Archives For fatigue

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.

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On the surface, the Nuggets and the Wolves in their current state of frontcourt decimation seem to share a common profile. Both teams run radically simplified half-court offenses and generate many of their best looks off of opponents’ turnovers. Both teams rely heavily on the energy and wiles of their backcourts and depend on dribble penetration to create looks. Neither team shoots threes well; both teams require on heavy outputs of energy to play their game.

But two crucial differences make those commonalities merely superficial. The first is that while Denver is absurdly deep, rich with players who fit the profile of their team’s game, the Wolves are down to their last nine ragtag dudes, many of whom are not what you might call All-Star material. Its a lot easier to sprint up and down the floor when you know that a breather is right around the corner and that your team won’t be the worse off for it. The second is that the Wolves play that way by necessity, out of desperation, while the Nuggets do so by design. When you play with such simplicity, chaos and pace, you are in the Nuggets’ wheelhouse. And nobody does it better; if you get drawn into their game, particularly on their home floor, where the thin air seems to corrode your lungs and turn your legs into noodles, the Nugs will run you through the thresher.

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Henry Meynell Rheam

You tell me that the Wolves are playing without Kevin Love for the second time in as many games. You tell me that they are playing in Memphis against the Grizzlies, a circumstance under which our TW’s have, in recent years, struggled to appear even basically competitive. You tell me that they are playing for the seventh time in eleven nights and just one night after an exhausting home win. I will tell you, as I told the pretty lady sitting next to me on my couch just before tip off, that they will lose this game. And lose they did, after putting up their worst offensive showing of the year. We expected that this team would miss Love’s scoring and rebounding and, a day after painting over that deficit, they finally did.

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Photo by Tom Goskar

“No excuses;” this is the chant emanating from NBA locker rooms across the land. In some ways, this allergy to excuse-making is an admirable trait, a willingness to take responsibility for one’s own performance. But it also carries with it a whiff of noble self-aggrandizement, of wishing to be seen as piously professional, as virtuous and manly. Oftentimes too, this righteous self-reliance can descend into a kind of absurdity, leading folks to elide what are not excuses, but actual reasons for a team or individual’s performance. For instance: the Wolves put on a grisly show in Los Angeles on Monday because they were clearly fatigued from their brutal west coast road trip. This is not an excuse but a reason.

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