I have no idea if this is true or not (I’ll have to ask him about it the next time Phoenix comes to town), but my hypothesis is that a relative of Goran (and Zoran, I guess) Dragic was once attacked and killed by a timberwolf, which is the reason why he seems to bring a little extra every time he laces ‘em up against our poor Timberwolves basketball players. Over his past five games against Minnesota, the 28 year old Slovenia native is averaging 21 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists on 56% shooting. The Suns are 4-1 in those 5 games, and The Dragon is a big reason why. Continue Reading…
Down two points with 5.5 seconds to go, Thad Young rebounded a missed Isaiah Thomas free throw, pushed the ball up the floor, passed it to Chase Budinger, who darted diagonally across center court from left to right, ultimately finding Andrew Wiggins for a good look from the right wing with the clock winding down to zero.
It didn’t go in.
If you have been following the Wolves closely lately, you probably know how often Flip Saunders has repeated something to the effect of “Developing and seeing signs from the young players is nice, but it’s important to have positive reinforcement and win every once in awhile.” So while everyone was ready to talk about Andrew Wiggins’ terrific night – 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and several big plays down the stretch – Saunders was clearly frustrated with the loss, offering only measured praise for outstanding individual performances and commenting that he’ll spend time going over the events of the night, particularly the final 30 seconds, in his head. The loss stung him. Continue Reading…
I needed to wash away the stank the Chicago Bulls defense put on the Minnesota Timberwolves last night so I decided to check out the final moments of the Pacers-Wolves game from Friday night. There were a couple of hilarious things off to the side on George Hill’s step-back 3-pointer to tie the game and Chase Budinger’s game-winning layup.
First, let’s look at the 3-pointer by George Hill. To start out, let’s recognize how dirty this move by Hill is. He pulls the ball back between his legs to get Dante Cunningham off-balance, then starts moving forward again before he steps back about two feet to shoot a game-tying 3. That’s just unfair. Dante played that possession extremely well and still ended up looking bad. Somehow, George Hill’s ACLs remain intact too.
But something funny happened on the play. Check out the video and notice the spotlight of Lance Stephenson on the bench:
For some reason, Stephenson tripping over the feet of teammate Jeff Pendergraph and then seeing Frank Vogel look down on him, probably wondering what the hell he was doing on the ground just killed me. I’ve watched this sequence maybe 15 times today and can’t stop laughing about it.
Secondly, let’s look at the game-winning play by Andrei Kirilenko and Chase Budinger. The patience of AK47 was fantastic and the coincidentally heady play of Chase to crash the boards on an assumed shot, only to find himself wide-open for a pass was just fun to witness. Check out Hill’s reaction to the play in real time though. It’s not even over yet and he can’t believe what happened.
We all knew Gerald Green was hilariously asleep on the play and lost where Chase was. But I didn’t notice Hill wondering what the hell Green was doing before the game-winner had even left Chase’s hands. Again, watching this a bunch of times today left me laughing at the final moments of an awesome game.
I’m sure I wouldn’t be as entertained by it if the roles were reversed and the Wolves lost that game, but alas, we have the good fortune of getting to laugh about a great win for the team.
Now let’s never speak of the Bulls’ game again. Stupid Nate Robinson…
Ah yes, Gerald Green. I remember him. The stunningly talented, emotionally immoderate young wing the Wolves landed in the Kevin Garnett haul. The slam dunk champion at the exact moment of the contest’s baroque low-point. The totally vacant defender. The unconscionable gunner, preening and exultant after making a jumper and inconsolable after missing.
More recently, we found him willing the Pacers to victory over the Wolves this preseason, showering his former team with impossibly reclining fades and zero-angle turnarounds. Late October, the final minutes of blowouts, random chunks of early second-quarter: these are Gerald Green’s moments. So it was striking, and a striking testament to Indiana’s lack of backcourt depth, to see Green on the floor preparing to defend in the final seconds of Friday’s tie game. Striking also–but unsurprising to anyone familiar with the above antics–to see how egregiously he lost track of Chase Budinger on that last possession, allowing the Wolves’ guard to stroll unimpeded from the three-point line to the hoop, receive a pass from the well-guarded Andrei Kirilenko and softly lay the ball in as the horn sounded.
Despite much searching, I wasn’t able to catch Friday night’s preseason loss to the Pacers in Indiana, bringing to mind that old Buddhist paradox: if the Wolves lose in the preseason and I can’t watch it on TV, does it make a sound? Apparently it did, because our friends at 8 Points 9 Seconds have a nice little summary of the decisive action:
An early lead dwindled to 1 by the end of the 1st, then became a double digit deficit after Minnesota hung a 13-2 run on the Pacers to start the second. The teams went to the half with Minny up 11, but that was quickly erased as the Pacer starters (playing against the Minnesota bench) scored the first 10 points of the third.
The T-Wolves pushed it back to 6-to-8 points, and held that lead for the rest of the quarter, entering the 4th with a 7-point cushion. Trailing by 7 with just over 10 minutes left, a unit led by the backcourt of Ben Hansbrough and Gerald Green rattled of 19 straight points to give the Pacers the lead for good. Hansbrough, who finished the game with 10 points, collected 4 of his 7 assists during the 4-minute stretch, while Green scored 5 points and dished an assist. The big man tandem of Miles Plumlee and Jeff Pendergraph combined for 10 points and 4 rebounds, and fun was had by all.
Ah yes, the dreaded Hansbrough/Green/Plumlee/Pendergraph quartet. Here are some other things you should know:
Kevin Love played 12 minutes; Brandon Roy played 8 minutes; Big Pek played 12; JJ Barea played 16; Luke Ridnour, Andrei Kirilenko, Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert and George Hill did not play. Thus the decidedly D/Summer League flavor of the box score.
Derrick Williams did play, though. He played a lot: 38 minutes to be exact, scoring 25 points on 9 of 19 shooting. Here’s what Rick Adelman had to say about that (via the Star Tribune):
I thought [Williams] played pretty good…What I liked about him was he made two or three efforts. He’d go to the basket, they’d bother him and he’d go right up and get it. That’s good to see. … If he plays that hard all the time at both ends, that’s a completely different circumstance for him.
This is amazing news for the Wolves. An aggressive, efficient Derrick Williams could make the difference between the Wolves remaining an oddly formed curiosity and a legitimately threatening team. Keep doing this, please.
Look at the ridiculous stuff Gerald Green was doing to the Wolves. And it even looks like Shved was sticking him pretty hard on some of those. Man Pacers fans, get ready for an amazing ride.