Archives For Steve McPherson

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:

RubioFakePassLayupCeltics

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…

The NBA on ESPN promos centered around a cross-country RV tour with basketball players and commentators have always been great, but this one will warm Timberwolves fans’ hearts with the power of a thousand thermonuclear devices.

I don’t want Rubio’s basketball career to ever end, but when it does, he should go into acting. His line read on “That was close” is PERFECT.

Over the years, most Timberwolves fans have had their share of moral victories, and most have likely grown sick of them. If you’ve been a fan for more than this season, you know what I’m talking about: although the team loses, they keep it close, or maybe at least show some teeth somewhere in there. But any long-suffering fan is ready for moral victories to be replaced by actual ones, and now that the team is actually winning games they’re supposed to win and looking pretty damn strong — both on offense, where they’re second in pace, and defense, with the league’s sixth best defensive rating at 98.1 — maybe we can begin to accept that there are ways to be successful without necessarily winning, and not feel like we’re just trying to talk ourselves into it.

Last night’s close loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, which came down to three opportunities to score on the final possession and a Kevin Love tip-in that came up just short, showed us a lot. On a basic level, it reinforced something we already know: the Timberwolves bench is in trouble. But even this is interesting because the bench seems to be poorly understood by a lot of people. Almost by definition, your bench is going to be flawed in some ways — if the players there were closer to flawless, they’d likely be starting. Continue Reading…

J.J. Barea sat in front of his locker reading down a ripped box score sheet after the game. Nikola Pekovic leaned over to look at it and a member of the PR team walking by offered a crisp, freshly printed one to Pek. “I don’t need it,” he said, and returned to putting his socks on.

Barea looked at it another minute, then crumpled it up and threw it on the floor. Continue Reading…

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“One down!” bellowed Nikola Pekovic in the locker room after the game.

“Eighty-one to go,” replied Ronny Turiaf with a bit more reserve. Moments earlier, Shabazz Muhammad had inadvertently knocked a cup of Gatorade over next to Turiaf’s chair, and Turiaf had not been pleased. Gorgui Dieng had tried to calm the waters. “Come on,” he said. “It doesn’t matter. We won.” Continue Reading…