The Mask (LAKERS 104, Wolves 85)

Since this game was the meat of a back-to-back-to-back sandwich, and it wasn’t competitive or interesting, I’m doing a rapid-fire bullets wrap:

* Kevin Love had the flu and did not play.  This was a bad thing for the Wolves.

* Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Wes Johnson and Nikola Pekovic started each half for the Wolves.  Ridnour started the first half at the 2; Webster the second.  Of the four that opened each half, only Williams had a (relatively) respectable +/-.  Wes played 17 minutes of (-25) ball, for the team’s worst.  He was basically a ghost on the floor, as is often the case, though 2 for 5 shooting is better than his season average.  Next worst was Pek, with a (-24) in 26 minutes.  Pek had 3 turnovers and struggled with the length of the Laker front line.  He played hard, and scrapped together some garbage points but overall was not very effective.  Ricky was (-20) in 21 minutes.  His 1 for 8 shooting was really awful, but 9 assists to 1 turnover perhaps balances it out.  These three starters were a big reason for the loss, though.

* Coming off a career performance, Derrick Williams only played 23 minutes.  It isn’t clear why this was the case, except that he sat for a long stretch of the 2nd Half when the game looked out of reach and I figured Adelman was resting the guys for tomorrow night.  10 points on 4-8 shooting, 7 rebounds and 1 assist in 23 minutes is respectable.

* Mike Beasley had a decent first half, chipping in 8 points off the bench in a (+4) stint that covered all of the 2nd Quarter.  In the 2nd Half, he looked at different times disinterested and asleep, dropping passes, traveling for no reason, and letting Matt Barnes score layups.  The only thing I’ll say in his defense (because he really doesn’t deserve a defense for lackluster effort) is that he sat the first 8 minutes of the 3rd Quarter while he watched Wes and Company see the deficit extend from 6 to 17.  It has to mentally wear on a talented player to see a scrub like Wes take his minutes and have the game go to shit while he’s rotting away on the pine.  Even in what I would consider one of his worst efforts of the season, Beasley was a net-zero for +/- and produced 14 & 6 in 24 minutes.  If Wes put up that line in 42 minutes, we’d throw a party.

* Kobe wore a mask and was mostly dominant in this game.  31, 8 & 7 seemed pretty ho-hum for him tonight, with our stopper Wes on him.

* Wolves double-teamed Bynum, Gasol and Kobe in the post.  I’m not sure they get this treatment from every team, and I don’t know why Bynum was being doubled by Webster when Darko was in the game.  What purpose does Darko serve if he needs a double team to defend the post?  I wonder if Webster was supposed to be doing this–he didn’t look like he knew what to do or when to do it.

* Anthony Randolph deserves praise for doing what he often does: produce in limited minutes of playing time.  In just 19 minutes of action he nearly posted a double-double, with 12 points (5-9 shooting) and 9 rebounds.  With Love, Williams and Pekovic on the roster, he won’t (and shouldn’t) see much playing time.  He seems to care–he always plays full speed and can be seen working out at Target Center Lifetime in the off-season–and here’s to hoping he can find a regular spot somewhere in the league when he inevitably departs from Minneapolis, this summer.

Season Record: 18-18

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “The Mask (LAKERS 104, Wolves 85)

  1. Andy, Once again we are whistling similiar tunes. It must have been a pre-arranged plan for Adelman to restrict the minutes against the Lakers so that we could go for it against Phoenix. Wesley Johnson once more showcased how truly woeful he is last night…if Beasley was lackluster, Johnson was worse he didn’t body up on Bryant once….and this was Kobe with a head trauma and blinded by condensation!! (if you believe everything you read)

    • Kevin-
      Yes, Kobe had a pretty easy go of it last night. I watch plenty of 24 and he doesn’t normally look this good (anymore). I’d have to guess that the Wolves lack of defense played a part in this. Speaking of defense I didn’t really enjoy the 2-3 zone experiment that lasted more than a couple of minutes. Oh well, if they can get a W tonight that will be a successful road trip. Splitting at Staples essentially without Kevin Love is not something I would have expected.

  2. True. I wrote over on HATM that if Love has “flu” he really won’t be in any fit state to play tonight….why do teams embellish things like this?

    Love looks tired – he needs a rest….surely that’s enough?

    I can live with that, Love has been superb so far and we sit at 0.500…let him rest it out and come back stronger. Ofcourse the Twolves are now in the tricky position where the Play-Offs are being mentioned, in earnest. This means a win against Phoenix will have been crayoned in as a “can do”…what do you think Adelman will do?

    • My guess would be a similar lineup to last night’s, except that it sounds like JJ got hurt so maybe Wayne will take those minutes. I guess I’d prefer to see Anthony Randolph see more action (assuming Love is still out, which may not be the case) since his energy is contagious and he always seems to click with Ricky.

  3. Brian J.

    Couldn’t agree more on D-Thrill needing some more minutes. These games where Love is out seem like the perfect opportunity to give him a chance – can’t figure out why he spent so long on the bench last night. I can sort of buy the “resting your starters” theory for some of the guys who might need it – e.g., Love, Rubio – but the caged lion has been dying for minutes and isn’t exactly in danger of wearing down from overuse. Plus, the guy is 20 years old, you’d think he would be able to bounce back better than most in these back-to-back-to-back situations.

    I’m a huge fan of his athletic drives followed by a grown-man finish at the rim, and he’s been shooting it better recently too. Love to see him get some burn and get a little more comfortable on an NBA floor.

    • Yes, it’s nice to see him coming around in his rookie season.

      Brian, perhaps if you see him on the street you can tell him that you appreciate his game more than, say, Anthony Tolliver’s? (Just make sure Mike Beasley isn’t around to hear you…)