Archives For Steve McPherson

WolvesBench

After contributing a paltry five points — a total so low that MLA style would ask you to please write it out rather than use numerals — in Monday night’s difficult loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the Timberwolves’ bench came startlingly to life against the New Orleans Pelicans, pouring in 42 points with double-digit totals for J.J. Barea, Alexey Shved and Dante Cunningham. With media crushed around him after the game, Love praised the bench he had called out on Monday night.

“Nobody’s ever going to like [getting called out],” he said. “But it wasn’t me being down on them. It’s just me asking for more because we’re going to need them in 2014. What are we, 16-16 now? They’re going to have to help us if we want to win. It was just a challenge more than anything. I wasn’t mad at them, I wasn’t saying they were bad. It was just tough love and sometimes that’s the best way to do things.” Continue Reading…

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Coaching is a dark art. I’ve long been wary of judging coaches based on what we can see of their job: how they are on the bench, how they use their timeouts, what plays they call out of timeouts and in late-game situations, who they play when. There’s just so much of the job that we have no access to, and even the stuff we can see is difficult to parse in the same manner as the advanced analytics we’ve come to expect for players. There are no on/off numbers for coaches. A head coach creates an entire environment for a team and everything that occurs for a team occurs within that environment. A head coach is the old fish swimming by asking, “How’s the water?” and we’re all the fish asking, “What’s water?”

With that said, I’ve begun to doubt Rick Adelman. Continue Reading…

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This was a game that could best be described as a fever dream, a disorienting mix of lightheadedness, unreasonable giddiness and unmoored feelings of unease. In spite of all that, this is more or less the house where Wolves fans should reasonably expect to live. Most of the things that are supposed to happen did: a stuffed stat sheet from Kevin Love, Brobdingnagian numbers from the Brobdingnagian Nikola Pekovic, effective and efficient scoring from Kevin Martin. Oh and Ricky Rubio did this, stirring feelings of pure joy that don’t seem to happen as often as they once did with him:

828325051 Continue Reading…

This game had a lot of beautiful basketball. Midway through the third it erupted into play after play of move and countermove and this, honestly, should be what every basketball fan hopes the game can aspire to. Look at this layup by Kawhi Leonard:

KawhiLayup

LOOK AT IT! Continue Reading…

You knew I had to squeeze Thad Young in there somewhere

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.

Until the game started. 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…

Look! It's Chase playing D on Mbah a Moute!

Look! It’s Chase playing D on Mbah a Moute!

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…

Minnesota vs. Clippers

This was a weird game. It’s a well-worn cliché that basketball is a game of runs — that when one team falls behind by double digits suddenly, it’s just a matter of time before the other team scores a bunch of unanswered point. But this game pushed that to extremes. The Clippers opened up the game with a 12-0 run, which was probably the easiest one to see, but look at the game flow from ESPN’s box score.

GameFlow

The whole first half was just runs back and forth. Here I’ve highlighted Clippers’ runs in yellow and Wolves’ runs in light green (just because the colors used for each team were red and blue) and you can see that aside from about a minute and a half in the first quarter where the score went from 12-0 to 16-4, the game was seesawing back and forth precipitously. Yet at the end of the first, the score was 24-24 and at the end of the half it was 46-46. Continue Reading…

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Before we get started, look at this:

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LOOK AT IT. OK, cool.

I can make this pretty simple: This is a game the Wolves were supposed to win and they did, even though they weren’t terribly great at any point, really. Yes: The Celtics got as close as 5 points at the end of the second quarter after Avery Bradley sunk a 3-pointer at the buzzer shortly after Jordan Crawford sank one (because hey: if your last name is Crawford and you’re playing the Wolves you should probably go ahead and just fire up threes at the end of quarters). But it wasn’t really the full-on kind of swoon we’ve seen from the Wolves before and Minnesota put the hammer down in a 34-point third quarter. Continue Reading…

Our very own Zach Harper penned this thought-provoking, nuanced take on Kevin Love and where he is right now with the Timberwolves for TrueHoop’s new series of TrueCities features centered around different teams and their local stories. (See also Danny Nowell’s great read about Portland’s indie culture and how it relates to the Blazers.) But naturally — because this is sports we’re talking about here — the nuance got sucked out of the discussion the moment readers took to Twitter or the comment section to complain about Zach saying Love’s departure to the Lakers is inevitable. Continue Reading…