Mark Cuban can make it rain. But does he? (No, he says. Read here why.) Can the Wolves make it rain tonight in Dallas? What about Juice and Dirk? Am I mixing metaphors? Could you tell if I weren’t? (RHETORICAL!)
Okay, so the Wolves take on the Mavs in Dallas Monday evening after suffering an exhausting, frustrating loss last night in San Antonio. Dallas (15-23) recently fell to 10 games under .500 for the first time in 13 years last week. But Big D has since begun to pick up the slack. Dirk & co picked up a 117-112 overtime win at Sacramento, and followed it up by destroying Western Conference Contender Memphis Grizzlies 104-83 on Saturday. Dirk is coming back to form, just as the Wolves are settling into a Love-less reality.
Which Mavs team will show up tonight? Who knows? But it does look like the Wolves are catching Dallas on an upswing, not the downswing they were on a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Wolves are in the midst of a fairly horrible downswing of their own. So, for the sake of argument, let’s say that “momentum” – whatever that is – is in Dallas’ favor.
What’s wrong with the Wolves? Injuries, coaching, and shooting, for starters. More below the fold.
Love’s out. Roy’s never playing again. Budinger’s early impact seems like a pipe dream; his return seems like a mirage. Rubio is still coming off the bench. Luke looks gimpy. Dante Cunningham is great, just not as a starter. As ever, the Wolves come into this one as a patchwork group of misfits. They’re expected to win as a cohesive unit. How that’s going to happen remains a mystery?
Rick Adelman still isn’t back. It’s cause for concern, either because his personal situation is extremely grave and urgent, and/or because he may not be coming back. Adelman is a borderline HoF coach. We need him. Neither of those scenarios is good. I hope the Adelmans are doing as well as they can given whatever circumstances they’re facing; I also hope that Rick is able to get back on the sidelines soon. Terry Porter’s not a good coach. He did coach Milwaukee to a .500 record in ‘03-04, leading to a playoff appearance and swift 4-1 defeat by Detroit. The next season, the Porter-led Bucks were 32-50. TP got another chance in Phoenix in ‘08-09, after Mike D’Antoni left, but was fired 51 games into his first season after a 28-23 (.54) start. Porter and newly acquired Shaquille O’Neal didn’t mesh well. The fact of the matter is, anyone who has watched any Porter-led squad can’t help but walk away underwhelmed at best. He was a great, heady player, and a great veteran leader for the Wolves when Kevin Garnettt was a young pup. But he’s unimpressive as a coach, and having him as our coach isn’t helping, and may be hurting, our chances of winning games right now. The Wolves should’ve used Adelman’s absence to try out Jack Sikma or Bill Bayno for a limited stint. The fact that they defaulted to experience – Porter – makes me more concerned than I already was that Adelman may not be coming back anytime soon.
The Wolves are having all kinds of shooting woes. Losing Love and Budinger has killed us. Shved is cold as of late. This may be the only area in which Ricky’s return stunts the Wolves’ overall progress. We can’t hit a shot to save our lives, it feels.
As I commented earlier today on Andy G’s game wrap from last night:
It’s kind of mentally draining watching the Wolves shoot so poorly. I’m not sure that I’ve ever in my NBA-watching life (20+ years) seen a guard with a shot as ugly as Ricky’s. Another guard whom I love and who has a fugly jumper, Rajon Rondo, isn’t even in the same stratosphere as Rubio. Can’t they rent him some Dick Vitale videos or some shit?*
We’ll see what happens tonight. The Wolves could use a W for a lot of reasons.