Musings of a Wolves Fan… (11/28/07)

T-Wolves -vs- Dallas Mavericks (11.28.07)




 I’ll probably just more or less jump right into this one since it was an away game.  I don’t really have too much to build up towards as an introduction.  I would like to add that DVR + Couch + Beverage makes for a pretty comfortable viewing experience. 

As some of you may know, the Mavs were coming off a three game losing streak and a loss at home to the Wizards last game.  Could the Wolves take advantage of this?  Did we catch them at the right time?  For anyone interested, the Wolves have not won two games in a row since February 14th of last year, after beating Boston and the Nuggets.  My guess in the forum discussion thread was that tonight would not be the night to start another such streak.  The Wolves played them close and mounted a spirited comeback after being down 20 points in the third quarter.  Did they have what it takes to knock of Dallas?

(Click "Read More…" for thoughts and analysis.)


–  I postulated that the Wolves would have more different starting lineups than wins this season.  Therefore, we shall continue the “Starting Lineup vs Wins” watch.  I don’t know if there is a website somewhere that actually keeps track of the number of different starting lineups used by any given team, but by my count we are at 7.  (If anyone knows of such a website, a post in the comments would be appreciated!)  Tonight’s lineup was Maddog, Gomes, Big Al, McCants, and Marko… which was the same as last game.  The “Wins-O-Meter” is currently at 2. 

–  Maddog starts off guarding Dirk Nowitzki?  Umm… shouldn’t they just give Dirk the ball every possession and let him embarrass the Dog?  For some reason they are not implementing said strategy.  I don’t get it.  The Dog can’t guard Dirk.  I guess we don’t really have anyone else to guard him if Big Al doesn’t.  Perhaps Gomes?  Maybe Walker potentially as well… who knows?

–  Good ol’ Rashad “Deadeye” McCants starts off by bricking two ill-advised and well defended jumpers.  However, he does get fouled on his third attempt and nails the basket.

–  Ryan Gomes hits a sweet “And-1” off-balance jumper and the free throw.  Maybe he’ll get back in the grove similar to which he started the first few games of the season.

–  I love the fact that Desagana Diop’s last name is pronounced “JOP.”  Haha, gets a chuckle every time.

–  They just showed a video clip of Big Al talking about guarding Dirk.  He said something to the effect that “it will be tough to guard Dirk, but he’s also gotta guard me too.”  Huh?  They haven’t guarded each other yet this game.  And they didn’t guard each other AT ALL the entire game.  What a weird clip to show.  Maybe it was about something else and I wasn’t paying attention, but I was too lazy to rewind the DVR at the time.  I’m pretty sure I know what I heard.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

–  First substitution of the game for the Wolves is Antoine Walker for Maddog with 5:10 to go in the first quarter.  (I throw stats like these in so that it may appear like I am actually writing an informative article.  Smoke and mirrors baby, smoke and mirrors.)

–  I will admit, Marko has become increasingly adept at driving to the hole and finishing at the rim so far this season.  What a sorely needed talent on this squad.  I’m not sure where it came from or what has prompted his turnaround, but he’s slowly starting to earn that massive contract.  Either he really truly cares about the team, or it’s because he’s dating Adriana Lima.  My guess is the latter.

–  Pete and Hanney said that Theo saw another doctor down in Texas on this road trip.  Apparently they are going to try rehabbing his knee rather than opting for surgery right off the bat.  The Theo Ratliff era sure was fun!   I’d say my pre-season over/under of the number of games Theo would play for the Wolves this season was pretty damn good.  I said 5.5 games in my Wolves/Celtics “Musings…” article back in October.  Theo has played 6 so far.  That could be his season total, as no one knows what is wrong with his knee and he may end up “kneeding” surgery.  Hahaha, I crack myself up.

–  Brandon Bass subs in for Dallas.  He was the SEC player of the year last season for LSU.  Good thing we didn’t draft him. He looks very Meastly.  Oh, and he’s got nice range too.

–  Jerry Stackhouse… to think he once averaged nearly 30 points per game.

–  Score at the end of the first quarter is 30-22, Dallas leads.  More factual information to counter-balance all the stupid, worthless comments I include.

