Archives For bad NBA defense

Photo by Ragingwire

We Wolves followers–especially the optimists like me–have become experts in one particular facet of the basketball fan’s craft: allowing ourselves to become heartened and encouraged with very little prodding (there’s a cynical, dark underside to this too, but that’s for another day). Kevin Love is a rebounding colossus? Michael Beasley is averaging 27 points/game over a six game span? Darko looks like a real NBA player? The Wolves almost beat the Spurs?! Let’s ignore the fact that the team is 4-13 (make that 4-14) and just, y’know, get excited!

But then there are games like Wednesday’s pedestrian 100-86 road loss to the Mavericks. These games remind you of the yawning gulf that separates our Pups from the top teams in the association, of the oceans of experience and talent between the Wolves and basic competitiveness. These pills are especially bitter because they often closely resemble this Dallas game in one particular respect: the Wolves never really seemed particularly awful and the Mavs were never overwhelmingly great (Dirk Nowitzki barely got out of bed), but at no time did you really feel that the Wolves had even a remote chance at winning.

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Photo by Laser Burners

In the past three years, the Wolves haven’t had many opportunities to win basketball games of any kind. Thrilling endings and clutch buzzer-beaters have mostly been some enviable luxury, like when the rich kids at school used to show off their Girbauds and Valterra skateboards. My memory of potential game-winning shots includes: Randy Foye getting a three blocked by Dwyane Wade; lots of hurried, un-lovely, poorly executed plays; Damian Wilkins’ blind luck.

In any case, it’s been a really long time since we’ve seen any T-Wolf with the ability to do what Michael Beasley did in the Timberwolves’ Wednesday night 113-111 win against the Clippers. There he was, with the game tied and time running down, isolated against Ryan Gomes at the top of the key. He took two hard dribbles to his right, pulled up at the elbow, elevated over the double-team and hit the game winner. For the past week at least, and for the first time in years, the Wolves have had somebody who can salvage a bucket when the offense fails to produce an open look (which is often), who can create for himself when the wheels fall off the machine, who actually can hit a game-winner over a double-team. Its a strange feeling.

And it’s a good thing, too, because the Wolves went to extraordinary lengths to lose this game. Their previous seven possessions had been a carnival of horrors: hurried execution, careless passes, poorly chosen jumpers, missed layups. Only Corey Brewer’s utterly ridiculous flailing bank-shot to tie the game at 111 with 1:14 remaining salvaged this hideous stretch of play. The shot was vintage Brewer in that it was almost more troubling than heartening. It had no conceivable reason to go in the basket; it was a sign of an offense entirely out-of-sync.

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