I inexplicably forgot to TiVo last night’s game versus the Pistons. While it probably did a lot of good for my blood pressure, that mishap cost me the thrill of a double-overtime game, a fight, and a first-hand look at what is undoubtedly the biggest Wolves’ drama since Latrell Sprewell’s “Feed the Children” campaign.
I did however, managed to catch the ESPN.com video hightlights and a fair amount of articles covering the game. And from my entirely second-hand perspective here’s what I have to say about last night’s game:
1. Kevin Garnett is the man.
[ad2] Look, I don’t condone fighting, and had the KG/McDyess spat snowballed into a brawl, I’d be pretty upset. But since nothing happened other than a shove and a ball being thrown, I applaud Garnett for standing up for his teammate. This wasn’t his buddy Trenton Hassle, or his future Randy Foye getting elbowed by McDyess. This was Mark Madsen, a player who’s main contribution on most nights is waving a towel, cheering, and hustling for a few minutes. But no matter how small Mark’s role on the court is, or how completely different he and KG appear to be, Garnett, as this team’s leader was there to defend him.
This year, more than ever before, Garnett has really taken ownership of this team and been a true leader. I think that the impact of that is really shown by how this team has banded together. Everyone who’s on the floor seems to be happy and working towards the good of the team. And those who have bucked that trend, and will remain nameless in this article, have found their behinds firmly glued to the bench. Probably some of that credit should go to Coach Casey as well, but Garnett’s definitely in control of this team.
And as an added bonus, KG didn’t pull a Carmelo and scamper away like a little girl.
2. McDyess is one rung above Fransisco Elson on the Classless scale.
“I know they can win without me. I don’t think they can win without K.G.,” said McDyess, who appeared to start the angry tangle by knocking Mark Madsen over with a forearm shiver while they maneuvered for rebound position with 5:18 remaining in regulation and the score tied.
Garnett got mad and chucked the ball at McDyess, who charged at Garnett with his fist cocked. Garnett was poised to punch, too, and took a swipe at McDyess as he partially retreated, but teammates and officials stayed between the two and no blows were landed.
“Everyone in this locker room is behind Kevin Garnett 100 percent,” Madsen said.
Garnett had 14 points and tied a season high with 19 rebounds. He left the building without commenting.
McDyess? He claimed it wasn’t his fault and also complained that a fan yelled a racial slur at him as he left the court following the scrum.
“I never threw a punch or anything. I wanted to,” McDyess said, laughing.
“I know they can win without me. I don’t think they can win without K.G.”
Who says that? First of all, what does that say about you as a player? And second of all, are you saying that you intentionally tried to get the Wolves best player ejected so that your team could win a game? What does that say about your team? We know what it says about your character.
3. Ricky D had better pull it together.
Ricky Davis has been a major assett this season, but if the reports I’m hearing about a temper tantrum after being benched are true, he’s very close to having that status changed. This team was on a nice run, and Davis was a big part of that. But over the past few games, I’ve noticed a major change in this team’s attitude and focus. It definitely cost us a game vs. the Hawks, and it almost certainly burned us again last night. When the Wolves get their heads wrapped around basketball, this team excels. When off-the-court issues start to mount, they struggle. With Marko Jaric, Eddie Griffin, and now Ricky starting to cause some distractions, things aren’t looking so well for this team’s big road trip.
The Timberwolves certainly don’t have a playoff spot wrapped up at this point. I’d hate to see these types of stupid mistakes rob them of the post-season and send Garnett packing.
On a final note, props to Dwane Casey for going along with the whole “Ricky had to use the potty” line. Whether Ricky D actually decided to drop bombs on the commode rather than the court is something that we’ll never know. But if it was just an excuse to mask his hissy-fit, as I assume it was, Casey was very smart to go along with it. Davis is clearly this team’s most tradeable assett other than the seemingly untouchable KG and Randy Foye. If he continues to act up, it will be nice to have this incident covered-up, so his trade value doesn’t drop.