It was a long, strange evening at Target Center. Coach Pops getting tee’d up, Madsen annoying
the crap out of the great Tim Duncan, the refs making their presence known, the
Wolves getting outscored by 21 in the fourth quarter. Needless to say, it was a wild one.
Let’s start with the officiating. In a word, it was horrible. I’m not usually big on conspiracy theories,
but the officiating helped the Spurs a whole lot more than it helped the
Wolves. Yeah, there were plenty of iffy
calls and non-calls on both sides, but you can’t tell me that the officiating
didn’t prove to be an advantage for San
I lost count of the times that Wittman simply threw his arms
up in sheer awe of the officiating that was taking place. It was pure exasperation on Witt’s part. The officiating was clearly discouraging for
the Pups, and there just wasn’t much he could do about it.
No, the officials didn’t decide this one. That’s not reasonable to suggest. They did, however, dictate the
flow of the game.
(Click "Read More" to continue)
If this was a football game, Wittman would’ve run out of
challenges by the end of the first quarter.
At the end of the day, though, the officiating disparity isn’t terribly
shocking- as the defending champs, the Spurs command a lot more respect than
the Pups do. It’s unfortunate, but
that’s the reality of NBA officiating.
The Wolves were called for 25 fouls; the Spurs were called for 13. The numbers speak for themselves.
Speaking of the Spurs, have you ever seen a bigger group of
whiners? A bigger group of
biotches? Every time we play the Spurs,
I have to brace myself for the incessant b*tching that is sure to
ensue…especially from Duncan and Ginobli.
I respect Duncan’s
ability. He’s a great basketball
player...no one’s going to argue
that. He’s second-to-none when it comes to his mechanics in the post. But man, whenever he thinks he was fouled, or
picks up a foul, he turns into a little girl.
He gets this wide-eyed look, as if to say, "Who, me?!?" and then he inevitably starts complaining to the refs.
Tim, you’re great and all, but you DO pick up legitimate fouls, and you
DON’T get fouled every time you have the ball.
Stop your constant whining to the officials.
And Ginobli…oh man, do I dislike this guy. One of the most annoying players in the NBA,
without question. He’s constantly
acting…every time someone makes contact with Ginobli, he always needs to
over-dramatize things. I bet he was a
real drama queen in high school…he should’ve made a cameo appearance in "Mean
Madsen did a great job on Duncan…someone in the forums said that Dog
got under Timmy’s skin, which is absolutely true. Timmy ended up getting a tech after getting
frustrated at Madsen’s rough defense…and Madsen was the bigger man in that
case, simply walking away as Duncan
vented to whoever would listen. I honestly
can’t remember the last time I praised Madsen, but tonight, he was simply
phenomenal. Great defense on Duncan.
Looking at the plus/minus stats, the Wolves were a +12 with
Madsen in the game. I honestly have no
idea why he only played 13 minutes…yeah, he picked up four fouls, but this is
Mad Dog we’re talking about. Let the guy
play until he fouls out.
Jaric left the game with an injured ankle, which proved to
be costly. Bassy played well for most of
the game, but things fell apart for him in the fourth…the Wolves really
could’ve used Jaric when the Spurs were making their fourth quarter surge ("The
Wolves really could’ve used Jaric."
Nope, never thought I’d ever be saying that).
By the way, anyone ever see Jaric’s yeah baby at a game? I was trying to spot her, but all I could see
was Glen Taylor’s creepy-looking wife.
Seriously, she looks like every creepy old lady that’s ever appeared in an
episode of Scooby Doo.
As we’ve grown accustomed to, the Wolves entered the fourth
quarter with a chance to win, but the game ended up getting away in that 5-7
minutes-to-go range in the fourth.
Credit the Spurs, because they played extremely well in the fourth…the usually-excellent
San Antonio ball movement was on full display, the perimeter jumpers that
hadn’t previously been falling started dropping for the Spurs, and Timmy wasn’t
harassed by Big Al nearly as much as when Madsen was guarding him.
Any time you lose a fourth quarter by a score of 32-11, a
number of factors need to be at work.
Yeah, the Spurs played extremely well, but that’s just part of the
story. The Wolves didn’t execute on
offense…too much standing around on the perimeter, not enough ball movement, no
one was cutting, no movement without the ball, etc.
The Wolves played weak interior defense, and
our effort on the defensive boards was horrible. The Spurs got endless second chances on the
offensive glass. Piss poor perimeter
defense, as well…time after time, we saw Bruce Bowen and Ginobli unguarded on
the perimeter, and those scenarios never end well, do they?
You could blame the youth of this team for these late-game
collapses. After all, the Wolves need to
learn how to win these close games before they can start doing so on a
consistent basis. You could also look at
Foye’s absence as part of the reason they keep melting down in the final
minutes. You could blame a lack of
talent for these collapses, or a lack of clutch players. You could blame a lack of execution down the
stretch. You could also blame coaching-
the rotations have generally been confusing, and Wittman needs to do more to
address the poor execution that’s occurring in 90% of these fourth
And you’d be right on all counts. Yes, fixing these fourth quarter woes is a
rather daunting task, as so many different factors are at work.