To make the fifteen man cutoff for rosters at 5 pm ET on Monday, the Wolves were going to have to cut (or trade someone). Although Chase Budinger’s name had surfaced in trade rumors with Indiana and Cleveland, nothing concrete was likely to happen there prior to the deadline, so that essentially left the Wolves to decide between J.J. Barea, Glenn Robinson III and Robbie Hummel. Obviously, solidifying the fifteenth man on the roster is not exactly a major thing, but that it was Barea who was bought out does in fact say something about the direction of the team. Continue Reading…
Archives For Dallas Mavericks
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…
Here is Rick Adelman on the Wolves’ leaden, dispiriting loss to the Mavs:
We just didn’t have any energy. We had shot after shot and missed shot after shot. They ran a lot of people in in the first half. I know they were thinking we played last night and the travel. We just wore down…They are willing but we were a step behind and I think it’s physical and mental both.
Very little needs to be added to that assessment. There is, of course, the ongoing problem of the Wolves missing almost all of their best players and trotting out a threadbare crew of role players and D-Leaguers. Add to that the fact that they were playing the night after an exhausting loss in Denver, a very late flight and losing an hour of sleep…well it all adds up to some fatigued, uninspired basketball.
Its not that the Wolves were listless or lackadaisical in the first quarter of this game. They were playing hard, conscientiously attempting to execute their offense and make solid rotations on defense. No, the word to use might be “uninspired”: the offense was stagnant and uncreative; they were bricking jumpers; they were allowing the Mavericks open looks in the midrange and in transition. It was pretty mediocre.
But that all changed when Ricky Rubio and his aura of great, oceanic positive vibes entered the game. He threaded a one-handed bounce-pass to a cutting J.J. Barea. He dropped a stomach-churning hesitation move on Elton Brand and then calmly dealt the ball behind his back to Derrick Williams in the corner (who missed the wide-open corner three, but thats cool). He denied passing lanes, frantically dug at ballhandlers and fought around screens. In traffic, surrounded by Mavericks, he bounced a pass through his own legs, past an astonished Elton Brand to a diving Greg Stiemsma. The building was stunned, ecstatic, then stunned again.
Here we are — two peas in a pod.
Both the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves have been survivors through the first two weeks of the NBA season. We both lost our star power forwards for about a month to start the season. They’ve lost Shawn Marion after a hot start; we’ve lost Chase Budinger, JJ Barea, and parts of Brandon Roy after our hot start. This leads to the inquiry by some as to whether or not this basketball team or even Minnesota sports in general are cursed. Continue Reading…
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.