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Musings of a Wolves Fan… (12/30/08)

Musings of a Wolves Fan (12.30.08)

 

vs. Dallas Mavericks

 

 


 

Season Record: 6-25

 
Click HERE for our TWB Forum Discussion Thread

 

Epic.  Monster. Collapse.
 
How else would you describe what happened in the second half of tonight’s “game” versus the Dallas Mavericks?  I didn’t know it was even possible for an NBA team to blow a 29 point lead after the ways in which they had thoroughly dominated their opposition (in every facet), for the first half of the game.  But as we’ve all become accustomed to, when watching the Minnesota Timberwolves, it’s never truly over, until it’s OVER.
 
But wait… hold on.  Yes… why yes, by golly, I guess I do seem to have a few more options for you to describe tonight’s game:  “It was a (insert one or more of the following words below) collapse for the ages!”
 
 
Handy Dandy Word Bank:
astronomical, colossal, cosmic, elephantine, enormous, gigantic, grand, herculean, immense, jumbo, mammoth, massive, monstrous, monumental, mountainous, prodigious, super, stupendous, titanic, tremendous, vast, whopping extensive, hulking, grandiose, lofty, majestic, cavernous, overwhelming, staggering, boundless, cosmic, immeasurable, infinite, etc etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum.
 
 
For those of you that actually watched this game, it’s probably half part mind-boggling and half part utter-disbelief.  Or maybe at this point in your fandom, it isn’t.  Maybe “expected” is the word I was looking for.  If this type of thing hadn’t happened already this season, then I guess it would truly be utter-disbelief.  But to the extent of and timing of how we lost this game was just staggering.  The Wolves played possibly their best half of the entire season tonight in the first half against Dallas.  In typical Wolves fashion, they followed it up with possibly their worst half of the entire season.  Which was just enough to blow a 29 point lead and hand the Mavericks a win (that they had no business whatsoever winning), on a silver platter.  It wasn’t even a kick to the groin or punch to the gut.  It was quicker than that.  It was like someone just blew your head clean off.
 
I’m still sitting here trying to wrap my head around the facts regarding just how exactly we just lost this game.  I’m also equally considering ending this article right here and now.  Because frankly, a team that gives up so easily and plays like complete and utter Diseased Donkey Dung, doesn’t really deserve to have anything written about them.  At least, nothing positive deserves to be penned.  I’m debating just exactly as to WHY I should combat sleep for any longer and stay up past 2 AM to write about the latest Kevin McHale & Glen Taylor Blue Light Special.  What’s in it for me?  Does anyone honestly even care any more?  I suppose that writing about this woebegone team is my self-flagellation for my sins of a thousand previous lifetimes.
 
Looking at the stats, it doesn’t even make sense as to how we lost. We had a better FG% (49.4% to 47.1% for Dallas) and eFG% (43.8% to 41.2%.)  We made the same number of shots (1 less three pointer) and had only one less rebound (but six less offensively.)  I suppose it makes some sense that we had six more turnovers and nine less free throws attempted (only six less FT makes), but does that really equate to blowing a twenty freakin nine point lead?  Maybe Dwayne Casey is just a damn good coach?  Nah… that couldn’t be it (but he’s better than McHale!)  So, we’ll just chalk this up as one of life’s great unsolved mysteries, I guess.  And speaking of Dwayne Casey, I would like to borrow from CanisHoopus and point out the great quote by our fearless leader, Kevin McHale, after firing Casey 40 games into his second season:


“The ups and downs, we just couldn’t find any consistency. After 40 games [record of 20-20] we were in another of our inconsistent times.
 
“There was no huge watershed moment where ‘this’ happened or ‘that’ happened.  It was your basic two steps up the hill and two steps down. We were never able the entire year to establish a style of play we could bank on. We’d get close, you sawsigns, and we’d backslide.”


Believe me, I am in NO way trying to say that Casey was a great (or even good coach.)  Nor am I advocating or even sticking up for him.  I’m just sayin’.


