After an absolutely putrid first month and change of the season (thanks Wittman!) it looked like we were doomed, left for dead, decimated. I wouldn’t have been surprised if we didn’t win 15 games, and ended up high in the lottery, again. Instead, McHale the coach takes over and institutes a total, complete transformation in our squad. They start to play like actual NBA players (despite the fact that we have 2, maybe 3 starting quality players on any other NBA team), and actually become a competitive team. We are no longer getting blown out by the dregs of the league, and heck, we put together a nice little winning streak of our own. The interesting part is that we still often fail to be competitive for four quarters against the better teams in the league, but finally start beating the teams that we “should” beat.
Is this a good thing? We are probably playing ourselves out of our lottery pick, but yes, overall I do think it is a good thing. The Wolves are a competitive and watchable team. Heck, I dare say that at times we are even a pretty exciting team to watch. The Wolves are certainly more refreshing to watch than any point in the past three years, and I would say that is progress. Will we win an NBA title anytime soon? Certainly not. Will we even make the playoffs anytime soon? Who knows, but probably not. Still, our players are improving and care about playing hard. And that is improvement. We can build on this! We’ve got a potential (debateable) cornerstone in Al Jefferson, some exciting young players in Brewer, Love, Carney, and Telfair; as well as a SG (Foye), that can put points on the board.
At this point I’ll take a team classified as “interesting”, over “massive steaming pile of dog crap” any day of the week.
Click “Read More” for bullet pointed thoughts, analysis, and musings…
In terms of full disclosure, I fell asleep waiting for the game to start and missed the first half of first quarter. Now granted, I’ve got DVR… but c’mon, it was the Wolves-Pacers. You know you all would have just continued on from when you woke up. Admit it. I am starting to feel old. I think I can blame it on CW Jr.
- The game started out with 59 combined first quarter points. It did not appear that much defense was going to be played by either team tonight. Whether either team is even capable of playing good defense or not, well, that’s another story entirely.
- The Wolves won because of an OREB% of nearly 30%, as well as from some slick shooting. They were 48.8% from the field, including 47.8% (11 of 23) from downtown. Their eFG% was a stellar 55.2% and most importantly, the Wolves were 21 of 22 from the line; which is unheard of for our squad. Notably, because on any given night, Mike Miller and Craig Smith can clank a good half dozen free throws each. The Wolves did not win because of turnovers or their sloppy play at the end of the game. They committed 19 TO’s in some of the most egregrious ways possible. They did everything in their power to give the game away in the last 30 seconds, yet somehow managed to hang on and eek out the win.
- In comparison, the Pacers shot 47.6% from the field, 45.8% from downtown (11 of 24); with an eFG% of 54.1%. They were only 69% from the free throw line (20 of 29) and committed 15 turnovers themselves. They only rebounded 11 of their 44 misses, for an OREB% of 25% These statistics will most certainly not win a game. Especially when they are not a good defensive team to begin with.
- Does anyone else cringe whenever Mike Miller shoots a 3? This is not a good thing, considering that he was brought in as a “sharp shooter.” He was one of two from deep tonight, so my cringing was kept to a minimum. He actually attempted 6 field goals tonight! He is building on that! He attempted 4 shots last game, and hasn’t shot the ball 10 times since December 17th of last year! That’s absurd! He’s capable of averaging a solid 16-18 points per game. Color me flummoxed. He has still taken less shots this season than Rashad McCants, who hasn’t played since the last time Haley’s Comet passed by. I wish Miller would ditch his patented “dribble drive to the hoop kick out an errant pass to the perimeter” play. It’s really starting to piss me off.
- Dunleavy’s mustache!?!? No really. Did you see Dunleavy’s mustache? What. The. #@(! was that? The only acceptable situation as to why he has this mustache is this: I believe they were flying back from a road trip, probably engaged in a rousing game of Poker (or other such game of skill), and Mike was already all in. Someone like Rasho probably raised the pot, and Dunleavy thought he could take it all. Unfortunately, he had no extra cash on hand. So instead, Rasho says something like “Yu can keep playin in dis game if ya grow out da ‘stashe upon losin. Muss be A-Mo style no exkeption.” Dunleavy agrees, goes all in, and loses. It’s the only explanation to that growth on his face. The “unexplainable facial growth” didn’t seem to affect his game tonight, as he played well and dropped 20 on us.
- Rodney Carney: 7 shots, 4 misses, 1 Monster Airball, and 1 shot-out-of-a-cannon funky-monkey-dunk. About on par for him lately.
- Foye had 7 turnovers in the first half, and 9 (!!!) for the game. That’s not good. Well… let me rephrase that. It would have been acceptable if he also had 45 assists to go with those 9 turnovers. Unfortunately he only had 5 assists. Considering he played 42 minutes, I would not call his 19 points and 9 turnovers a good game by any means. His best play of the game was his stellar block on Granger with a bit more than a minute left. That alone almost made up for the 9 turnovers. I said in our forums that I wouldn’t care if Foye was only scoring 10 points per game, as long as his defense improved and was consistent; and if he became better at facilitating the offense (more assists, less turnovers.) Tonight was not a good night to declare that. Hopefully he has fewer games like this in the future.
