GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Thursday, December 23, 2004

I Root for The Second Best Team in the League

Well, I was able to get off work a bit early today and watch almost the whole T-wolves game (it started 5pm PST). I enjoyed getting to see them but have to say I was disappointed at the result. Even though KG was having a really bad day, the Wolves shot over 50% in the first half to take an eight point lead. However, the tides turned rapidly and I think Flip put it best after the game:
"We lost the game in the first two minutes of the second half. Instead of controlling the tempo, we let them take control of the game and get back in it and they made it difficult to play them."
The Spurs put the defensive clamps on the Wolves and there was really no response. KG continued to flounder and no one else on the Wolves could really make much of a stand against the Spurs' suddenly methodical grind of solid play. Of course, that is the very reason why the Spurs are probably the best team in the league if the playoffs started today. I think the Wolves have (as Hubie Brown would say) more upside but frankly they seemed to still lack a team identity (I almost posted a rather lengthy team identity post a while back before I got sidetracked with my new job).

One of the biggest weapons the Wovles have is that if KG is having an off night offensively, they have many players who should be able to step in and fill the void. However, no one seemed willing to do so today. Players were getting open shots but I didn't sense any confidence in their decisions or fluidity in their offensive schemes once the Spurs stopped giving them easy buckets (like the Wolves got in the first half). Apparently Sam was barking at KG to take over the game but even great players (yes, this includes Jordan) can't always get it going on an off night. Frankly, because KG is so talented at doing just about everything, I think the Wolves need to just keep looking to feed off of his defense/rebounding/passing and never count on him taking over the game. Since KG is so selfless and plays so efficiently (always looks for the best team opportunity), the rest of the Wolves need to stay agressive and confident. One of the reasons I don't think the team has meshed yet (troubling to say the least since quite a bit of the season is gone).

Frankly, I think putting Kandi in the first, starting unit, was a big mistake. They got away with it in the first half but it ultimately screwed up the Wolves' continuity (I believe Madsen has been starting the last dozen games or so). Yes, he should be used as a defensive weapon and body vs. Tim Duncan but if I were Flip I'd go with Eddie -- ESPECIALLY since KG (their only other big man scorer) was struggling so much. I was glad to see Flip quickly ditch Kandi for Eddie early in the 3rd quarter when the Spurs started surging but I really think Flip should have left Eddie in for an extended period of time (he instead brought in horse face and then brought back Eddie a couple minutes later (and he had a cold shot at this point, go figure). While I love having Eddie's offensive punch in the second rotation, I think it really is time for Flip to insert him in as a starter and provide him with more consistent opportunities and time. I'm not worried that any pressure will get to him -- he knows that it's all on KG, Sam, and Spree anyway.

In other news, I decided when watching TNTs next game between the Kings and Heat that Dwyane Wade is even more of a pimp than the last time I saw him. It wasn't just the Pistons who screwed up in the draft a couple years ago but everyone who picked above Miami who passed on Wade -- he's now *clearly* #2 from that draft behind LeBron. Dwyane's quick rise to dominance reminds me of how Paul Pierce (after his stabbing) all of a sudden became a superstar. However, Dwyane has the more dynamic game and clearly a more level head on his shoulders -- and a mentor in Shaq rather than Antoine 'Hail Mary' Walker.