Archives For 2004 Western Conference Semifinals

Photo by Kris Krug

When we last left our early-millenial Wolves, their hearts had been broken in Los Angeles. It was now May of 2004, just over a year later and a whole lot has changed. Rasho, Kendall Gill, Rod Strickland and Anthony Peeler had all blessedly moved on, replaced by Sam Cassell, Professor Sprewell, Trenton Hassell and Ervin Johnson. Wally Szczerbiak and Troy Hudson had both missed significant portions of the season with injury. The team was still potent offensively, but with the addition of those veteran scorers their attack was craftier, more deliberate, and better balanced.

But the team’s real improvement was defensive, where they improved from 88 points allowed per 100 possessions in ’02/’03 to 84.2 the next year. Hassell’s manic on-ball D, Johnson’s stoic rim protection and even Spree’s boundless energy all had a galvanizing effect on the team’s defensive culture and particularly on their star. Because that year, KG was on a different plane of existence. He led the league in PER, win share and defensive rebound rate (he was third in overall rebound rate). Ron Artest was the official Defensive POY that season (please), but defensively KG was out of his effing mind. He was, rightfully, the league’s MVP. As a result of all of this, the Wolves had the league’s second best record (behind the Pacers of all teams–bet you’d forgotten that) with 58 wins and earned home-court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs.

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Finer Days

Benjamin Polk —  August 3, 2010 — 9 Comments

So it seems like we’ve hit a bit of a dead calm in this strange off-season. Seems like weeks since we’ve had any puzzling transactions, baffling public statements or furious rumors. In the spirit of turning our minds away from the flux and uncertainty at the heart our current T-Wolves, I thought I’d bring us all back to what is most likely the greatest moment in Wolves history (holler if you disagree):

Uh, wow, Kevin Garnett was unbelievably good. Anyone else remember that?

Also: with all apologies to Kevin McHale’s second-finest hour (the first, of course, being drafting Da Kid himself), that Wolves crew, KG excluded, was really not very good at all. Can you believe that a team that started Ervin Johnson, Trenton Hassell, and an already fading Spree even made it to the playoffs, much less game six of the conference finals? I know that Hassell iced Peja that series and that Spree hit some big shots, but still, that team had no business being as good as they were. Seriously, how freaking amazing was KG? He was at least this amazing:

Maybe even better.