet
25 – 29 feet
To summarize the picture and the chart: the Timberwolves are fine near the basket, decent shooting from the left wing three (which is Kevin Love’s hot spot), and adequate at midrange jumpers (the one shot in the NBA most defenses are comfortable letting their opponents take, by the way). Everywhere else, it’s ugly. And yet, Minnesota has a good offense… It seems my proclamation from the opening sentence of this recap needs a caveat.
On most nights, the Timberwolves, as a team, are not very good at shooting the ball… unless the defenders line up neatly along the painted area, and refrain from hindering their shot in any way. Continue Reading…
The game between the Miami Heat and the Minnesota Timberwolves last night turned out to be a disaster on the court. We know the drill. Kevin Love missed the game due to the death of his grandmother (our thoughts are with the Love family during this time) and the Wolves tried to piece together an attack against the back-to-back champions that just happen to employ the best player in the world. James did his usual absurdity on the court with 21 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and 9-of-12 shooting from the field in just 31 minutes. He did have seven turnovers but he was probably just experimenting with certain passing plays during the game, knowing the outcome was already decided.
I didn’t have much to do after the game. The Heat locker room was packed. I watched them eat some kind of pasta dinner, saw Greg Oden try to squeeze through a small locker room, and found out that Chris Andersen allegedly has never paid a cent for his copious amounts of tattoos. I saw Lee Jenkins from Sports Illustrated talking to Shane Battier and got excited about whatever story he’s working on. I wasn’t going to go into the Wolves’ locker room. There’s no point after a game like that when they’re missing their best player.
At a certain point, I hightailed it to The Depot to grab a drink and a bite to eat with Myles Brown, our old friend. When I went home, The Crow was on TV and I started watching the final hour of the movie. In the big shootout scene towards the end, I noticed something ridiculous (you know… outside of the premise that a guitar player was murdered with his fiancé before a crow brings him back to life to avenge the wrong doings).
Check out the shootout scene and let me know if you notice anything strange:
Now, it’s a little hard to tell because of the cutaways but I’m fairly certain that The Crow fellow fires about 28 shots with those two guns. Your standard handgun will hold roughly 16 bullets. Some handguns can hold 20 shots but I’m guessing these lower level villains sitting at the table that don’t have credited character names are rolling with your run of the mill 9mm guns. Your standard six-shooter holds six bullets; that’s why they don’t call them eight-shooters or octo-guns.
When I watched that scene last night, I couldn’t believe how many shots this birdman fired with these two guns. Watching it happen, it just seemed to defy all logic and yet at the same time it made perfect sense. A murdered musician was back for blood and not even getting shot would stop him from getting his revenge. Neither would a seemingly finite amount of bullets in the two firearms he was unloading.
This movie is so weird to watch on a lot of levels. It’s a B-movie quality production in terms of the cast and execution of the acting. It’s really poorly done while the quality of the look and execution of the aesthetics is incredible. Knowing that Brandon Lee was accidentally killed in the process of filming this movie adds another eerie quality to the experience, even nearly 20 years after it came out. It’s odd thinking of the shoddiness of the movie knowing that in one of the flashback scenes filmed near the end of the production, Lee was accidentally killed on set by a gunshot wound.
Watching this movie after Saturday night’s loss, I kept thinking about how weird it is that movies like this just suspend certain levels of reality. I can buy into a guy being brought back to life by a crow. I’ve seen Dr. Doolittle before (that’s what happens, right?). I know it can happen. But watching/hearing the number of shots firing from those two pistols seemed both unnecessary and yet made sense at the exact same time. It made me feel a lot like what I had just seen in the Wolves’ loss to the Heat.
They shot 29.3% in that game. It’s unlikely you’ll beat a team when you shoot under 30% in a game. It’s happened four times since 1985-86, according to basketball-reference. Although one of those did come against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in 2003. The Wolves just started firing up shots. A lot of shots. Shots that didn’t really make any sense. Shots that seemed like they should be out of ammo and yet they kept slinging them. And when you’re without your best player against the best team in the world (I don’t care what the records are right now), maybe that’s what you have to do. You settle for chaos and home to come out of the rubble with your hand raised high.
It’s not a good strategy. And it’s certainly not the strategy the Wolves tried to employ. However, they took shots and missed them. Just keep firing; eventually you’ll take out the creepy mob guy and avenge your own demise.
Okay, it wasn’t actually the infamous smog of Mexico City creeping into the arena on Wednesday night – a faulty generator outside the building pumped smoke inside, causing an evacuation at around 7:30 PM. The Wolves and Spurs, set to play the first regular season game in Mexico since 1997, packed up and left the arena around an hour later, the game postponed to a later date.
It’s a strange and unfortunate event for the NBA, from a public relations perspective. Outgoing commissioner David Stern has made the international growth of the game a top priority throughout his tenure, and to have the first of this season’s two Global Games (the other is January 15th in London between the Hawks and Nets) smoked out (I’m terrible) must be a frustrating experience for all involved. Thankfully, there are no reports of injuries – but the fact that the Spurs and Wolves traveled all the way down to Mexico City, without the payoff of the game itself, must be a major disappointment for everyone who worked on the promotion and logistics of the event. Continue Reading…
Following the Wolves’ November 1st victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, our own Benjamin Polk asked Kevin Love about facilitating the offense from the elbow. In response, Love revealed one of the expectations that was placed on him coming into the season. In the matter-of-fact delivery that’s become his modus operandi in post-game interviews, Love said, ”Coach wants my assist numbers to be up.” Thus far in the 2013-14 campaign, the 25-year-old superstar has obliged.
