Archives For THN-PHX

Let’s recap the past two games.

Jason Smith had 26 points on 16 shots against the Wolves a couple days ago. They lost to a tanking New Orleans team on the road. Monday night, Markieff Morris had 21 points on 15 shots off the bench. The Suns beat the Wolves IN MINNEAPOLIS by 24 points. There are so many problems with this that I don’t really know where to begin.

The problem is there is no beginning to figuring this out because I don’t really know if there is a point. The Wolves no longer care. They can claim that they care and provide all of the lip service a fan could ever dream of. They talk about coming together as a team and playing for pride and blah blah blah.

None of it really matters. If it matters, this team wouldn’t have lost six straight games the way it did. I don’t even care that they lost six in a row. On some level, I absolutely care because they were in the playoff hunt with a favorable upcoming schedule and managed to throw guano all over the situation. But losing streaks happen to young teams all the time. You can get over that.

What you can’t get over immediately is the way they lost them.  Continue Reading…

On Monday, we wondered aloud about the consequences of losing Ricky Rubio for the season. We suggested that Rubio’s defensive skills–his “ability to create turnovers, disrupt the pick-and-roll game and conjure frenzied defensive energy”–might be even more keenly missed than his mystic passing. And, gracious, did that ever prove to be the case against the Suns.

Since the great Garnett-Stoudemire clashes of the mid-aughts, the Suns have had a knack for drawing the Wolves’ defense into a state of shambolic chaos. In those days, the looming nightmare was the choice between stopping Stoudemire’s rim assaults and staying home on Phoenix’s shooters. On Monday night, Suns’ big men Robin Lopez, Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris attempted only 19 shots between the three of them. But this had less to do with any concerted effort on the Wolves’ part and more to do with the fact that their perimeter defense was so unmercifully rotten that the Suns’ guards had little reason to ever dump the ball inside.

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Of course it is ridiculously unfair that the Timberwolves were playing their third game in three nights while the Suns had been reading romance novels and drinking margaritas by the pool (probably) for the past week.  But such is the absurdity of this lockout-contaminated NBA schedule. What you cannot control you must accept: good people get sick; the world rewards the ruthless and craven. Think about it like that and playing lots of basketball suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, does it?

Basketball playing humans have an extraordinary capacity to focus their mental energies and play through fatigue, and on this score the Wolves played pretty admirably. But all the grit and willpower in the world won’t make your jumper fall when your legs turn to jelly. The Wolves’ shooting is mercurial under the best of circumstances; on a night like tonight, it didn’t really seem like the ball had a prayer of going in the basket.

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