 

 

Please click “Read More” for further thoughts and analysis…
 


This is the part where I talk about how awesome everyone on our team played, and point out interesting tidbits and nuances of the game.  I could just save everyone time and go with: Wolves = Massive Suckage, Mavericks = Massive Awesomeness.  But I guess that’s not quite as fun now is it?

-  Other than the majority of the entire Mavericks team, I’d again like to mention the circles that Dwayne Casey coached around McHale in the second half of the game.  After Rick Carlisle’s ejection and the subsequent swelling of the Wolves lead to 29 points, it looked pretty dire for Mavs fans.  I mean, they had been completely devoid of life all game, and now coaching mastermind Assistant Coach Dwayne Casey was supposed to lead them back to victory?  Yeah, I just coughed up a lung in a fit of laughter too.  He had the Mavs playing with reckless abandon, driving the line, moving the ball around for wide open threes, playing tough, hard nosed defense, and hustling all over the court.  McHale had our guys doing a whole lot of nothing and apparently doesn’t know how to call a timeout to stem the tide of a run.  Amidst a 21-2 Dallas run, McHale called one timeout when the Wolves were still leading by twenty-something, and that was about it.  We then proceeded to get run completely off the court in a pathetic display of basketball.  You know how it ended.  The correct answer is somewhere along the lines of “not a victory for the Wolves.”

So what is the point of that previous paragraph?  It’s not that Casey is a great coach, because he isn’t.  Yes, his team is better than the Wolves, but that’s no excuse for blowing a 29 point lead in less than 25 minutes.  Where I’m going is that McHale is obviously just a horrible coach.  I always found it funny that the masses thought McHale was “the greatest coach in Wolves history” (winning percentage-wise) simply due to his record of 19-12.  It could have been because they had KG in the height of his prime and the players just needed a new voice at that point in time.  At least now McHale’s coaching record during his second stint is finally starting to reflect his true coaching acumen.  I’m not the first (nor the last) to say this, but the entire Front Office needs to go.  Everyone.  Only then will the Wolves even have a prayer of re-building a contending team.  Until that happens, expect more losing and for more fans to stay away from this team in droves.

-  At one point during the massive mountainous Mavericks comeback, Homer De Jour Jim Peterson proclaimed: “the power of home court advantage”, as some sort of idiotic homer statement/excuse to explain what was happening.  I’m sorry Jimbo, but you were so completely and utterly wrong that it’s not even funny.  Ever since McHale took over as coach, Jim Pete and Tom Hanneman have really elevated their homer comments to an almost unprecedented level.  Their propaganda and homer spin has taken off to another stratosphere.  Seriously, I think their brains have left Earth and are now orbiting one of Saturn’s outermost moons.  I used to place this Dynamic Duo towards the top of my own personal “Unintentional Comedy Scale”, but I can’t even say that anymore.  The diatribe they spew is pathetic and borderline offensive.  They must think the remaining fans watching these broadcasts are the most gullible humans on earth, or lobotomy patients (or both?)  Anyways, I almost feel bad for them.  I hope they don’t truly believe what they are telling everyone.

-  Hey, didn’t you used to be Kevin Love?  Did he set some kind of record amongst recent lottery picks for the biggest (read: worst) drop in performance from one game to the next?  He went from 17 points, 7 boards, (and infinity amounts of praise from the Dynamic Duo) in 31 minutes against Memphis, to 0 points on 0-4 FG shooting and 7 boards in 19 minutes against Dallas tonight.  It could be that Dallas actually has some decent interior defenders, unlike Memphis who literally has nothing and no size whatsoever.  Well, they do have Porker Gasol.  So yeah, Memphis has nothing.  There is nothing really to be gained by me wasting everyone’s time ripping on how crappy Love is compared to how awesome Mayo is, because frankly, every Wolves fan knows deep down that it was a horrible trade… whether you want to admit it or not.

