Wolves v. Celtics Preview
Injuries: Wolves: AK47 out, Ricky Rubio out, Chase Budinger out, Brandon Roy’s knee dead. Celtics: Avery Bradley out, Rajon Rondo reinstated.
Line: Boston by 6. Over/Under 190. On the sports betting site I go to SportsBetting.ag, the public is picking Boston -6, the experts are leaning toward Minnesota +6, and the O/U is split right down the middle (Extra gambling nugget: The Wolves are 4-0 against the spread when 5+ point underdogs this season).
Ever since the Dollar Bill for Loose Change trade, this matchup is bi-annually anticipated with great excitement by many Wolves fans. I personally love KG and will always go to bat for the guy, but I know at this point many in Wolves Nation have not only moved on from Garnett, but have vilified him. However, there is also still a big section of TWolves fans who feel forever grateful and indebted to the man who gave his all to this franchise for 12 years, putting Timberwolves Basketball on the map, and providing endless moments of excitement, passion, and dedication for all to see.
The Wolves have yet to beat the Celtics since the Garnett trade. I was at the game in Boston in 2008 when they almost pulled this feat off. Somehow, our inspired Jaric/Telfair backcourt (true statement, not a typo) almost defeated the would-be champion Celtics on their court in front of a frenzied crowd. However, the Wolves left defeated in the end, losing 88-86. Garnett did not play in that game, but a month earlier was the infamous Celtics/Wolves matchup at Target Center, where the Celtics eeeked out a 1 point victory, concluding with Garnett popping his Celtics jersey and losing many of his former Wolves fans’ loyalty in the process (My take on this: he is a passionate guy who gives everything for his team. The Wolves traded him. Therefore, his team changed, which means his loyalty on the court changed. We should not fault him for putting on for his new team with the same KG-like passion we celebrated and loved when he had our jersey on. After all of the years, we know how he works, we know what he is about. But unfortunately many Minnesota fans have that one of us mentality, and once a player leaves, whether it was their decision or not, they get turned on. I don’t agree with it, and frankly I find it embarrassing and simple-minded).
Last year, Boston completely creamed the Wolves 100-79 in Target Center, and KG showed KL that he may not be truly elite yet. Elite means that you can dominate the game with your presence alone. Love seems to be in the class where he needs to put up big scoring numbers in order to dominate. Although since his first week back, in which he played like a bit of a shot happy diva, he has seemingly reinstated more concentration on boarding, passing, defense, and playing solid team basketball. However, the stopping after a botched offensive play to cry to the refs while the other team runs a fast break routine HAS to stop. Love is first in the league with 3.18 of these a game, leading Dwight Howard by almost 1 full CTTRWOTRFB. JJ Barea has also now entered the top ten, averaging 1.34 CTTRWOTRFB per game.
Regarding the Wolves/Philly matchup last evening: YES. It was a total team win, featuring fantastic bench play, great ball movement (shockingly even from your guy, JJ Barea), heady defense, and concentration. It was great to have a pretty, blowout win. I will leave you with a few more assorted thoughts on last nights game and subsequent postgame show: If Lou Amundson is a 1-Tool NBA Player, than that tool is fouling…SHVED! He is looking more and more like our SG of the future each game…Speaking of Shved, Tom Hanneman called him “Sexy Alexi” postgame. This really happened…Weird looking at the box score and seeing all three of our shooting percentages in the 50’s (FG: 53%, 3P: 52%, FT: 59%)…Jim Peterson, donning a heavy pinstripe suit, during the postgame show: “My suit must have inspired them, because they were playing like gangsters. We just had to give Alexi Shved a tommy gun out there.” Okayyyy Jim, thank you for that!…Malcolm Lee: career high 10 points for the zillionth time this year…Kevin Lynch’s heavy Minnesota accent drives me nuts…If Josh Howard can play that well every night, it would be huge…Royal Ivey was 1 rebound away from a 2 trillion…Dante CunningHAM’s mouthguard, which has a black streak down the center, makes it look like he is missing his front teeth, which I think is the point, which is glorious…Final Wolves/Celtics game prediction: Celtics 98, Wolves 90, (for those keeping track at home, that’s Celtics and the Under) and Rondo with 18 assists in his return from suspension…Stay funky, Wolves fans, Ricky is lurking…