There are lots of reasons why the Timberwolves are a poor fourth quarter team, why they’ve lost ten times (worst in the NBA) after carrying a lead into the final frame. Those oft-mentioned ‘intangibles’ are part of the problem: maintaining composure and focus when things get wild; summoning the energy and determination to make the essential plays. An example of the former might be Ricky Rubio spinning wildly through the lane before lobbing the ball over Nikola Pekovic’s head and out of bounds with 3:18 remaining and the score tied at 93. Or Derrick Williams turning down a wide-open midrange jumper in order to mow down the perfectly positioned Carl Landry. An example of the latter might be, for instance, failing to defensive rebound a missed free throw down by two with 38 seconds left.
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I know that it seemed as if the Warriors only took control of this game with their commanding 19-2 second half run, that, until that point, the game was the Wolves’ to win. After all, didn’t the Wolves did boast a double-digit first half lead and play evenly until that rickety fourth quarter? But despite some nice bench play from the likes of Shved and Cunningham, the answer is: only sort of. The truth is, the Wolves never put together an extended stretch of truly competent play. Their offensive execution was painfully inconsistent and while they defended with effort, their defense was marked by some serious structural problems. As Zach told us yesterday, this is no time to panic. The return of this many important players at one time is bound to cause some awkwardness and disarray. But lets not sugarcoat things: this was a pretty bad game from our Wolves.
Ok, ok. We already know that these Wolves have been massacred by injury, have seen a season of beautiful renewal utterly incinerate itself, have been robbed by history of even a good reason to tank (see more on this below), are fielding a roster that I’m pretty sure would have a good shot at the D-League championship. Thank you lockout-compressed schedule, for all of the marvelous gifts you continue to give.
With all of these things being true, Wolves fans are faced with an all-too-familiar scenario. When the Wolves play really well, when they play with great energy, when unexpected players go off, when they hit their shots and play inspired D, they are very nearly (but not quite) capable of winning a game. When they play just ok, they have no chance and lose by double-digits. And when they play especially poorly, as they did tonight in Indianapolis…really, really terrible things start to happen.
I’m not the biggest video game nerd in the world, but I used to go nuts over playing Mega Man. There was something so captivating about a guy in a little blue, pixelated suit, trying to shoot Kix cereal at bad guys coming at you from right to left.
Maybe I was just a huge Running Man fan as a child because there was the Light Bright guy trying to saw the Terminator in half or something. I’m not quite sure what the allure was. But I had a really fun time jumping and shooting at attackers from all angles. When they had a sequel of Mega Man in which you could earn powers and become a guy wielding wind or fire or earth or the Temptations, it was hard for me to imagine having more fun playing a video game as a kid. They had taken such a simple concept and added options for attack.
Mega Man had so many weapons now and it was fun to experiment with them on different levels and see which ones got you through the battles on any given pixelated plane. It’s a lot like watching Kevin Love the last two seasons. Kevin Love is the Mega Man of the NBA. He’s unassuming from the outsider’s perspective. You wouldn’t expect the evolution of a stretch-4 to be looking at your right in the face when you see him. Continue Reading…
You’ve already heard the chatter that Don Nelson is meeting with David Kahn to discuss the Wolves’ coaching vacancy. We’re not sure if this is actually happening but we do know that, on Nellie’s end at least, his interest is no rumor. Here’s what he told Jerry Zgoda of the Strib:
“Really, throughout my career, what I’ve done is taken teams with bad records and with every situation I’ve made them better,” he said. “I like to be around young players. I’ve had great success with bad teams, getting them on the right track, getting them to max out. I have a great history there…There’s talent there. Maybe they just need to change the tempo and play a little faster there.”
For a moment, let’s put aside questions of whether or not the Wolves are built to play as fast as Kahn and Nellie evidently want them to. (Beckley Mason casts a seriously skeptical eye on the whole notion right here.) That isn’t even what really concerns me.
This year’s Golden State Warriors are no longer be the spectral vision of chaos that once troubled the sleep of the NBA’s elite. The days of Baron Davis, Captain Jack, 6’7″ centers, wantonly careless defense and constant, brazen shooting may be over. But this team, with their skinny, pale duo of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry can still cause deep panic in a defense, particularly one as inexperienced and undisciplined as our Wolves.