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
9 responses to “Royal Beatdown (KINGS 115, Wolves 99)”
Nice game wrap, Andy. I appreciate your constructive perspective, as opposed to the (sort of tempting) “sky is falling” take. I really hope Pek is able to play tomorrow, as that’s obviously by far our best shot at a win during the rest of this road trip. Having Adelman on the bench gives me some confidence that the rest of the season won’t be a complete disaster.
Hey, thanks. And I agree about Pekovic. At least if he and Love are out there, the Wolves have an advantage up front. In this game, Thomas and Thornton were miles ahead of our backcourt and Thompson and Cousins probably played our big guys to a draw.
What should we look for in this final stretch? I would like to see Beasley shine now that trade talks are finished, but he REALLY looks numb to what happens on the floor. Both good and bad. I guess Derrick Williams progress would be first on my wish list for the remaining games. (That, and no more serious injuries.)
I didn’t watch the game closely at all, but I happened to be focused when Beasley had his volleyball exhibition. I was stunned that in that sequence not a single foul was called. It looked like Beas got hit every time he went up with the ball.
Was the whole game called that loosely?
Since you asked, I went back to look at the foul shooting stats: The Wolves were a whopping 17 of 17 from the line and the Kings were 19 for 21… when is the last time two teams combined for such a high percentage of makes?
Anyway, to your point, there were a couple of times (as is often the case) where Love was mixing it up pretty good with opponents and was really upset at the no-call. Unlike what I’ve noticed in prior Kings games, DMC actually got some calls to go his way (normally, I get the sense that refs are out to get him a little bit, due to his antics and reputation.)
But other than a few examples (that can maybe just be chalked up to home court advantage) the refs didn’t hurt us too badly in this game. The biggest problem, that I failed to even address, was the Wolves letting King guards waltz down the middle of the lane to wreak havoc in all sorts of ways. The on-ball defense was bad, the help defense was bad… it was all pretty bad. (Except for K-Love on Cousins, I stand by that point.)
This was about as bad as we’ve seen all year. In some ways, I think about the Utah game, though. They really competed in Utah, and had they managed to pull that one out, this one probably would not be feeling so much like a disaster, and more like a severe disappointment. As it is, it does feel like the thing is getting out of control; 3 straight losses highlighted by last night’s fiasco will do that.
They desperately miss Rubio at both ends of the floor. One of the problems they have now is that there is never more than one guy on the floor who can handle the ball. It puts tremendous pressure on Ridnour, who I think is doing his absolute best. But when your wing players can’t dribble, it makes his job extremely hard. He struggles defensively when guys drive on him, but he had a couple of extraordinary defensive plays in transition last night, before things got out of hand.
Apparently Gilbert Arenas is working out for the Grizzlies today. Even if he’s a shell of his old self, I’m curious why the Wolves didn’t pursue him immediately after the Rubio news, or at least after the early results of that bad loss to New Orleans. Perhaps Adelman had strong, negative feelings toward Agent Zero… otherwise, it seems like it would have been worth a shot. Very low risk, and potentially a move that could have kept the playoff ship sailing further into March and maybe April.
I think there is a bit of a culture of passivity with the Wolves FO. We’ve talked about it before–they rarely bring in guys on 10 days, they don’t create flexibility with roster spots, etc.
Contrast that to Houston. They don’t do everything right, but they made a decision that they weren’t going to bottom out when they lost T-Mac and Yao. You can argue that was not the right choice (though I appreciate it), but they do things. As a result, they wind up with guys who don’t always work out (Terrence Williams), but they are constantly looking for an advantage. An upgrade. Criticize them for cutting Jeremy Lin, but at least they brought him in to camp. They try to find an extra win. The Wolves sometimes seem like they just hope.
That sounds about right. I guess I’ll withhold judgment on Arenas specifically until I see what, if anything, he does in a Grizz uniform. But if he looks like a capable dribbler and scorer, that alone will make me wish the Wolves had signed him for 10 days to get a look.
I’m in the minority here, but if I were looking at guys in this category, I wouldn’t stop (or maybe even start) with Arenas. I’d probably give Iverson a look. There are serious question marks, surrounding his current ability as well as his personal baggage, but if you can get a low risk flyer on one of these guys, I think you take it. We’re playing ourselves out of the playoffs as it is.