Racking up assists at nearly double his career rate (4.1 per game this year, 2.1 per game overall), Love’s relishing the opportunity to play with the most talented roster he’s been a part of since he arrived in Minnesota. The Timberwolves boast the 12th-rated offense in the league (in terms of points per possession) and are 8th in the NBA in net differential; despite their brutal early season schedule and tough luck, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic in Minnesota – especially on the offensive end. Continue Reading…
Tickle Me Elmo can go kick rocks. I want a Kevin Durant for Christmas. How do you get one of those? Are they harder to find than a PS4 right now? Does anybody know where I can get a PS4 and a Kevin Durant right now?
I firmly believe Kevin Love is a star in this league and capable of leading a really good team deep into the playoffs. I’m not sure I believe he’s that guy on a true title contender, but Love is certainly good enough to get a team toward the end of the second round. Maybe if you get a road like the Memphis Grizzlies had last year, you could see Love getting a shot in the Western Conference finals in the future with a team like the Wolves have put around him. There are plenty of detractors when it comes to Love as a franchise piece. Personally, I think it’s crazy to look at what he does on a basketball court and say he isn’t a number one guy.
His skill set is sort of unmatched in the NBA. He has a unique blend of finesse and power in his game and we all know he allegedly does the most with the least. He can score inside, outside, midrange, and get his team easy buckets with his passing ability. He’s the top rebounder in the NBA. And the team is actually significantly better defensively with him on the floor this season than when he’s out of the game. Whether that’s by coincidence or production, I’m not sure we have enough evidence to say just quite yet.
However, there are number one players on a franchise team and then there is Kevin Durant. Continue Reading…
After Wednesday night’s 117-110 loss to the Denver Nuggets at home, Corey Brewer said, “We’ve got to get some kind of swag, or energy. I was in Denver last year, and we thought we were the greatest team ever, even when we weren’t. We need to get an identity. We don’t have an identity yet.”
An identity can be hard to come by for any individual, much less an individual player defined largely by the thirty or so minutes he spends playing a game a couple nights a week. Multiply this by the nine or ten guys that get regular minutes on an NBA roster and the struggle for an identity becomes exponentially tougher. It took the Heat — a nearly overwhelming collection of talent — a season and a half to figure out how to define themselves on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court.
For the Wolves, the greatest impediment to self-definition might be how long they’ve been working towards that identity. Continue Reading…
You probably need some cheering up, so here’s Ricky Rubio (in the Timberwolves’ sleek new v-neck shirsey) with a neckerchief, courtesy of Steve McPherson.
There are plenty of reasons why the Timberwolves lost to the Nuggets on Wednesday night. Denver scored 60 points in the paint, exploiting Minnesota’s questionable perimeter defense and lack of a rim-protecting big man to compensate for it. The Nuggets erupted for a 36-point second quarter, extending the halftime lead to nine (64-55), a difficult hole for any team to crawl out of. Ten (10!!!) different Denver players logged 18 minutes or more, keeping fresh legs on the court at all times, their capable bench unit outscoring the Wolves’ bench players 47-10. Minnesota’s assist-to-turnover ratio was 19-16. Shall I go on?
A loss causes fans, coaches, media members and players to look beyond the box score an into the realm of the abstract for explanations. Postgame, Rick Adelman repeatedly stressed his disappointment with the team’s effort, especially early in the game, and hinted that his players may not be handling their early-season success very well: “There’s been all this talk about what kind of team we can be. I don’t care what people talk about… we have done nothing.” Corey Brewer, candid as always, echoed his coach’s sentiments and elaborated on the mental state of the Timberwolves: “We’ve got to get some kind of swag, or energy. I was in Denver last year, and we thought we were the greatest team ever, even when we weren’t. We need to get an identity. We don’t have an identity yet.” Continue Reading…
I feel like every time I write about this matchup between the Wolves and Pacers, I end up with the same recap.
This is a terrible matchup for the Wolves. I don’t think they have too many bad match-ups at this point in the roster construction process. Put them against most any team in the league and I like their chances of remaining competitive. Throw the Thunder, Spurs, Clippers, and even the Heat at the Wolves and I think we’ll get a great showdown. This Wolves team can get out and create space for itself. They can play physical basketball that gets them to the free throw line and gets in the head of the other team, causing them to get even more space as to not get into foul trouble. I really do believe the Wolves can play with just about anybody.
They just can’t stick with this Indiana team for an entire 48 minutes, especially not now that the Pacers have a bench that can score and a wing that can take over. Continue Reading…
Zach already did a nice job of talking about the actual transaction between Minnesota and Sacramento that switched Derrick Williams for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and he included some info on the man we’ll all get used to calling LRMAM, but I thought I’d go a little more in-depth on him with some numbers. Continue Reading…