GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Friday, January 14, 2005

Finally, A Good Use For Kandi

I feel like I can breathe a little. The Wolves managed not to fall under .500. I wouldn't call it a big win so much as I would call it a big "not loss". Before the game, I read this article about how Flip Saunders has figured out what's wrong. He didn't really elaborate, but the fact that he said he knew left me cautiously optimistic about today's game.

The Wolves played pretty well throughout and Hudson and Sprewell each had one of their best games of the season. However, let's not forget who was the true MVP of this game was--Michael Olowokandi.

We've been searching for a good use for Kandi and I think we've finally found one. He can pick fights with players on the other team and get them ejected. This must be what Flip was talking about! We'll get Kandi to start punching people.

Nene and Kandi had been going at it for a while, and it finally exploded with 7 seconds left in the third quarter. After a missed shot by Andre Miller, Kandi started going back up the court and sort of walked into Nene and Nene head-butted him. Next, Kandi proceeded to take what Petey called "his best shot of the season"--a weak punch/shove that barely grazed Nene. Then Nene completely lost it and started flailing wildly in Kandi's general direction.

This was the best of all worlds for the Wolves. First, we got rid of Kandi and they lost Nene. Personally, I would have been happy if they had lost anybody who had played more than 5 minutes in that game for Kandi. Second, Kandi will certainly earn a suspension for this, which will give him time to go to bars and stare at chicks. This will hopefully refresh him and get him ready to come start a fight with someone like Tim Duncan. Third, the Wolves seemed inspired after the ejection. When Kandi went out, the Wolves lead 65-61. With 7:50 left in the game, the Wolves had pushed that lead to 79-67. From now on, Kandi's nickname will be "The Fire Starter".

Then, the Wolves did what they always do when they get a big lead. They started playing sloppy and allowed Denver to cut the lead to 80-77 with about 4 minutes left. I was having deja vu from almost every other game the Wolves have played recently, and was convinced the Wolves would lose by 15.

But the Wolves found a way to rewrite the ending this time. It was a small but important victory in getting the season back on track. Our upcoming schedule is rather soft, so it's a great opportunity for them to get back into a winning mindset. With Cassell due to come back, and Flip knowing what's wrong with the team, this may be the time for the Wolves to turn it around. If they can't do it now, it might mean the end of all hope for getting a decent seed in the playoffs. The could end up at the bottom or miss the playoffs completely.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Timberwolves Announce Big Changes

Despite a huge night from Garnett, the Timberwolves lost for the 9th time in 11 games. After yet another disappointing loss to the Orlando Magic, the Timberwolves decided it was time to start making changes.

In a press conference held several hours after the game, the Timberwolves announced that they would now be known as the "Minnesota Timberwolves of the Dakotas".

"Winning starts with defense," Owner Glen Talyor said. "We feel that bringing South and North Dakota into our organization will help us chant 'De-fense', and hence help us to win more basketball games."

When asked how he felt about the team's name change, Wolves center Michael Olowokandi said "What's a Dakota?".

"I'm just glad they didn't go with Iowa," said forward Kevin Garnett. "That would be messed up."

The name change didn't sit well with Minnesota officials, who believe that the name change violates an agreement they had with the team. "What the f--- kind of retarded name is that?" Said Minnesota Spokesman Nicholas Auger. "We don't want a team with such a stupid name playing here. People all over the country will think we're g----- idiots in Minnesota. They'll be hearing from our lawyers."

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Nocturnal Me

Every time the end of a term rolls around, the same thing happens to me. I end up staying up later than normal, in order to finish all my work. Of course, after fall term there is a rather lengthy break in which I have no real duties. Being the night person that I am, and already having had my sleep schedule screwed over, this generally leads to me staying up extraordinarily late.

After a couple weeks of break, it had become commonplace for me to go to bed between 5 and 6 AM. When school starts up again, I'll have responsibilities in the morning, which unfortunately means that I'll have to get myself back into a schedule that more closely resembles that of a normal Minnesotan. To get myself back on that sort of schedule, I'm left with one of two options.
  1. Start setting my alarm and deprive myself of sleep for a couple days.
  2. Try and make it all the way around so that I effectively lose a day in the normal sense.
Option 1 has never really appealed to me, since I hate alarm clocks and I can never seem to force myself out of bed if I don't have a good reason. This leaves me with the second option. Last year I tried to just stay up an entire day all at once. This strategy backfired horribly. I made it until about 9 PM the next day, then slept for about 12 hours. The next night, 11 PM rolled around and I went to bed. Unfortunately, I woke up at about 1 AM and couldn't get back to sleep, so I ended up right back where I started.