-  Craig Smith’s “flagrant foul” was complete BS.  I don’t really like Rhino all that much, but I can’t hate on him for that.  It was one of the worst FF’s called that I’ve ever seen.  Shame on those “home cooking” refs.  Besides that, Smith did nothing but get abused up and down the court for 18 minutes tonight.  I can see why McHale likes him and plays him.  I’ll admit that he’s done fine this year and has exceeded expectations.  But really?  Why would you start or play him against Dallas and their two seven footers?  I mean, do you honestly expect him to guard Dirk on the perimeter or Dampier anywhere?  Just because Rhino has been starting, doesn’t mean he has to start EVERY game.  C’mon McHale, match-ups.  Pay attention.

-  For the first time in forever a loooooooooong time, I can look at you all with a straight face and honestly say that Ryan Gomes was the MVP/Player of the Game for the Wolves tonight.  Well, assuming they deserved to name anyone the player of the game.  He played well, and was anything but the reason we lost.  I was so excited after he made his first eight consecutive baskets that CW Jr. had to change my soiled diaper.

-  Tonight was Big Al statwhore night.  Unlike last night against Memphis, Al solely looked for his own shot, and had absolutely zero interest whatsoever in player defense.  I couldn’t even count the number of times players zipped right past him for lay-ups while he stood by doing nothing.  I hate to rip on him in this fashion, but these things need to be pointed out.  Especially after he said this off-season that he would stop getting down on teammates for mistakes, and do a better job of leading this team.  Well so far he has led this team to a 6-25 record, and also in the number scowls directed at his teammates.  He is scowling at his fellow teammates as much or more than any TWolf in recent memory.  He dropped the usual 21 points and 9 boards tonight, but had 4 turnovers and 0 assists.  Hmmm.

-  Stat-wise, I guess Foye had a decent game in his 35 minutes of action.  18 points on 50% shooting with 4 boards, and 3 assists for an off-guard is admittedly pretty decent. The keywords in this phrase have been bolded.

-  The fact that 56 year old Kevin Ollie played 25 minutes for our team is just plain sad.

-  I still think Telfair is the solution (as of this exact moment in time) for PG of this team.  It’s baffling that he only played 22 minutes, because I thought he was playing decently well.  I just don’t understand why McHale talks about needing to “sustain pace” and “push things up the court”, yet Telfair is the only player capable of doing so on our team, and he rides the pine.  Sadly, I don’t expect his minute total to jump up anytime soon, as McHale seems to hate him with a passion dislike him greatly.  Until we win the lottery and draft the next CP3 or Derrick Rose, why is Telfair not getting the lion’s share of the minutes at PG?  Why is Ollie playing?  Why is blood coming out of my ears.  I can’t take this.

-  Rashad BornToBeHatedDyingToBeLoved McCants had 10 points on 4 of 4 shooting in 13 minutes.  Whatever.  He’s a non-entity to me.  He’ll have a solid game followed by 5 crapfests.  I am fine with him and his 13 minutes of burn.

-  I now see that Rodney Carney played 15 minutes.  Intriguing.  His highlight of the season so far was his Chocolate Thunder Flying Bam Wam Jam Slam that he had.  I may or may not have loudly slightly yelped out loud. 

-  Brian Cardinal played 26 minutes tonight.  No, that is not a typo.  He did not play 26 seconds.  He played 26 minutes.  I wish I were joking.  Since people are telling me (Britt Robson whom I love, and of course the Dynamic Duo) that he is apparently a great player that does “all the little things”, and I am now greatly confused.  You see, when I watch the games and see him out there on the court, he appears to be one of the worst players in history.  He seems to think he should be launching 3’s with reckless abandon (he shouldn’t be because I haven’t seen him make one yet.)  Yes, I suppose he hustles (if you can call that “hustling”), rebounds (somewhat), and dives for loose balls (or so I’ve heard), but really?  Brian Cardinal?  The Custodian?  He is playing consistent minutes for our team now?  I can say with absolute certainty that I’d MUCH rather have Madsen out there as our Token White Guy, since McHale seems to believe the situation often calls for it.  At least Madsen plays center and doesn’t launch threes.  Ohandbytheway, what happened to this being a rebuilding year?  Can someone (anyone?) please tell me why Cardinal and Ollie are getting ANY minutes over guys like Telfair and Love?  I’d rather have a crappy Love play than Cardinal.  At least then we can at least try to develop him… or something.

