With Ricky on the mend (surgery this Wednesday), the season hitting the homestretch, and the Wolves’ playoff hopes looking dimmer by the day (now 2.5 games behind Houston for the 8 seed), there is less and less to add to the discussion with these game wraps. With that in mind, I’ll share a few brief observations about each Wolves player from this disappointing loss that may not come through in the newspaper:
- Kevin Love – Offensively, this was a struggle. He focused his efforts on the interior and ran into some lengthy King defenders. 21 points on 7 for 20 shooting is less than ideal for K-Love. Defensively, he did a very solid job on DeMarcus Cousins. I did not understand comments from Jim Peterson and tweets from Jerry Zgoda suggesting this was a matchup problem for the Wolves. Kevin forced DeMarcus into ill-advised jumpers, and contested hook shots. He shot something like 1 for 7 from the floor before Adelman put AR15 on Cousins. DMC had success after the switch, scoring multiple times in a row on Randolph.
- Wes Johnson – Similar to Love, he played a nice defensive game, but struggled on offense. 2 points in 28 minutes was as brutal as it sounds, but he made 3 acrobatic blocks in the first half that helped keep the Wolves in it.
- Luke Ridnour – This was a somewhat uncharacteristic game for Luke in how careless he was with the ball. 2 assists to 5 turnovers is unacceptable for a point guard.
- Martell Webster – A solid, if unspectacular performance for Martell. He hit some shots, drew fouls and converted free throws, and didn’t hurt us on defense. 14 points is about what we need from him.
- Michael Beasley – Came out gunning, and mostly hitting. He ended up 6 for 16 from the floor, which is slightly misleading. He (to his credit) attempted a 70-footer at the 3rd Quarter buzzer, and had a sequence where he kept missing and collecting the rebound. I think those accounted for 4 of his 10 misses. Overall, his shooting accuracy was good. Still, his intensity level looks low, and I don’t think he and Barea can share the floor if both are going to dominate the ball so much.
- Derrick Williams – Pretty nice game for the rook, off the bench. He scored 16 points in a variety of ways, and also collected 9 boards and 2 dimes without a single turnover. He shared the court with the Barea/Beasley/Randolph Motley Crew that didn’t help with anybody’s +/- numbers (-11 for D-Thrill) but all in all I can’t say anything bad about his performance in this game.
- J.J. Barea – I guess he had 4 assists, but he seemed to hijack the offense (along with B-Easy) when he came in. His (-9) seems more reflective of how he played in this game than his otherwise-respectable stats. As indicated above, I don’t feel too comfortable with he and Beasley on the floor together.
- Anthony Randolph – A very Randolphian game. High energy, lots of stuff in the box score, and a few head-scratching moments. In just 20 minutes, the guy gets you 10 points (on 5-8 shooting) 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 3 turnovers. Seriously, this guy could deserve a consistent role on a team that didn’t have Love and Pekovic on it. He does a lot of things that make for a nice reserve big man. He also seems to give a crap, which is important for tall players (sometimes you wonder if seven-footers are in basketball primarily because of their height, and not so much because they love the game.)
All in all, an ugly game. This team misses Ricky Rubio more than even I expected. Its offense spirals out of control in a hurry and its defense cannot prevent dribble penetration any longer. As I write this, Adelman is making his post-game remarks and he sounds pretty disgusted with the entire effort. I can’t say I disagree. The game was approached more like a pickup game, and the Kings handed it to em. With no draft pick coming in the lottery, the team doesn’t have a tanking incentive shared by many other teams this time of year. Perhaps Rick can figure out a way to end the season with dignity.
Season Record: 22-24