Gerald Green gets high. (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)
The Timberwolves take on the playoff-bound Phoenix Suns tonight in Phoenix. Tip is at 8 P.M. CST. You can see it on FSN or League pass and, as always, hear it on WCCO 830.
I have to drive down to Washington, D.C., later this afternoon, so this will be brief.
A few quick notes, below the fold.
Kemba Walker has the (second) meanest crossover in the East.
Your Minnesota Timberwolves will be playing basketball tonight against the Charlotte Bobcats at Target Center. Tip is at 7 P.M. CST. The game can be seen and heard through the usual channels.
The Wolves are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night at home. Former Wolf Gerald Green–a longtime Punch-Drunk Wolves favorite–hit the game-winner on a tough baseline jumper with seconds remaining.
One question to ponder after the Phoenix loss is whether the Wolves have chemistry problems. (Eds. Note: No, not the Breaking Bad kind of chemistry problems, at least that we know of.)
Tempers flared on Wednesday after Rick Adelman pulled J.J. Barea with 8:07 to go in the 4th quarter. Barea, a player whose passion and intensity run so thick that they’re palpably evident even in pre-game warmups–the sideline-to-sideline defensive shuffle-suicides J.J. does each night as part of his pre-game ritual is all you really need to see–was visibly upset and stormed off the court, cursing in at least two languages. (Eds. Note: Barea was in fact cursing in three languages, if you count Spainglish.) The next thing you know, neither Barea nor Dante Cunningham joined the team huddle during a timeout.
Kevin Love, the team’s best player by orders of magnitude and an League-wide MVP candidate, didn’t appreciate Barea and Cunningham’s lack of team spirit. But Love himself was moody, and it doesn’t take a trained psychologist to deduce that Love appeared to be projecting frustration with his own sub-par performance onto Barea and Cunningham.
Love is serious about his image and is protective of his NUMB#RS. This video is by now a cliche, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t mean anything.
Kevin Love’s image took a hit on Wednesday night’s loss. In one of the Wolves’ few nationally-televised games of the season–Love played downright bad basketball and looked nothing like an MVP candidate. In fact, Love’s performance was sub-par on both ends: he shot 4-20 from the field, and got lit up by Suns three-point specialist Channing Frye after repeatedly failing to close out on Frye three-point attempts. Love’s failure to close on active shooters like Frye and Ryan Anderson is not a new phenomenon, and is one of the few aspects of his game for which he can be legitimately criticized and for which he is not called out enough by writers, many of whom give him the benefit of the doubt because they love Love for his fat stats.
Gerald Green: Still Getting High
UPDATE (4:19 P.M. CST): It’s still unclear whether Suns guard Eric Bledsoe will play tonight, according to ESPN.
The Wolves play Phoenix tonight at 8:30 P.M. CST. You can see it on ESPN or listen on 830 WCCO. The 8:30 P.M. tip is an odd time for a Wolves home game. (Eds. Note: Earlier this season, the NBA amended its schedule so tonight’s game would start later than initially planned and be shown on national television, presumably because the NBA and ESPN were concerned that no one would want to watch the Kobe-less Lakers against the Houston Rockets–the game that was initially scheduled to be on ESPN at 8:30 P.M. tonight.)
But tonight’s tilt promises to be an extremely interesting game for fans–perhaps more so than Stern and Silver, LLP, expected when the game was pushed onto the national TV slate–as the Wolves will be taking on one of the League’s most enigmatic teams with which the Wolves are competing for a Western Conference playoff spot. (Eds. Note: The Suns are the rare NBA squad that’s enigmatic in a good way, basically the opposite of the way in which the Brooklyn Nets are enigmatic.)
The Suns are a breath of fresh air. They’re good. Really good, actually. They’re 20-13 thus far, good for a winning percentage of .606. The Suns have the 7th-best record right now in a stacked Western Conference. They trail the much-hyped Houston Rockets by just one game for the 6th spot in the West. The Suns’ record shines when compared to the Wolves’ 17-17 record. If the playoffs started today, the Phoenix Suns would be in the playoffs. The Minnesota Timberwolves–currently 10th in the West–would not.
Basketball usually isn’t funny. Watching the Timberwolves evokes a wide array of emotions of mine and, if you’re reading this, probably yours too. In recent seasons past the Wolves’ play has incited fans to boil with anger and discontent–the ones who didn’t walk away entirely, that is. With the exception of January 2009 and last season with Ricky, the overwhelming reaction to watching Wolves basketball has been negative. We’ve distracted ourselves in different ways, looking ahead to the umpteenth consecutive draft lottery or arguing about whether Kobe is actually better than Jordan. But laughter was rarely a part of the equation. Continue reading
As the Wolves season inches closer to its end, (we’ve been screaming ‘uncle’ for weeks now, it seems) I’ve taken a bit more interest in some of the team’s former players, many of whom are playing meaningful roles on competitive teams. After watching Randy Foye posterize the mighty Serge Ibaka last night on national tv (more on this, below) I thought it’d be fun to scan the league for former Timberpups making various levels of noise in their respective situations. Without further ado, here is your 2011-12 Minnesota Timberwolves Alumni Team: