This was a blowout. Blowouts are difficult to analyze. It’s difficult to bring myself to write about it, and it’s difficult to put stats in the proper perspective when most of them meant nothing. The first quarter was close, mostly because the Wolves pounded the glass to rebound their own misses. When that stopped working, the glass-crashing led to Memphis points a plenty in transition. The Grizz won the middle quarters by a combined 55 to 36. Aside from in transition defense–primary or secondary–the Wolves kept fighting and managed to cut the deficit to 11 with 7:33 to go. But that happens in blowouts, and it didn’t matter. The Grizz put their starters back in and closed er down. It was a blowout.
What went wrong? (Besides “everything.”)
Not my favorite backcourt tandem.
1 – Johnson & Gelabale
Nobody quite knew what to expect from the 10 Day Wonders now that Rick Adelman was back with the team. He hadn’t coached them, as each guy joined the team after Adelman’s departure. Tonight, with Nikola Pekovic also returning to the lineup, there was no time for Chris Johnson. Pek was revealing his new bear tattoo (I haven’t seen it yet, I’m just trusting @steventurous on this one) and earned all of his 37 minutes of action. He put up a 17 & 12 line. Greg Stiemsma played the other 11 center minutes. Eventful ones. He took a flagrant-two cheapshot from Matt Barnes, prompting an ejection. A moment later, he knocked over one Clipper (flagrant-one) and was shoved in the back by Caron Butler. Technical foul. Stiemer was mixing it up and played okay. In any case, no Chris Johnson tonight. In some ways, he was missed. The Clips have a ridiculously athletic front court pairing in Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and crucial rebounds were lost; often times the “high in the air” variety.
Mickael Gelabale played a solid 16 minutes of action — solid defensively. He shot a forgettable 0 for 2 from the floor, but was noticeably disruptive on defense. He had 3 steals. I suspect his minutes will stay as long as Budinger is out. The Wolves wing defense is suspect and Gelabale is quite obviously a solid defensive player who frustrates the basic things like a post entry pass. He was a +4 in tonight’s game.
The injury-depleted Wolves limp into Charlotte tonight for a 7:30 PM Eastern tilt against the Bobcats. Fresh off a 114-101 loss to the Wiz last night in The District (see our video diary of the night here) the Wolves will again be running in a 10-man pack, remaining Love-less and waiting for a Pek (*that’s what she Shved* [h/t Anthony Downs]).
I have a dream, that Wolves fans will be seeing lots more plays like this…
MLK Day Wolves games are the best. Sam Mitchell won’t be walking through that door, so it won’t be quite like the good ol’ days, but the Wolves are on a one-game winning streak, and that’s better than an any-game losing streak.