Well, if anything, the Wolves have kicked it up a notch in
the entertainment category over the past few nights. The Washington
and New Orleans
games were brutal to watch, but these last two games have been a bit more
enjoyable. They’ve been sloppy, but
watching this team has seemed like somewhat less of a chore during this past week.
Unfortunately, though, the last two games have only been
enjoyable up until the final minutes.
Then, as we’ve grown accustomed to, things have fallen apart for the Wolves.
the game was lost in the final two minutes- and when things went downhill, they
went downhill fast. Missed jumper by McCants, five second
violation on an inbound, missed hook shot by Al, and it was all over. Give Denver
credit…while the Wolves have had some outright late-game collapses, I’m not
sure this can be categorized a "meltdown."
Sure, the Wolves missed several opportunities down the stretch to steal
a win from the Nugs, but more than anything, this game was lost because Denver did a great job of
taking advantage of our crunch time mishaps.
They gave us no room for error in the final two minutes.
A couple of bright spots: First, Antoine Walker. Admittedly, I jumped on the "Antoine sucks"
bandwagon earlier in the season, but he’s really come on strong in the last
four games. The only thing that’s been
missing is the shimmy…c’mon ‘Toine, when you gonna bust out the shimmy for the Minnesota crowd?
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When he’s stepping behind the arc, Antoine’s been doing a
nice job of getting his feet set and not shooting a flat shot. First few games, he was shooting too many
off-balance threes, and there was very little arc on his shot.
I’ve also noticed that he’s making some things happen on the
interior. He’s still parking himself on
the perimeter a little too much for my liking, but he’s been driving, getting
some tip-ins, and grabbing a few boards as of late. There’s very little not to like about his
recent play…needless to say, I’ll be giving him a few All Star votes today.
It was also good to see Gomsey coming on strong in tonight’s
game. He’s been a nonfactor in the
offense over the past two weeks, but he delivered 18 points on 7-13
shooting…and in 24 minutes, no less.
I was left scratching my head after seeing the foul
disparity- the Wolves were called for 31 fouls, while Denver was only whistled for 20. That margin surprised me…perhaps the Wolves
played a bit more aggressively on D than the Nugs did, but I have no idea how
we ended up with 11 more fouls than Denver.
Turnovers continue to plague the Wolves…it’s hard to win games
when you cough up the ball 21 times, as they did tonight. I’m continuing to see an unusually high amount
of traveling calls, some poor passes courtesy of Sebastian Telfair and Marko
Jaric (among others), and an abundance of (for lack of a better term) stupid plays.
Take, for instance, Gerald Green dribbling right into a corner when
he was bringing the ball down the court.
Ugh! And how about that stretch
where the Nuggets stole an inbound pass following a basket, and nearly stole
the next inbound pass? The Wolves seem
to go through stretches where they play dumb basketball…and that was
certainly the case tonight, as the swarming defense of the Nuggets and the
careless play of the Wolves culminated in way too many missed opportunities for
our squad. This team just isn’t playing
smart basketball…they’re gonna have to start taking better care of the ball
before they can start winning a few games.
Rashad McCants’ performance was tougher to watch than the "2
girls 1 cup" video (if you’ve never seen that video, consider yourself
lucky…very lucky). His jumper was
off-target from start to finish, and strangely, he kept on firing jumpers
rather than penetrating and trying to create an easy shot. It made no sense for Rashad to keep taking jumper
after jumper- he needed to use his athleticism to get an easy bucket, and try
to get into a rhythm that way. Don’t
keep throwing up 20-footers when they just aren’t falling.
Can someone please explain to me why Mark Madsen was
starting? Because I have no clue of what
Wittman was thinking. More idiocy from
the coach: Brewer played two minutes, and Craig Smith had 16 minutes. That’s just inexcusable.
Finally, it’s good to see Gerald Green working his way into
Wittman’s rotation. It was the absolute wrong decision to
keep him on the bench as long as Witt did…players don’t improve when they’re a
DNP night after night. They just
don’t. Players improve when they’re given an
opportunity to play, make mistakes, and gain regular season experience.
Green didn’t play well against Denver, but at least he played. Of course, with the inexplicably short leash
Witt’s been keeping him on, I wonder how long Green will keep his spot in the