In the interest of getting some much-needed, early-in-the-week sleep, I’m doing this wrap in two parts–first and second half splits. So the first half is being written at halftime.
1st Half Notes
The first half–and especially the first quarter–was dominated by the Wolves two best healthy players: Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic. [Eds note: In hindsight, I should not have phrased that sentence that way. More on that in the 2nd Half.] Pek showed off a move that he’s clearly been working on with Coach Billy Bayno, the standard jump hook. He buried three of these with his right hand in the opening quarter and finished the half with an impressive 13 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. It’s hard to understate the importance of this new skill, because as defenders become forced to defend it honestly it will open up his go-to favorite, the drop step. We’ve seen Pek taking a hard right-hand dribble into the paint when defenders cheat to his right (baseline side/left block) shoulder and try jump hooks. He makes them sometimes. What we saw in the first half tonight was on the right block–more of a standard post hook. Pek improves at things. That’s mostly a credit to him but also to Rick Adelman’s coaching staff.
Continue reading →
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.
Continue reading →
Filed under Timberwolves
Tagged as Amare Stoudemire, Bill Simmons, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Jeremy Lin, kevin love, luke ridnour, martell webster, michael beasley, Rick Adelman, Rick Carlisle, ricky rubio, Vince Carter, Wes Johnson