–  They show a graphic that states Avery Johnson is the quickest coach to ever reach 150 total wins.  I guess coaching the Mavs helps in that regard.  However, for some reason or other while talking about him as one of the best coaches in the league; they forgot to mention that he “coached” the Mavs to the worst playoff collapse in history.  I like him as a coach and all… but whatever.

–  Holy crap Jose Barea is in the game.  They said he’s 6’1”.  I’m so stunned by that statement I can’t even think of a joke.  He’s one of the shortest players I’ve seen in a long time. 

–  5-0 run by the Mavs to start the second and the Wolves are down 13.  Is it time for some whiskey yet?

–  Craig Smith is tearing it up in the second quarter, scoring 10 points.  He finished with 17 points and 7 boards in only 20 minutes of play.  Probably the best game he’s played yet this season.  He has dropping all kinds of moves down in the low post and was incredibly active. He had 3 turnovers, but that was negated by the fact that he shot 8-9 from the field.  The Rhino was running rampant and ravenously ravaging rebounds.  How’s that for some alliteration?

–  Antoine “Jurassic Pork” Walker tried to hit the shot clock on one of his three point attempts, but unfortunately you don’t get points for that.  In actuality, Antoine “Crisco Kid” Walker didn’t play too bad tonight. He had 13 points, 4 rebounds, and zero turnovers.  He was also one of only TWO Wolves with a positive “+/-“ at +5.  The glaring deficiency that still kills me though is that he jacks up way too many three balls.  He was 0-5 tonight.  With all that said, Walker is really starting to excel in his role as one of the first subs off the bench.  I like that too, it fits him. 

–  Ok, ok… I’ll stop with the fat jokes.  Heck, I’ll even go so far as to admit that Walker is actually growing on me the more I see him play this season.  Shockingly, he’s seemed to emerge as a leader both on and off the court for our young squad.  I never saw that one coming.  And to think we got him for Ricky Davis and Mark Blount, both of which players were the antithesis of leadership and guidance.  Someone better call the Feds, because that trade was a larceny. 

–  I have just been informed that Dirk averages 15 shots per game, and that McCants averages 13 shots per game.  Does anyone else have a problem with this?  Jim Pete thinks it’s ok and that Rashad should keep shooting.  Umm… no. 

–  Tonight from the field: Dirk 7-13.  McCants 7-17

–  End of the second quarter and Dallas leads 58-45.  Wolves have 11 turnovers to the Mavs 3 and have attempted only 9 free throws to the Mavs 17.  Hooray for facts.

–  I love that Big Al repeatedly takes the ball to the hoop, but it would be nice if he could do so with a little more authority.  This would (theoretically) draw more fouls against him, and thusly more free throw attempts.  He’s still young, so just give him some tutelage under McHale and he should be good to go in a few years.  I know, that means McHale has to actually stay around if we want him to tutor Jefferson… but who are we kidding?  McHale isn’t going anywhere.

–   Josh Howard or Ndudi Ebi… Tomato, Tomaahto.

–  We desperately need more production from our starting center position.  Maddog is fine as a hyperactive backup, but he is not very well suited to start and play many minutes.  Madsen played 14 minutes tonight and had 2 rebounds and 0 points (again.)  I mean, seriously?  That’s our starting center?  The long term answer is NOT to have Big Al play the 5 either.  At least not in combination with the players we have on the team now.  If you do some research on, you’ll see that Al’s production falters when he is moved over to the 5.  However, it pains me to say that I don’t have an answer, so I’ll stop now.

–  What’s wrong with Gomes lately?  He hasn’t been playing very well at all.  Even I can admit this, and he’s my favorite player on the team.  He only played 16 minutes tonight with 3 points, 3 fouls, and 2 rebounds.  Either his wife is already cheating on him and he won’t confront her, or more realistically, I think the team (speaking in generalities) is leaning on him to do too much.  He’s more of a glue guy that should just be allowed to do his thing and contribute in a bunch of small ways.  I think they are looking at him to do too much right now and he’s pressing, which has resulted in his bad play of late.  That’s my guess.

