With apologies to Wallace Stevens.
A skeleton crew of wolves
— leaderless, bereft of energy, stripped raw
by the road — came back, but not home. Continue Reading…
Typically, when the Minnesota Timberwolves look like they’re going to get blown out in a game and I’m on recap duty, I start thinking of tangents and topics outside of basketball I can explore in my writing. There’s no real sense in figuring out why a bad team got destroyed by a good team. This is the nature of the business and while you hope to be competitive in match-ups like that, the talent often overrides the Disney story and nature versus nurture takes over. Heading into last night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, the Wolves were missing Ricky Rubio (ankle), Gary Neal (ankle), Nikola Pekovic (ankle), Kevin Garnett (knee), Anthony Bennett (ankle), Robbie Hummel (hand), and Shabazz Muhammad (hand).
The Spurs were at full strength and they’ve been clicking as of late. They had won six of their last seven games by a margin of nearly 16 points with their only loss happening in overtime thanks to Kyrie Irving’s 57 points. The Wolves hung tough with them in the first quarter and even kept it relatively close in the second quarter until a late push by San Antonio pushed the halftime deficit to double digits for Minnesota. When the third quarter opened, “hell broke Luce” (as Tom Waits would say) and the game was officially going the way of nature for the Spurs. Normally, I would have been gathering my thoughts about recent movies I had seen, like Foxcatcher or St. Vincent. Instead, I had basketball on my mind, which was surprising to me.
I had three thoughts kicking around in my head: Continue Reading…
“A legion of horribles, hundreds in number, half naked or clad in costumes attic or biblical or wardrobed out of a fevered dream with the skins of animals and silk finery and pieces of uniform still tracked with the blood of prior owners, coats of slain dragoons, frogged and braided cavalry jackets, one in a stovepipe hat and one with an umbrella and one in white stockings and a bloodstained wedding veil and some in headgear or cranefeathers or rawhide helmets that bore the horns of bull or buffalo and one in a pigeontailed coat worn backwards and otherwise naked and one in the armor of a Spanish conquistador, the breastplate and pauldrons deeply dented with old blows of mace or sabre done in another country by men whose very bones were dust and many with their braids spliced up with the hair of other beasts until they trailed upon the ground and their horses’ ears and tails worked with bits of brightly colored cloth and one whose horse’s whole head was painted crimson red and all the horsemen’s faces gaudy and grotesque with daubings like a company of mounted clowns, death hilarious, all howling in a barbarous tongue and riding down upon them like a horde from a hell more horrible yet than the brimstone land of Christian reckoning, screeching and yammering and clothed in smoke like those vaporous beings in regions beyond right knowing where the eye wanders and the lip jerks and drools.” —Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is a classic of Western literature, in spite of the fact that it is nearly plotless, concerned primarily with laying bare the bloodiest, most brutal parts of human nature as it follows a ragged band of twisted youths led by a maniacal judge through the American West. Although the story is constantly on the move, the scenery is never-changing — a panorama of viscera and scalps and burnt offerings laid down in alternately blunt and serrated prose. In spite of their outward similarities, though, no one is likely to remember this Wolves trip into the evening redness in the west as a classic. Continue Reading…
The Timberwolves and the Suns came into last night’s games in polar opposite situations.
Come summertime, the Wolves will be a team hoping luck is on their side come NBA draft lottery time. Their team hasn’t been healthy for quite some time, and the Kevin Garnett trade has helped change their defensive mindset a bit. And yet, while they’ll continue to compete, their fate is pretty set-in-stone.
The Suns are another story. They came into last night’s game with the knowledge that the Oklahoma City Thunder had fallen to the Clippers a few minutes prior to tip-off, an they knew this was a chance to close the 3-game gap for the final playoff spot.
