Tag Archives: J.J. Barea

A Basketball Fight (Heat 97, WOLVES 81)

The Wolves are depleted by injuries and totally removed from contention for a playoff spot.  So when the defending champs come to town and J.J. Barea gets into basketball’s version of a fight with a future hall of famer, that kind of steals the show.  As the replay makes clear, his foul on Ray Allen wasn’t THAT out of line.  He thought he was fouled on the other end going for a layup, and then again when Allen lightly shoved off in the backcourt.  So J.J. had enough and put some extra weight — to the extent the little guy has much to throw around — into a blocking foul that perhaps doubled as a body check.  Allen fell to the ground and flew up angry.

As is the case with all pro basketball players not named West or Peace (!) it was just a show.  Some woofing and “HOLD ME BACK” but no real harm done.  But the crowd enjoyed the uptick in feistiness — that is, until Barea was hit with an inexplicable Flagrant 2 and was ejected from the game.  That was quickly followed by Adelman’s own technical and a rare departure from Minnesota Nice that had Wolves fans lobbing all kinds of personal insults at the significant contingent of fans donning Miami Red and Black.  (This part was actually pretty stupid and made me feel like I was at an NFL game.  The Heat fans in my section weren’t provoking anything.)

What had the look of a surprisingly-competitive game (76-70 Miami led) quickly became a rout in favor of the road team.  After awarding Allen 3 free throws for the flagrant and technical, Alexey Shved had a 3-pointer waived off for “kicking.”  Then Dante Cunningham was whistled for a charge.  The Wolves became unglued and Dwyane Wade took over from there.  The final score was 97-81.

Some observations from the other 47 minutes and 59 seconds of action:

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A Professional Standard

Here’s the thing.  Everybody knows about the injuries and the unofficially-interim coach and the knee rehabilitation process and the 10-day contracts.  I could begin every single game wrap by laying out why the performance should be immune from criticism because it’s nobody’s fault but plain old bad luck’s.  But then there’s no point to going to the games and there’s certainly no point in writing about them for a hobby.  My dad drove up from the Rochester area to watch tonight’s game.  The couple next to us came down from St. Cloud.  People spent time and money to come watch professional basketball on a sub-zero night in Minneapolis.

So the least the team can do is hold itself to a professional standard.  In the fourth quarter tonight — WINNING TIME, as we call it — that did not happen.  In case you missed the game, it was a real struggle for Minnesota, but they scratched and clawed their way back into it, largely behind a Rubio and Williams rush of assists and buckets in the second half of the third quarter.  When each checked out of the game before the fourth quarter began, it was assumed by viewers that they’d be back soon.  Neither had played many minutes in the first half, and both certainly had plenty in the tank for the stretch run.

Dante Cunningham hit a pair of jumpers and the Wolves trailed by just 2 points with slightly over 10 minutes to play.

And then J.J. went crazy.

And not in a good way.

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Raining in Philly (Wolves 105, 76ers 88)

Was it 2007 all over again in Philly tonight? Josh Howard thought so.

“We need to get some type of roll going here and, like I said, you do it by winning on the road.”  Much of Rick Adelman’s post game presser (televised on FSN North) focused on the Wolves getting on a roll.  Clearly impressed by a dominant win over a solid Philadelphia 76ers team, Coach is smelling blood on this East Coast back-to-back and it’s coming from Boston.  Tomorrow night, the Wolves take on Kevin Garnett and the Celtics.  If you watched the game tonight, you can’t really blame him for looking ahead like a guy playing with house money.  This was the best his team has looked all season.  Which is strange, when you consider that Kevin Love, continuing the search for his shooting stroke, had just 6 points on 2-10 shooting.  (Before I forget though, Love was a beast on the defensive glass and his 5 assists reflect a quick maturation from earlier games when he met cold shooting with forced action.  He shared the ball tonight.)  It’s doubly strange when you consider that Nikola Pekovic had an inefficient 6 points, and 5 rebounds in 27 minutes of action.  Pek never found a groove all night.  The Timberwolves’ two best healthy players struggled, yet they won by 17 points on the road against a team that played in Game 7 of last year’s Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.

So what exactly was going so well?

Everything else.

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Alexey Shved!  What a comeback!  I was at my wits’ end in that 3rd Quarter when the barrage of Brooklyn bombs rained down from three-point land and the Wolves couldn’t get a stop to save their life.  This bit of resignation sums it up best:

Let’s take it from the top…

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Game Recap: Clint Eastwood Edition (RAPTORS 105, Wolves 86)

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.

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What J.J. Worry?

The NBA announced on Wednesday that it will fine players guilty of “any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player.”  The league elaborated just a bit: “The primary factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.”  In other words, flopping.  You all know what it is.  It’s not suitable for legal definition, but like Justice Potter Stewart said of pornagraphy, “I know it when I see it.”  When Chris Paul is dribbling, the slightest touch from a defender is met with his body flailing backwards as if he had the body weight of a feather and balance of a drunk.  European and South American players are sometimes blamed for bringing this tactic to American hoops, with their respective nations’ soccer tradition poisoning our sport.  Luis Scola, Anderson Varejao and Manu Ginobili carry on the torch passed down from Vlade Divac. Continue reading

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INBOX: Target Practice, the Pau and Monta Edition


RUMINT has it that the Lakers would throw in Pau's Ed Hardy shirt for a conditional second-rounder, which Kahn demanded as a part of any trade

Patrick J: With all rumors swirling around Pau Gasol, the only thing for a hard-up blogger to do is fire up the good ol’ trade machine.

Wolves get:
Pau Gasol
Darius Morris

Lakers get:
Michael Beasley
Derrick Williams
Wes Johnson
Luke Ridnour

In this two-team trade, the Wolves’ lineup would look something like:

PG – Rubio
SG – Barea
SF – Webster
PF – Love/Randolph/Tolliver
C – Gasol/Pekovic
6th man: Pekovic

The Wolves end up with a Pau, Ricky, K-Love core. Barea and Webster are arguably upgrades over Johnson and Ridnour as starters at the 2 & 3. Pek is a matchup nightmare against opposing teams’ second units. We still have one high-upside enigma with Anthony Randolph. (One’s enough, right?)

An elephant in the room common sense question is whether the Wolves would be competitive in a Pau Sweepstakes.

John Hollinger’s (Insider) column suggests the answer may be no:

“It’s not hard coming up with dance partners, that’s for sure. Send him to Houston for Luis Scola,Goran Dragic, Marcus Morris and Chase Budinger, and the Lakers suddenly fill four rotation spots with one deal while saving several million on luxury tax; deal him to Indiana for David West,George Hill and Dahntay Jones and you accomplish a similar feat. These aren’t the only possibilities; one can build similar trades with several other teams, ones that don’t bring back a talent on Gasol’s level but plug so many gaps that it may be worth it anyway.”

Can a Williams/Beasley/Ridnour/Johnson package compete with Scola/Dragic/Morris/Budinger or West/Hill/Jones? We know the Rockets really want Gasol, and that’d be a pretty strong offer. What do you think?

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