- More and more lamebrains people around the internet/blogosphere/TWB forums are starting to get down on Gomes. Saying crazy talk like “he’s not a starter”, “he’s a liability”, “he doesn’t help us”, etc etc etc. Well gee. I thought he played well tonight, and he’s obviously one of our “smarter” players out there. 16 points, 6 boards, 2 steals, and solid defense. Not a bad night, but not great by any means either, I suppose. Hell, I wouldn’t trade Gomes for two KG’s. Oh wait… how did that Charlie Walters quote get in there?
- The Rhino got hurt (or something), but he was having himself a nice little game before the injury. He was twisting and twirling and swirling (?) for points in the paint. He was 4 of 4 for 10 points in the first 11 minutes. I still maintain that he’s best utilized off the bench for 15-20 minutes per game, depending on matchups. I wonder if KLove will start tomorrow night in his place. If so, this could be the point in which KLove starts the rest of the season. There’s really no point to start Craig Smith again if/when Love takes his spot. I know, I was really, really, really, really, wrong about Kevin.
- Speaking of Love, he had another good game. 15 points and 11 boards in only 23 minutes. Even the most ardent Mayo fans would have to agree that Love has been exceeding expectations lately. I still think people like the Wolves broadcast team (whom shall remain nameless), go completely overboard in their praise and hyperbolic descriptions of Love’s greatness often get caught up “over praising” him a bit. Granted, he’s clearly on the path to being a “pretty good to very good NBA player”, rather than “Epic Monster Bust” like someone you all know may or may not have declared. However, if he starts playing 35 or so minutes per game, I don’t think you can extrapolate his statistics and presume that he’ll average 20 ppg and 16 rpg. But if that is our biggest worry, then have at it and give him the minutes. Side Note: He’s made 25 free throws in a row.
- Jim Pete Someone from the broadcast told us that the Wolves are something like 5-50 in Indiana. Or I could be wrong. But said person told me some preposterously bad record for the Wolves in Indy, and I believe everything he says. Always.
- Tough game for Big Al. I think he had only 2 points at the half? He had led team in scoring the past 9 games, but only had 12 tonight. He was blocked pretty badly at least three times, one of which was a monster by Granger. His 15 rebounds and great defense were nice though. That redeems his game a bit.
- Telfair did not have a great game, but it wasn’t horrible. He’s still clearly the best PG on our team. And no, Kevin Ollie couldn’t be further from the solution. If Telfair as our starting PG is “out in left field”, then Kevin Ollie getting significant minutes as PG is “two states away.”
- Brian Cardinal played 11 minutes again? Ugh. Where’s Maddog? Heck, give them to Love.
- No offense to TWB Forum member “Ryan” (who may or may not still be alive), but the Pacers have a really boring and non-exciting team (excluding Danny Granger.) They are so boring it pains me to even talk about them. I don’t even feel like giving them the requisite one paragraph-super-speedy-mail-it-in recap. That’s how much they bore me. I’d rather watch CW Jr. drool all over himself while attempting to eat his fingers than talk about anyone on the Pacers.
- Danny Granger, on the other hand, is a complete stud. He “only” had 28 points tonight. The thing is, he’s so fluid and silky smooth. He can score from anywhere on the court and has range out past the three point line. A lengthy, starting caliber SF like Granger is something the Wolves haven’t had in a long time (ever?), and would do wonders to improving this team very quickly. Heck, I’d have no problem with someone like him or Thad Young starting over Gomes. Gomes would be solid as a 6th or 7th man off the bench anyways. The problem is, where do you find guys like Granger? I mean, they don’t just fall to you in the lottery every draft. Oh wait, we took Retard McCants over him. That really, really sucks. Imagine if the Wolves had Granger, Roy, and KG. It’s not a stretch to say that couldn’t have happened, because Granger didn’t blow up his first season and the Wolves still would have sucked enough to draft Roy the next season. Did you know that Granger is the only player to ever have improved his ppg average at least 5 points in his first three seasons? At least, that is what Jim Peterson someone whom shall remain nameless told me during the Wolves broadcast.
- My last “Did You Know” for tonight. Did you know that Damon Jones logged a Two Trillion in the Bucks – Nets game tonight? Even funnier (actually, MUCH funnier/more pathetic): Joe Alexander logged a Nine Trillion! Now that takes talent! Seriously, not even McCants could log a NINE Trillion. He’d have shot the ball at least a dozen times by then…
- McCants DNP. I can’t even remember the last time I was forced to watch him pout out on the court in actual game action… and it’s glorious. It’s good to know he’s spending his time practicing and trying to improve, rather than hooking up with flukies on Facebook. HAHAHA.