(Eds. Note: Andy G and Patrick J clearly don’t know what to do with themselves over a long weekend because they both wrote preview posts, unbeknownst to the other. Here’s part deux.)
The Timberwolves are in Dallas to take on Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks tonight at 7:30 CST. The Wolves have lost three straight. They’re now 8-9. After getting off to a quick 7-2 start, this the first time this season the Wolves have been under .500.
‘Sota needs a reversal of fortune in a bad way. And by “fortune,” I mean “effort and execution.” They showed neither in Wednesday night’s home loss against Denver, a point that Rick Adelman lamented repeatedly in his terse post-game presser. Referring to the loss on the Wolves’ home court, Adelman said, “the players can’t expect the fans to pump them up. That’s backward. (The players) need to get the fans going.”
(Eds. Note: When you hear a coach emphatically describe how his team wasn’t ready to play and didn’t give the effort you expect from a group of professional athletes–his group of professional athletes–you immediately see the stark difference between a coach who has absolutely no concern about his job security and the majority who aren’t so lucky to have the same leash.)
It was clear that after three straight losses, Adelman has lost any patience with which he began the season for the Wolves’ propensity for unforced errors, lackadaisical defense, and their failure to do basic things–like, say, blocking out opposing bigs (and Andre Miller) on the defensive boards–for painfully long stretches in winnable games.
Worse than that, Adelman clearly knows he doesn’t have a magic bullet to use now that he needs one.
On Wednesday night, he made clear that he wasn’t any more pleased with the effort or execution of his second unit during their short second-quarter stint than he was with the starters, who again logged heavy minutes in the loss. Barring the unlikely scenario that Luc Richard Mbah a Moute managed to possess Kenneth Faried’s body after Wednesday’s game and brings Manimal’s energy, dogged effort, and physical dominance to the table, help will have to come from within the framework they’re already rolling with. Given the Wolves’ lack of bench talent, there’s really nowhere else to turn right now. (Eds. Note: It wouldn’t kill Adelman to give Gorgui Dieng a few token minutes here and there, even if he doesn’t have the juice to be a decisive factor in righting the Wolves’ ship.)
Things won’t get any easier tonight in Dallas. The Mavs have a solid team, and are off to a 10-7 start. They’re 8-1 at home.
Kevin Love’s remarks after the Denver loss–“We need to play some fucking defense”–are equally applicable to tonight’s game. Love will have his hands full trying to close out on Nowitzki’s long-range jumpers. Ditto for Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio, who’ll be tasked with checking Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon, who can both hurt you from the perimeter. Ellis also ranks as one of the game’s more able bucket-getters whilst slashing in the paint.
At small forward, Shawn Marion still plays with almost the same level of spastic speed and reckless abandon as Corey Brewer, whom he’ll be matched up against tonight. Regardless of how the game goes, at least we’ll be very likely to see some highly entertaining, turbo-boosted tomahawk slams from each player.
But let’s hope for more than that.
Let’s see if the Wolves show some pride and start to turn things around, hopefully picking up a win in the process to bring themselves back to .500.
And if not, we’ll always have this:
Enjoy the tilt.