Hi folks. I’m slammed at work today and don’t have time to write an in-depth preview of tonight’s game at Denver, which will be televised on ESPN. Mea culpa.
Good previews can be found here and here. And a whimsical preview of sort–with lots of good music–is up on Canis Hoopus.
So something fun, easy, and different.
We’re coming up on December–the beginning of firing season for NBA coaches. The fact that capable replacements–George Karl, Stan Van Gundy, Jeff Van Gundy, Lionel Hollins, and even Phil Jackson–are currently twiddling their thumbs at home doesn’t help the current crop of underperformers.
Several coaches might have job security issues this firing season. Randy Wittman is the obvious candidate to lose his job first. But there are dark horses out there, such as Cleveland’s Mike Brown (and his stanky leg offense), Brooklyn’s Jason Kidd (Prok isn’t afraid to do, well, anything), and New Orleans’ Monty Williams (losing a lot of games, not getting much out of Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans).
So which coach do you think loses his job first? Weigh in below.
The Wolves take on Rasheed Wallace and the Knicks Sunday afternoon at MSG
Coming off a signature win over the West-leading OKC Thunder, the Wolves take on the East-leading Knicks Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. The 13-11 Wolves will be without Kevin Love, who played one of his best one or two games of the season on Thursday, with 28, 11, and, perhaps most indicative of the way the Wolves played against OKC, a season-high 7 assists; the Wolves moved the ball better against the Thunder than in any game this season, and with only a minimal contribution from point guard extraordinaire Ricky Rubio, who’s still on a limited-minutes program as he completes his comeback from a season-ending knee injury.
Love’s minutes will be divided between much-maligned Derrick Williams and Dante Cunningham. Just when you think Derrick Williams won’t get any more chances, someone gets hurt, and Derrick Williams gets another chance. So far, he’s never done anything with any of them. Cunningham has exceeded expectations this season, and should give the Wolves the kind of steady but unspectacular performance Wolves fans have become accustomed to. The Wolves offense tends to flow better when Love isn’t on the floor, but there’s still no replacing his 20 & 13.
The Knicks are more than a worthy opponent, Love or no Love. A few things to watch for:
As you probably know, the Wolves have twice defeated the defending-champion Mavericks in this short season, each game by a decided margin of victory. Although I joined the excitement of other Wolves fans about last year’s worst dominating last year’s best, it was impossible not to notice two things about those games:
1) In the first game, Dirk wasn’t Dirk (as Bill Simmons explained yesterday, Dirk showed up for training camp way out of shape, not yet recovering from the championship hangover).
2) In the second game, Dirk wasn’t playing. (His legs were broken down from playing his way into shape, for the above reason.)
Last night’s game would include neither of those beneficial factors. After beginning the season 3-5, Dallas had won 12 of its last 18 games, returning to contender form. After his worst start to a season in over a decade, Dirk had finally caught fire. In the three games leading up to last night’s, Dirk was averaging over 26 points per game on 61.5 percent shooting. It appeared as though he’d be the matchup nightmare that fans have grown accustomed to watching.