Nearing the End

The Timberwolves split their weekend back-to-back; games 79 and 80 of this 2012-13 season that reaches its final pages this week.  On Friday they narrowly lost at Utah to a Jazz team desperate for wins, one game behind the Kobe-less Lakers in the pursuit of the opportunity to be swept by the Thunder or Spurs eighth seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.  I missed that game.  The box score tells me that Al Jefferson had 40 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists.  I bet that was fun to watch for Big Al fans like myself.

I attended Saturday’s game — the win — against the lowly Phoenix Suns.  With Pekovic joining Love on the injured list, the team’s 30th win was not an inevitability, even against the Suns.  This was especially true after the WESLEY JOHNSON ABERRATION that was the first quarter.  Smilin’ Wes had 11 early points and looked nothing like the player we watched for two years at Target Center.  But Wes cooled off (he finished with 15 total points), the Suns turned it over 27 times (!) and Ricky Rubio scored a career-high 24 points for an unusually (for this time of year) fun game to watch, in front of an unusually (for this time of year) big Target Center crowd.  Seriously, congrats to the Timberwolves ticket sales team for filling up the lower bowl and probably half the upper deck for an April 13 tilt against the Suns.  Perhaps this is a small reward for not tanking.  (Well, except for this coddling of Pek’s calf…)

Two more to go this week.

Tomorrow night Big Al comes back for more Wolf blood, this time at the place he called home for 3 seasons.  It’s worth the occasional look-back at Jefferson’s time in the Twin Cities because he is — ignoring for now what this says about the franchise — one of the greatest Timberwolves of all time.  His 2008-09 season that was foiled by his ACL tear was mighty impressive, what with 23 & 11 per-game averages and the first sign of post-Garnett life that the team had shown.  Tomorrow night his team needs a win something fierce.  The Jazz are a game out of the playoffs. (That’s as I type these words — the Lakers are currently battling the Spurs in a game that will shift the differential to either 0.5 or 1.5 games).  Utah will be putting it all on the line tomorrow night, which is kind of fun to watch as not-overly-interested-in-the-result fans.

Wednesday is the season finale, at San Antonio.  Even if that game means the difference between the 1 and 2 seed for the Spurs — and it might — it seems more Popovichian to rest his stars for the soon upcoming playoffs.  I don’t really know what to expect from that game, which could be the last one that Rick Adelman ever coaches.

We’ll do our best to continue posting regularly around here.  The Playoffs — Timberwolves included or not — are the overwhelmingly-best part of the NBA Season and we’ll be watching, tweeting and probably posting here, too.  Pat and I cheer quite differently for non-Timberwolves teams.  Well, aside from the Knicks — we’ve both long been Melo fans and find common ground there.  But we’ll probably have some INBOX posts as we follow the journey to a new champion.  Later this week we’ll have some SEASON IN REVIEW post(s) as well, along with continued look-aheads to the draft and off-season.  There’s enough to keep the conversation moving.

Thanks for reading and Go Wolves.

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