When a team is 14-48 and playing out the string, digging for interesting angles to write about can become rather burdensome. Such is life for the Wolves’ scribe nowadays. The novelty of Kevin Garnett’s return has worn off. The always entertaining Shabazz Muhammad, who was in the middle of a breakout year, is done for the season. Gorgui Dieng has sort of plateaued lately. Gary Neal is playing pretty well, hoping to earn a nice contract this summer, but that topic doesn’t move the needle much. It’s always fun to dive into how Andrew Wiggins is playing, but that’s been done beautifully in many places already.
Thanks to the magic of NBAwowy, I was able to find something rather intriguing. (Note: I don’t know any of the people behind that website, nor am I being compensated to plug it. I just think it’s cool as hell, and a great tool for deep dives like this.) Because Ricky Rubio sat for 42 consecutive games, we’re able to split the season into a few different segments: 1) early season with Rubio, 2) Rubio’s absence, 3) Rubio’s return. During the times Ricky’s been available, he’s been the primary point guard, and when he wasn’t, it was Mo Williams. The common thread behind the two was Zach LaVine, who made a few spot starts, but has mostly served as a backup.
How has the offense functioned under the direction of each guy? Continue Reading…
Watching the parade of personal and technical fouls that characterized Monday night’s Wolves-Clips matchup got me thinking about one of my favorite Elliott Smith covers, “Jealous Guy.” At the beginning, Smith asks the crowd, in his uniquely timid way, if there are any whistlers in the crowd. “This is your big chance,” he says, “there’s a whistle solo.” Which is basically what a Clippers game is: a chance for referees to strut their stuff as whistle soloists, because hot damn, the games take forever and their high-pitched “tweeeeet” sounds are constantly in the background. Continue Reading…
For some reason, the 14-win Timberwolves have found a relatively strange level of success against the 41-win Portland Trail Blazers this season. They managed to beat the Blazers back in December amidst the flurry of injuries to Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, and Kevin Martin, ending what was a 6-game losing streak.
While injuries and losing streaks were also there for last night’s win over the Trail Blazers, the situation was different this time around. Rubio, Martin, and Pekovic are back and playing. Andrew Wiggins, who is still discovering what he is (really) good at, is further along in his development. Kevin Garnett is here now.
None of this is to say the Wolves came into the game projected as favorites, but it would explain the high level of confidence they displayed as early as the opening tipoff.
The Minnesota Timberwolves announced yesterday that they were awarded 7’0 center Justin Hamilton off of waivers from the New Orleans Pelicans. Hamilton played collegiately at Iowa State for one year before transferring to LSU before the 2011-12 season. He was selected in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, who promptly traded his draft rights to the Miami Heat. Hamilton spent his first professional season in Croatia and Latvia before he returned to the States to make an attempt at cracking the Heat roster. Continue Reading…
Q: Did you think Denver would come out with life and zip after the previous two days?
A: “No, to be honest, they quit on Brian Shaw and they’ll quit again. A quitter is a quitter. That was my take on that.”
– Kevin Garnett
This directed to whoever in listening range
Yo the whole state of things in the world bout to change
Your head is throbbin and I ain’t said shit yet
The Roots crew, the next movement, c’mon!
- The Roots
Clearly, Brian Shaw was the problem in Denver.
That’s tongue in cheek, of course, but it was interesting to see the Nuggets play so well on Wednesday night, mostly because they looked entirely different than the reanimated corpses that wore their uniforms for most of Brian Shaw’s tenure as coach. Shaw was fired on Tuesday morning, ending his, um, checkered tenure in the Mile High City. Between rapping scouting reports to his players (oy vey), routinely calling out his players (to no effect), and admitting that he was reading books on millenials to “try to connect with his players (*facepalm*), it was painfully obvious that a change was necessary. Continue Reading…
Think about the first song you shared with someone. And here’s what I don’t mean: The song that was perfect for the person you pined for or the song you share now with someone. No, I mean a song that was shared property between you and someone else and is no longer — a song that you couldn’t have been more sure meant the same thing to both of you.
Now think about how it probably didn’t. Continue Reading…