I guess it’s 90s Movie Clips Week here at Punch-Drunk Wolves.
There isn’t a whole lot to say about tonight’s win at Target Center over the Milwaukee Bucks. The Wolves were supposed to win by a lot of points on their home court against the worst team in the NBA. They came out all too conscious that inevitability and fell behind early. Despite being owners of one of the league’s worst offenses, the Bucks made their first 12 field goals (!) and led 33-22 toward the end of the first quarter.
Throughout most of the first half, Kevin Love looked uninvolved and not particularly engaged. Ricky Rubio sat out more than usual after picking up his second foul. The Wolves trailed by 6 at the half.
Things got better in the second half, but never quite so good that you felt much of anything about the game. The Bucks are 13-51 after the loss, after all, and like I said, the Wolves were supposed to win and pretty much played like it.
There was a nice stretch in the third quarter when Ricky Rubio was running off of ball screens and creating scoring opportunities in a variety of ways. Ricky was probably the game’s MVP despite Love’s eventually-gaudy stat line of 27 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. On this night, Ricky’s by-far-and-away-best-in-the-game plus-minus of +24 seemed a lot more like causation than correlation. Time after time, he broke down the Bucks’ weak defense to to create scoring opportunities for himself (11 points) or others (10 assists). And on the other end, unlike many of his teammates for stretches of this game, he gave a crap about getting stops.
Of course, Rubio did make a few mistakes, and every one seemed to piss off Adelman. I’m not anti-Adelman at all, but I feel the need to beat this dead horse because it’s interesting and a little bit perplexing to me. If Ricky deviates from “the plan” and it doesn’t work, Adelman goes apeshit. This is every single time; not just once in a while. In tonight’s game Ricky missed 1 field goal and committed 1 turnover, yet it seemed Adelman was visibly upset after more than 2 Rubio plays. Oh well, it is what it is. Maybe Ricky’s improving in part because of it. He made one nice backdoor cut for a score off of a Love assist. I don’t think he knew how to cut when he arrived here. Perhaps he’s learning how to be an Adelman point guard which entails more versatility than he’s used to.
Anyway, the Bucks stopped shooting well and the Wolves got their hands dirty in the paint for some tough stops and rebounds, and an easy win was eventually had.
It just wasn’t a game to get excited about.
Hmmm, what else before wrapping this up…
St. Cloud’s Nate Wolters played a lot of minutes for the Bucks, as he has been all season. He looks very competent out there. Wolters knows how to execute basic pick-and-roll sets and seems to basically know what he’s doing on defense. He shares the floor with another point guard, Brandon Knight. He wasn’t good enough to be recruited by the Gophers (or, to be fair, any other major division one program) but he’s making due in the NBA. Maybe that’s due to his “limited natural ability.” (?)
Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t do much. The Greek Freak is fun to watch dribble, mostly for the same reasons that Kevin Durant is fun to watch dribble: He’s unbelievably tall, yet he dribbles like a guard. But that’s about where the comparisons stop. Giannis has a fascinating backstory and seems like a cool guy, but I’m not as sold as some on his potential as an impact NBA player. He has the physical tools though, so who knows. His range of possibilities spans just about the bottom to the top.
Next game is Friday at Charlotte. Al Jefferson has been on a tear and will probably score a lot against Pekovic. I guess the key is making Big Al work hard on the other end; something he’s never been keen on doing.
Season Record: 32-31