–  Oh.  My. God.  Get this: We’ve just been informed that Erick Dampier was traded to Dallas for Christian Laettner, Edwardo Najera, and TWO first round draft picks.  What!?!? For freakin Dampier? Bwa ahahahaha.  Could a trade get any worse than that?  I’ll answer that for you: Yes.  Yes, it could.  Dallas then turned around and signed him to a 7 year, $71 million dollar contract. Wow.

–  McCants reaches in and fouls Dirk while he’s shooting a three.  Will he ever learn?  He’s easily our most egregious hacker on the team.

–  A Corey Brewer sighting with 7:14 remaining in the third quarter.  He went 0-5 from the field in 9 minutes of action, and no longer leads the league in Smiles per 48 Minutes. 

–  On the other hand, Brewer had the highest “+/-“ of anyone on the team at +10.  Even though he looked like a deer lost in headlights, apparently this is proof that he does all the little things and contributes in other ways that lead to productivity on the court.  Or so says Jim Pete.  Personally, I think we should send him to the D-League so that he can get 30+ minutes of burn every night.  That will help him a lot more at this stage in the game. 

–  Sick baseline facial by Big Al, very reminiscent of the Denver game and him exploding over Camby.  He pump faked Erick “Contract Year” Dampier, drove baseline and then thundered one home over Stackhouse.  Delicious.

–  At the end of the third, the Wolves only trail 77-83.  They battled back from a 20 point deficit during the third quarter.  It was actually really good basketball.

–  The fourth quarter starts us out with possibly the smallest lineup ever.  The hell is this crap?  Walker, Smith, McCants, Buckner, and Telfair.  Who’s our center?  My goodness.

–  McCants is leading a 3 on 1 breakaway and tries to dunk over Dirk, rather than pass to one of the other two open guys. Needless to say he blows the dunk and Josh Howard nails an open J at the other end.

–  Let’s see… the second half was surprising close after the Wolves came back from down 20.  I think we got to within two points, but couldn’t complete the comeback.  Wolves lose 103-109.

–  Big Al was far and away the Stud of the Game.  31 points and 14 boards.  He absolutely could NOT be stopped down low.  He needs the @!#$% ball more often!  He should touch the ball every time down the court.  How many times do I need to say this?   It appears that everyone knows this except Randy “Career Winning Percentage .300” Wittman. 

–  Al took the most shots of anyone at 19, but he hit 11!  There were a few easy ones that he missed, or his percentage would have been even better!  In contrast, McCants took the second most shots (17) and nailed 7.

–  Thumbs up to Jaric.  I can’t get over how well he is playing lately.  Despite his six turnovers, he still had 12 points, 7 boards, and 7 assists.

–  Thumbs sideways to Telfair.  He played decent.  He only had 6 points (3-4 field goals though) and 2 assists in 26 minutes.  His defense was bad at times, allowing Devin Harris to blow right past him.

–  Thumbs down to Gomes and Madsen, as previously mentioned.

–  Thumbs way up to Craig Smith.  Good to have ya back; it was a much welcomed sight.

–  Thumbs down to Buckner for going 0-2 and basically doing nothing memorable while on the court.  He also had the worst “+/-“ of anyone tonight, at -10.

–  Thumbs down to Wittman because I hate him.

–  Thumbs down to Gerald Green for somehow not being able to earn minutes on this squad, the epitome of a rebuilding team.

–  There was a Trenton Hassell and Juwan Howard sighting at the end of the game.  Why were they hugging Big Al?  Huh?  I thought they couldn’t wait to get out of Minnesota?  When did they even have the time to befriend Jefferson?  That was weird.  Also, Hassell and Howard’s total combined minutes were the same as Randy Foye’s and my own combined minutes.  Zero.

–  The attendance was 20,054.  A little bit better than the eight thousand at the New Orleans game.

–  Despite having 11 turnovers in the first half, the Wolves ended up with only 15 to the Mavericks 12.  That’s not bad at all.

–  The free throw disparity wasn’t as terrible as some of the previous games either.  32 out of 39 for Dallas compared to the Wolves hitting 20 out of 28.

That’s all for now, Bonk and I will be at the game on Friday.  I’ll holla!





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