GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Friday, January 07, 2005

Wolves/Sixers Quarter by Quarter


Just minutes before tipoff, I find out that Iverson is out. I've got mixed feelings about this. It's good for the Wolves because it should make the game easier to win. On the other hand, I'm sort of disappointed by it. First of all, I really enjoy watching Iverson play. I think he's one of the most exciting players in the NBA to watch, and he's shorter than me! In addition, I start to wonder what would happen to the Wolves actually managed to lose this game. This is a 76ers team that we beat by 35 points earlier this season, and this time we're playing them at home without their superstar. We couldn't lose this game, could we?

First Quarter

Both teams come out sloppy, and Kandi comes out smackin' stuff. In less than 3 minutes, he's forced to go to the bench with 2 fouls. To replace him, we bring in perennial all-star Mark Madson. Madson's in for several minutes when he injures his hand and leaves for the game and is replaced by future hall-of-famer Irvin "Horse Face" Johnson. I had to wonder why Flip didn't use either of these opportunities to bring in Eddie. I know he's dropped off a bit lately, but do you really want to bring in either of those other guys when your offense is stagnant? My only guess is that Flip wants Eddie playing with the second unit (a unit that was absolutely terrible tonight), and that he was just using Maddog and Horse Face to fill in the gaps.

The quarter ends with Sam (5-7 FG, 10 pts, 2 assists) the only Wolf who played well on the offensive end. KG had an interesting quarter, shooting 0-6 but with all the missed shots out there, he was at least able to grab 7 rebounds. This has to be one of the sloppiest quarters I can ever remember watching.

Second Quarter

This quarter, the game actually started to look like it was a real NBA game. The Wolves came out strong and looked determined not to lose to this hapless team. We could have really done it too, had it not been for the offensive rebounding of the 76ers. At one point, they scored on 6 straight possessions, and not because they were making every shot they took. Still, the Wolves managed to grow the lead to 12 points. Then Screamin' A came on and said that the game was still close. I'm not really sure what he was looking for, but a 12 point lead in the second quarter is pretty big. Then--as if I was being punished for my internal mocking of Mr. A--the Wolves proceeded to not score for the rest of the quarter, taking a slim 6 point lead to the locker room.

Third Quarter

After blowing our chance to put hurt on during the second quarter, I was hoping to see the Wolves come out strong. They did just that. Lead by Wally, who at one point scored 10 points in a row for the Wolves, they were able to bump the lead up to as many as 16. One area where Wally has really been able to improve this year is his ability to move without the ball. There were several times during this run where he would just get himself open right underneath the basket. This is a great way for Wally to get points, since it doesn't involve him dribbling. Wally's recent success has been largely due to his ability to stay within himself. He's been taking open jump shots, making strong moves toward the hoop, and moving without the ball.

The Wolves kept a large lead for a long time, but couldn't get to the point where they had just put the game away.

Then, with 2:41 left in the quarter, Flip decided to take out KG. I was skeptical of this move, because Sam was already out and it left us with Kandi, Eddie, Wally, Troy, and Hasell on the floor. It just seemed like Flip had decided too early that we had the game won, and was trying to give Garnett some extra rest. However, the way things have been going for the Wolves, I would have liked to have seen KG stay in until we could get that 20 point lead, then with 7 minutes left (or so) in the 4th, we could have taken him out and sat him for the remainder of the game. As it was, the Wolves (again) didn't score for the remainder of the quarter and the lead was cut to 7. The run continued into the beginning of the fourth quarter, when they scored the first 4 and cut the lead to 3.

Fourth Quarter

I was pleased to see Garnett back in the game at the beginning of the quarter. I know Flip was really hoping to rest him quite a bit longer, but we could no longer risk it. Less than a minute later, Sam came back in. During the times Troy was in there during the second half, the Wolves were outscored 15-2. Against the Bobcats, he played 15 minutes and had 5 turnovers. I know Hudson feels like he's been unfairly singled out, but with performances like this, how can you not look at him and hold him at least partially responsible?

Shouldn't this be a fould on somebody?
Shouldn't this be a foul on somebody?

Then, as if he knew the game depended entirely on him, Sam came back and scored the first 14 points of the quarter. The Wolves managed to hold on to win by 5, but with 25 seconds left, Sam went down with a strained hamstring.


We may have won, but it's hard to get to excited about it. We were playing a terrible team at home without it's superstar. Nobody on their team shot higher than 50% from the field. Yet, we barely eked out a win. In addition, two of our players went down to injury. I get the feeling that we won the battle, but made no major progress in winning the war.

The Wolves will be able to survive without Maddog, but the thought of losing Cassell is damn scary. It looks like there's a good chance he'll still play, but hamstring injuries have a tendency to linger. If the Wolves are going to avoid complete collapse without Cassell, Hudson is going to have to find a way to return to form in a hurry.