The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Wolves put forth another valiant effort and the Spurs eked out another narrow victory in the game’s final minute.
Archives For Myles Brown
Blaming the refs usually is the last vestige of the clueless and a certain indicator of denial, but I have to say it. The Wolves was robbed. When Gary Neal kicks his leg out during follow through and clips Wesley Johnson, it shouldn’t be chalked up as a “rookie mistake” by Wes, but a bad call. It can’t be taken back, but it should at least be acknowledged.Right?
We all know that the NBA rule book is little more than a series of suggestions and those rules vary wildly dependent on the circumstance. Amongst others, there’s star calls, rookie calls and most notably last second calls (or non-calls). A rookie rewarded with three free throws after a desperate heave (on the road, no less) is unquestionably a deviation from the norm. Neal missed and the game should’ve essentially been over, along with San Antonio’s 11 game winning streak.
Instead, we got overtime and ten seconds into that, the Wolves was robbed again.
I can’t believe I’m even saying this given his play over the past few weeks-not to say anything of his play over the past several years-but if Darko Milicic doesn’t foul out of that game, Minnesota wins. Crazy, right? But don’t believe me, or your own lyin’ eyes, take it from a pro. I asked Greg Poppovich about Darko’s latest shocker postgame.
Surely this is a tired angle, but it’s true nonetheless.
If there was ever promise to be shown in a 17 point loss, last night our Wolves managed to do so against the Lakers. Moral victories may not appear in the standings, but they do provide the necessary motivation to push through a rough schedule and Kurt Rambis’ postgame comments spoke to as much.
“Well obviously that wasn’t the result that we wanted, but I thought our guys did a really good job for a vast majority of the ball game. We stuck to our game plan, we got the shots that we wanted, we just couldn’t make shots. And they’re a team that can take your defense-your good defense-and make a shot that can turn your defense into nothing.”
This is unquestionably true. Los Angeles not only features the virtuoso Kobe Bryant, but a cavalcade of talented postmen and dead eye shooters who all maintain the savvy and selflessness to compensate for the occasional off night from a teammate. That’s exactly what happened on this particular evening. Despite a debatable shot selection from Kobe and one of the poorer outings I’ve seen from Pau Gasol since donning the purple and gold, the Lakers still coasted through this matchup thanks to the heady play of their bench, particularly Matt Barnes.
While my partner was gathering details on the resurgence of SuperCoolBeas from Wolves assistant coaches, I spent a few minutes with the man himself. I’ve done my fair share of interviews over the past few years and Beas’ playful candor is as refreshing as anyone I’ve encountered…
You’re obviously scoring in bunches lately. Last year you played one the league’s slowest paces with Miami and now you’re a part of the league’s fastest pace here in Minnesota. Is this tempo more suitable for you?
I’m just playing my game. Everybody keeps asking me where this is coming from, where I’m getting this boost. It’s just me. It ‘aint nothing new. I’ve been doing this my whole life.
There’s been a lot of talk that your numbers are bound to drop and personally, I’m not so sure…
That’s what I’m saying. This is how I play basketball.
I’m trying to fight the good fight for you though.
I feel you, but everybody keeps talking about my recent play. Let’s talk about the Timberwolves and how we’re 3-2 over our last five games. Let’s talk about something that really means something. Whether I score or not is not as important as the team winning.
Photo by Merwinglittle dear
You guys been enjoying the playoffs? I know we sure have. The organ-displacing defense; the painful missed opportunities; the bloody faces; the staggering disappointments: yup. What else? Al Sharpton in a Spanish-language Steve Nash jersey? Red-faced, auto-tuned coaches rapping about intensity (or whatever)? Rajon Rondo emerging from his Walkabout an unguardable willow-limbed, fully flowered man? Lebron rendered googly-eyed and bewildered? Kobe summoning spirits? Amare playing D? We are transfixed. There’s so much more to say.
Here at A Wolf Among Wolves, we follow, curse, bitterly remember the Minnesota Timberwolves. These playoffs remind us Wolves lovers of two important things. The first is that NBA basketball can be played with a thick, feverish intensity that can be pretty hard to come by on your average February Wednesday at the Target Center. We can conjure the memories–Pharaoh Garnett’s maniac stare; Chris Webber’s sickeningly close Game 7 near buzzer-beater; the Sam Cassell testicle dance–but they’re getting fainter every day.
The second is about the narratives that we can’t resist spinning about the teams we can’t resist loving (especially we pundits–I mean, you’ve got to write about something, right?). These narratives are, at best, retrospective. At worst, they’re totally illusory. We thought we knew that Lebron was bound for glory; for years, we spoke about it with tones of inevitability. Remember when, some years ago, before a playoff game against the Pistons, Donyell Marshall went up to the boy King James (I mean, just look at that nickname! Seriously!) and whispered to him, “this is when you cement your legacy”? How quaint and naive does that seem today?
For us, when KG won the MVP, when Cassell and Professor Sprewell joined up, we thought that we were at the beginning of a long, lovely story. As it turned out, the most meaningful narrative was buried deep under all the (as it turned out) misplaced hope; the whole thing was already beginning to unravel. KG won his title, but with another team. He was recognized as the genius defender of his era, but only in retrospect. The Foye/McCants/Wittman era beckoned. Turns out (shocker) that nothing is pre-destined; these are just stories we tell ourselves. The game is subject to the same nonsensical, market-driven chaos as is real life.
On that note, welcome to A Wolf Among Wolves. In many ways, we Wolves followers are lucky. This team is still so unformed, so opaquely new, that we’re largely unburdened with these back-breaking narratives. We’re faced with none of the Dallas’s or Cleveland’s painful reckoning. We’re free of the Lakers’ crushing expectations. We’re able to look on as the small stories, the various styles and personalities weave together over time to hopefully form something of consequence. We don’t want to lie to you: this is not going to be easy or always pleasant. We just might have to sit through another 40-point loss to the Warriors. But you should join us anyway. We think it’s gonna be fun.