GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Thursday, November 04, 2004

One And One

Well, the NBA season is off and running. The Wolves were unfortunate to have back to back games to start off the season, with the second game coming at Denver. Not only is Denver going to be one of the top teams in the league this year, but the thin air there can make playing very difficult for opposing teams, especially ones playing the second game of a back to back. In fact, even though the Nuggets might be a bit overrated (It remains to be seen how well K-Mart can play without Jason Kidd to constantly feed him alley-oops), the very strong home court advantage they have might help their win/loss record to exceed what you'd expect from a team with their level of talent. With all that said, tonight's game was a bit of a disappointment, although only a small one.

The Knicks game however, went basically as planned.

I've got to give some credit to the Knicks, they came out and played like a team inspired for the first quarter. I watched them as they did everything almost perfectly for the first quarter. But like a veteran Twolves fan, I didn't panic. I knew that given enough time, the Knicks would not be able to maintain that high level of play, and the Twolves skill would eventually overcome. Sure enough it happened, and after the first half, I never really felt like the game was in jeopardy. They just seemed so under control the whole time that you just knew the Knicks didn't have a chance.

Watching tonight's game, I got a bit of a feeling of deja vu. The Nuggets came out to make their first 4 shots of the game, but then the Wolves came rolling back to take a 5 point lead at half time.

At the beginning of the third quarter, the Wolves couldn't hit a shot to save their lives. At one point, they missed 8 in a row. Then, KG made two amazing blocks. Both of which he blocked, pinned it against the glass and then pulled it down, all with one hand.

Next, known Garnett hater (and questioner of his sexual orientation) Francisco Elson got himself ejected by smacking Garnett upside the head. The refs called a technical, but not a flagrant. Since he had already gotten one earlier, he got ejected. Looking at the replay, it appeared to me he deserved a flagrant, but it would be hard for the refs to see that in real time. Basically, he tried to make a play on the ball, but he looked like he really wound up and intended to go through the ball and into Garnett's face. Usually in a situation like that, you just stick your arm out there and swat at the ball, but Elson pulled his arm way back and went hard through the ball.

Next it was Cassell's turn to get ejected. After he fouled Earl Boykins, he sort of followed along the side of him and gave him a little extra bump. Kenyon Martin took offense to this and shoved Cassell. Then Cassell took the ball and threw it at Martin. Once order was restored, K-mart was given a technical and Cassell was given two (one for the original bump and one for chunkin' the ball at K-Mart). This was a completely botched call by the refs. If it hadn't been for K-mart's push, there would have been no technical given to Sam. His bump wasn't that hard, and to be honest, I've seen refs give continuation at the point were Sam bumped him. If Sam gets ejected here, then so does Martin.

When it came down to crunch time, Garnett came up huge, scoring 14 straight points to end regulation and send it to overtime. Still, it shouldn't have had to go to overtime. The Wolves free throw shooting was poor and making just 1 more than they did would have given them the W. They ended up a mediocre 15-21 at the end of the night, but a lot of the misses seemed to come when they needed them most. Since they didn't, the game went to OT and the Wolves lost a nail-biter.

It was a disappointment, and a game they should have won. Still, losing this game by no stretch is going to ruin our season. It was going to be a tough one to win going in, and the season is still young. So now the Wolves stand at 1-1 and have the Hornets on Saturday and a rather light schedule with only 3 games over the next 11 days.