Bonk texted me during the game that “Jim Pete is talking about Brian Cardinal like he’s [expletive deleted] Larry Bird.”  I concur.  It was sickening.  I think it might be worth it to buy League Pass solely to listen to the announcers from the other team(s) rip the Wolves, rather than Jim Pete and Hanney’s idiocy.  I am losing brain cells from the Dynamic Duo faster than I can count.  And believe me, I need to keep as many of them as I possibly can.

- Super awesome, in-depth, insightful, exciting, and analytical Rundown on the Mavs tonight: Dirk is a bizzznatch, JHo played alright, Dampier is a solid center for this league, Jason Kidd looked like the Jason Kidd of five years ago, Jet Terry is a stud whom I’ve been down on because he’s a volume shooter but man oh man he’s looked great so far this year, why didn’t Brandon Bass play cuz I think he’s a stud, Diop has a funny sounding name, Juan Jose Barea looks like giant mouse mated with a human female, I thought Gerald Green was supposed to be good or something this year, Devean George came awwwwwwwwwfully close to notching a Five Trillion, and who the heck is Antoine Wright and why is he starting and playing 15 minutes?

-  Seriously though, it’s never a good sign if Jason Kidd is scoring points against you this year.  The dude can’t put the ball in the rim… well, unless he plays the Wolves apparently.  A statline of 14 points, 16 assists, 7 boards, and 4 steals almost helps Mavs fans forget about Devin Harris, even if it is only for one night.

P.S. I understand WHY Cuban made the trade, I really do.  It made sense.  However, the main problem was that he gave up too much, not that he traded Devin Harris.  You see, Harris would NOT, under no circumstances, have blossomed literally overnight this past off-season in Dallas (like he did in the new system in New Jersey.)  Dallas and Rick Carlisle would have been just a completely different culture and offense compared to where he finds himself now on the Nets.  Plus, there would have been no way in hell there were enough shots to go around for Dirk, Josh Howard, and the new super PG Harris.  He HAD to leave and land in a situation like the Nets for him to blowup as he has.  It probably never would have happened in Dallas, so I don’t think Mavs fans should feel too bad about the entire situation.  I guess it’s easy for me to say… but look what us Wolves fans have suffered through over the years!

-  On the bright side, at least this game was on FSN in HD.  FSN almost never shows Wolves road games in HD.  So that was nice.  Well… nice in the way that I didn’t have to watch fuzzy, pixilated little Martians running around on my 50” TV.  (If you didn’t know, the bigger the TV, the exponentially worse non-HD broadcasts look compared to smaller TV’s.)  After watching even ten minutes of a HD broadcast, it’s like shoving bamboo shoots in your eyes when you are forced to watch non-HD, or what I like to call “Porn From Hell.”

-  Lastly, 20,264 Mavs fans can be REALLY loud when they want to be.  I’m talking like, blow my socks off while I’m sitting on a couch in Minnesota loud.  There have been two games at the Target Center so far this season where Bonk and I were like “Holy crap, what’s going on… its super loud in here and fans are cheering!  Wow!  This is kinda cool!”  Just from watching the game on TV, I could tell that the Target Center crowds in no way, shape, or form, compare to other crowds from around the NBA.  It’s rather depressing.

-  Wolves vs Warriors Friday night at home.  Who ya like?  Ah, just kidding.  I should ask, how much will the Warriors win by?

CW

 

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