Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Timberwolves Comeback Comes Up Short in Road Opener

The local and national media buzz for the Timberwolves this season is that the squad had added enough pieces to make a significant improvement in the win column. Through two games, the Wolves have the same record as perennial juggernauts like the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, and (at least as I type this), the Los Angeles Lakers. Unfortunately, that record is 0-2. The Timberwolves mounted a second ferocious comeback within a one-week span in the city of Milwaukee (Algonquin for the "Good Earth"), but they fell just short of victory, falling 98-95 to the Milwaukee Bucks in their first road game. In case you want to see a high turnover number, here's the box score.

Neither team had the "back-to-back" advantage, as both teams came off short rest after narrow losses last night. The Timberwovles gave the OKC Thunder all they could handle and, quite honestly, should have won the game. The Bucks came off a loss at the lowly Charlotte Bobcats. Both teams had to travel, and while the Bucks get to come home, they had to travel farther. Unlike last night's loss; however, the Timberwolves did not deserve to win this game from beginning to end. Last night was a tale of missed opportunity from behind three point line and free throw line, but tonight was Adelman's early-preseason bane: turnovers.

On Twitter and during the broadcast, I saw and heard many references to missed opportunities from the Wolves on wide-open three-pointers. However, the squad shot 42.9% (6 for 14) from beyond the arc, so that's hardly anything to balk at (unlike last night's pathetic 3 for 22). At halftime, I tweeted that one of the two biggest problems for the Wolves was the rebounding disparity (especially allowing 11 first-half offensive rebounds to the Vanilla Sky combo of Bogut/Leueueuweueueuer), along with a repulsive 5 assists to 13 turnovers. At the end of the game, the Wolves had the same amount of offensive ballboards as the Bucks (16) and actually won the overall rebounding battle.

What they sure didn't win was the turnover battle. Last night, the Wolves had 22 assists to just 12 turnovers. Tonight the Wolves flipped the switch in horrific fashion by having only 14 assists to 25 turnovers. The box score will also leave a second reason for Wolves fans to cringe: the Wolves left 12 points on the free throw line, going 33-45 for the game. I don't expect the Wolves to hit 90% as a team, but for those counting at home, the Wolves have lost two games by 7 points and have left 19 points behind on the free throw line.

Some observations:

1) Another terrific night by Kevin Love. I especially appreciate his effort to get to the line. As a matter of fact, Kevin set the Timberwolves single game made FT record (nitpick, he left 5 points behind on the line).

2) During Common's show, someone (I forget who) indicated they were happy to see Beasley at least WANT to take that late-game shot. I would like to be first in the line that DOES NOT WANT him to be taking those shots.

3) I like Derrick Williams' assertiveness when it comes to at least intending to score in the paint. However, I think he's quickly realizing that NBA defenders are faster and bigger than PAC-10 defenders. I think he'll figure it out soon, and when he does, he's going to be a force.

4) Darko had a terrible night. First off, the Wolves had 0 blocked shots (one of the lamest stats for individuals, but 0 blocks the whole game?!), meaning Darko also had 0. When he was in the game, the Bucks dominated the offensive boards. Top it off, Darko used all his fouls in flimsy fashion, allowing the Bucks to get in the bonus early and often. If Darko can't at least appear to affect play in the paint and keep guys off the offensive boards, he's going to find himself sitting on the bench next to Pekovic making a lot of Eastern Promises this season.

5) For the 0-3 of you that might read this site, I'll be making a lot of jokes about Eastern Promises when it comes to Pekovic and Milicic. All the credit to my buddy Ryan who has the other seat in the Ricky Rubio season ticket deal this year.

6) Condolences to the Adelman family.

7) I saw a promotion for the "Play Video Games with Derrick Williams Sweepstakes." What game do you think you play?

8) Terry Porter is looking a lot like the dude that was runner up on Biggest Loser (former NFL O-Lineman Anton Davis).

9) I'm watching this Lakers-Jazz game right now (with LAL looking like they'll escape the 0-win status), and listening to Kevin Harlan have to refer to the basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest as Metta World Peace is pretty funny. I'm not sure it's going to stop being funny this season or ever. It's happened about five times and I'm still laughing like I'm in a serious meeting and someone just loudly ripped ass.

See you at Target Center Friday for the Heat game. If I'm not feeling lazy, I'll throw something up tomorrow or Thursday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eastern Promises! That's actually a KTrizzy/Ryan co-production (in full disclosure)....great article