Don’t worry, no Invisible Obama here.
The Good – Andrei Kirilenko
This was exactly the type of performance we hope to see from AK47. The energetic Russian was all over the floor, putting together a vintage across-the-board stat line of 17 points (on 6-7 shooting) 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 1 steal.
The Bad – Guard Play
Things were looking okay for the road team when J.J. Barea came in and continued his excellent play from Friday’s opener. In just 8 minutes of action, Barea had 9 points and an assist and the score was 34-35 in Toronto’s favor when Barea was inadvertantly kicked in the head (and mildly concussed) by teammate Dante Cunningham. From that point forward, without J.J., Toronto outscored us 70-52.
With Barea in the doctor’s office, the Wolves had some of the worst guard play seen since the Flynn Era. (Which, I suppose, wasn’t that long ago. Still…) Brandon Roy had 2 points and 5 turnovers at halftime. He’d finish the game with 4 points and 0 assists. In the 1st Half, when playing aggressively, Roy seemed to have no ability to get past a defender and forcing it only made things worse. Luke Ridnour hit a few jumpers, but was often careless with the ball and mostly unable to create quality shot opportunities for his ‘mates. This game reminded of the pre-Rubio days when possessions would end with Mike Beasley relied upon for dribble jumpers when nobody else could do anything to get a defender off balance. Luke had 4 turnovers to go along with his 5 assists. Alexey Shved looks nervous. His 3 turnovers could’ve been 4 or 5 had some careless passes not been fumbled by would-be intercepting Raptors. To his credit, he made a few things happen late in the game–too late to make a difference in the outcome.
The Ugly – Tomorrow Night’s Matchup
With J.J. joining Ricky on the shelf (he won’t clear league-mandated concussion tests within 24 hours, I don’t think) the backcourt woes will be a huge problem against one of the league’s best. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson are big, strong and ridiculously talented guards. Let’s hope Pek does a Jim Peterson impression and abuses Brook Lopez on the low block to compensate. That might be our only chance…
A couple bullets:
* When I wrote about Alan Anderson this morning, I wasn’t expecting that he’d make a big impact on the game. But he did, scoring 18 points in 31 minutes of action. The Minneapolis native plays the kind of defense you’d expect from a Tom Izzo-coached player.
* Derrick Williams was so-so, tonight. He rebounded okay, with 8 total in 26 minutes. But 9 points isn’t enough, especially on a night when the team needed an impact player on offense.
Let’s wish J.J. a speedy recovery. We might need it.
Season Record: 1-1