This year I'm trying to do things a little more gradually, and right now I'm trying to finish up Step 1, which is to make myself completely nocturnal. I've been going to bed between 9 and 10 AM and waking up at around 5 PM. Doing this gives one a very weird perspective on the world. Yesterday, I got up, had Pizza for breakfast while watching Simpsons reruns, then went for a morning jog at about 8 PM.

Yesterday night/morning, I was on my way to get McDonald's breakfast for dinner, and I hopped into the car just in time to hear the morning show guys discussing the loss to the Lakers (See, you knew this would turn to the Timberwolves at some point). First off, it was bizarre to hear them call it "last night's game". Wasn't that just a few hours ago?

After ranting about the Wolves for a while and suggesting that they bring the likes of John Stockton, Pooh Richardson, and some guy I didn't even know out of retirement, they actually gave what I thought was the best reason I've heard for the Timberwolves struggles so far. Last year, there was always a good balance between offensive and defensive minded players on the court. This year, the Wolves just have too many scores out there all the time.

For whatever reason, I've more or less neglected to discuss the fact that the Wolves defense hasn't been good this season. This year, they're giving up 97.2 points per game, WAY up from the 89.1 they gave up last season. Their offense is up as well (99.4 ppg vs. 94.5 last year), but this isn't as dramatic a difference. Since the Wolves now have 8 scorers on the court at all times, it's not particularly beneficial, because there are only so many shots to go around, but once we get to the other end of the court, there just isn't anybody there to play defense.

What might help the Wolves most of all, is the ability to actually stop other teams from scoring occasionally. This could be done in a number of ways. First, we could start Hasell instead of Spree or Wally. This would be an immediate solution, and would help to balance out our offense and defense again.

Also, the Wolves are probably going to have to consider a trade at some point. I'd say the most logical person to get rid of, would be Spree.

Wally's name is always out there, but I'd prefer holding onto him since he's still young and has been more valuable than Spree this season.

Sam's name has also been out there, but I'm not sold on trading him, given the inconsistencies of Troy this season. It might be worth trading him if we did it in a deal for Jason Kidd, but I can't think of another situation in which it might be ok to trade him.

The trade deadline is in about a month (I think?) and if things don't take a dramatic turn in the next week or so, I'd expect the Wolves to try and start working on a deal. Keep your ears open, because the rumors are gonna start flying.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I Picked a Bad Year to Start A Twolves Blog

You know, there are only so many ways I can say "What the hell is wrong with my team?"

I'm really getting sick of it. The Wolves blow another game where they had a huge lead, and unfortunately, these embarrassing losses are becoming the rule, rather than the exception. The Wolves had a big lead for most of the game only to get outscored 38-20 in the fourth quarter. For most of the game I was actually having flashbacks and thought I was watching last year's team.

In the Wolves' defense, it seemed as though they played well. The Lakers hit everything from long range down the stretch. They finished shooting a ridiculous 16-35 (45.7%) from three point range. And during the fourth quarter, everybody and their mother hit a three for the Lakers. First it was "Who's that guy?" draining a three, then "That guy wasn't even that good in college" started nailing them, and finally "I didn't even know he had a jumpshot" scored from downtown.

Unfortunately, at this point the Twolves need to stop getting moral victories and start getting actual victories. They need to build big leads and turn them into bigger leads--leads so big that they can't possibly blow them. Instead of me saying "What the Wolves can take from this game is that Troy Hudson played very well", they need me to say"What the Wolves can take from this game is that they won and it's their 7th win in 8 games".

When I first started this blog, I figured I'd spend a lot of time writing about the diverse talent on the Wolves roster and would spend plenty of time explaining why the Wolves were the best team in the league. A bit more than two months into the season, I've spent most of my time trying to figure out what exactly is the major problem with the wolves. I feel a bit cheated, like I didn't get what I signed on for. I can only imagine what KG and many of the other Wolves are feeling right now.

What the Wolves can take from this game is that Troy Hudson played very well. In game two without Sam, here's how the Wolves point guards faired.


If Troy can have more outings like this, and the Wolves get Sam back, I have to assume that the Wolves will at least get lucky and win again sometime. They've shown some signs of their talent during the past couple weeks, they just haven't been able to put it all together.