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.
Note to Rick Adelman: Don’t let Alexey Shved near this man tonight. (Wait, Alexey couldn’t get near him if he tried. Nevermind.)
The Wolves are at home for tonight’s tilt against the Cavaliers. The tip is at 7 P.M. CST. You can watch it on FSN (most of you) or League Pass (me).
The Wolves will try to undo some of the damage witnessed in their horrific first-three quarters performance on November 4, which presaged a Wolves run in the fourth quarter that fell a Kevin Love buzzerbeater away from a huge comeback win. (Eds. Note: Andy G and Patrick J attended the November 4 game in Cleveland. A photo diary of the festivities can be seen here.)
Rubio-Irving is the marquee matchup. Ricky is a flashy point guard who’s leading the league in steals and is one of the best defensive point guards in the business. As Wolves watchers know too well, Ricky has his problems shooting the ball, and with scoring more generally. Irving is Rubio’s mirror opposite in many ways, excepting the flashiness part: Kyrie is arguably the best pure-shooting point guard in the League not named Stephen Curry, but he struggles mightily on defense.
Ironically, Mike Brown executed perhaps the best in-game strategy of any opposing coach this year to exploit Ricky’s shooting ineptitude, daring Rubio to take open shots and doubling down hard on Wolves post players, who struggled to get any interior offense going against the Cavs’ collapsed, outsized defensive trio of Anderson Verejao, Tristan Thompson (!), and Andrew Bynum, the last of whom has been moved into the starting lineup in place of Verejao.
The Wolves might consider executing a similar strategy by trying to bait Dion Waiters into taking long jumpers whilst shading Kevin Martin to help against Cleveland’s bigs.