GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

Although we lost for the thirds straight time, there were some optimistic things that came out of the game. First was Garnett's amazing performance, setting a franchise high with 47 points. Right from the start, he looked ready to go right from the start and never let up.

This is going to sound a bit crazy, but despite giving up a season-high 122 points, the Wolves defense actually looked pretty decent. The score had a lot more to do with the Suns amazing offense than lackadaisical defense. Several times, Amare drove to the hole and looked like he just hit a brick wall. Despite this, the ball would emerge a second later and find its way into the basket. Other times, the Wolves seemed to stifle the Suns for about 20 seconds, only to have the Suns hit a long range jumper just in time.

I'm a big fan of the Steve Nash, fast-break style offense that the Suns employ, and I'd like to see the Wolves try and do more of it. On almost every single possession, the Suns would try and push the ball up the court. It is something that you can do if you have a fast and intelligent point guard. Just push the ball quickly up the court and probe the defense before it gets set up. If there's nothing there, just pull the ball out and set up your half court offense. It is a perfect way to get high percentage shots that will net you more points than an average possession.

Finally, the Wolves were able to end on a positive note. The Suns had gotten up by 21 points, and I had all but given up on the game. Then, they came storming back. All of a sudden we were down by only 6, and this was due in large part to the Wolves employing an offensive style like I describe above. Also, KG turned into a monster and started eating everybody on the court.

The Suns helped the Wolves out quite a bit by shooting a ton of threes down the stretch. One of the problems with relying on threes to account for a lot of your scoring is that it's a horribly inconsistent shot. When you're in a game and you're up by a fairly significant margin, you should be looking for a shot as close to the basket as possible, in order to maximize consistency. When you're already up by quite a bit, who cares if you win by 10 or by 20? What happened tonight to the Suns was almost disastrous, because they became content to run the shot clock down and huck up a three. Had their shots been going in, they would have won by 20. As it was, they almost blew it. This is a big part of the reason it's important to have a dominant big man in the NBA. Being able to be consistent at the end of games is like having a good closer in baseball. It allows you to win the games you're supposed to win.

In other good news, the Wolves next two games are against Charlotte and Philly.

The Bad

Of course, despite some of the positive signs I saw from the Wolves tonight, they still lost--dropping their record to a mediocre 16-13. They still have lots of work to do.

Also, if you take away the performances of KG and Sam, the Wolves shot a pathetic .395 (17-43) from the field. Take away Wally's numbers and this drops to .303 (10-33). One of the strengths of this year's Wolves team is it's depth, and if we're going to win a championship, we need our guys to do a little better than 30%.

The Ugly

Eddie G had another sub-par night shooting. He missed his first 3 3-pointers of the night that he attempted. Not only did he miss them, they weren't even close. I've noticed this a lot lately about his shots. It just seems like he's forcing the ball a little bit right now. We need him to relax a little and just let the ball flow out of his hand. Maybe we should introduce him to Lamar Odom, who could hook him up with some ganja.

After missing his first three, Eddie completely redeemed himself by making his next two. Then he completely un-redeemed himself by air-balling an 18-footer, missing the rim by at least a foot. Then, he got blocked 3 times in a row on the same possession.

Also, I'm not exactly sure what transpired near the end of the game, but Amare was on a fast break and Spree fouled him but he still made the basket. Then, for some reason, he bounced the ball at Spree, and Spree retaliated by throwing the ball back at him. They both got technicals, and for Stoudemire, it was his second, so he got ejected.