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:
Former Wolves guard Mike Miller and those other guys host the Wolves tonight in Miami
The Wolves take their talents to Miami tonight to play the incumbent Finals champions, after losing a winnable game against the Magic Monday night in Orlando. Well, maybe not all their talents: Ricky Rubio is not expected to play in tonight’s game, as part of a program that will have him avoiding back-to-backs until he’s cleared by team medical staff. Rubio, who struggled last night, will never say never, however, suggesting there’s a chance that he will play tonight if his knee isn’t too sore.
The Wolves could certainly use Rubio, even with Ricky coming off a subpar performance against the Magic where the rust clearly showed. Rubio ended the night with 0 points, 4 assists, and 3 turnovers in 16 minutes of action last night after having a nice Ricky-like 8/9/4/3 line in Saturday’s win over Dallas.
Against the Heat, the Wolves need Rubio far more than they did against Dallas or Orlando, and not just because the Heat are (by far) the best of the three teams. Why? Continue reading
The B.S. Report podcast, when NBA-focused, is probably my favorite going right now. Joe House, a Wizards fan and funny dude, makes a good sidekick for Simmons when talking all the latest in pro hoops. But in their recent discussion about Ray Allen, Simmons said something that I took issue with:
Simmons: I think the thing people miss with Ray and the reason him and Rondo struggle to play together and struggle to get along.. Ray’s a… you know… everybody.. has to chip in to help Ray succeed. He’s runnin’ off double and triple screens. The point guard’s gotta pound the ball, twenty-five feet from the basket, for five, six seconds waiting for Ray to come around all these different things. And I think Rondo is starting to get frustrated. That, you know, they’re devoting so much time to helping Ray succeed, almost at the expense of his game. And when [Avery] Bradley was in there and Rondo could just do whatever he wanted, Bradley’s doing backcuts, all that stuff. That was such a better fit for Rondo’s game. I think that was part of the problem.
House: But that was just something that came to light last season. It’s not like that’s been going on for a long time. And it happened to coincide with, you know, Ray’s physical aging curve. He’s right at, kind of, the end of his career.
Even though Joe House did a solid job of quickly explaining Simmons’ comment away, it still bugged me when I listened to it. For two reasons: Continue reading