Flava

Theflavorbible_medium

It obviously wasn't a Korean Recipe Game against the Kings, but the 2010 season opener did offer some juicy tidbits that are best explained in the kitchen. 

First of all, if you don't have the Flavor Bible in your kitchen book collection, you need to get on it...and in a hurry.  Once you move beyond basic recipes, your first goal as a budding chef is to understand which flavors go with one another and which ones to avoid.  There are classic combinations (mint and lamb), counter-intuitive pairings (avocado and lobster), do-it-all workhorses (bacon and anything), and outright monstrosities (tuna and butterscotch). 

The game against the Kings was both a feast and an assault on the basketball tastebuds. 

 

  • Liver and Banana : This terrible pairing would be a lack of ball movement.  When the ball aint movin, the Wolves aint clickin.  Darko Milicic and Michael Beasley both saw early exits because they settled for bad jumpers and failed to move the ball quickly throughout the offense.  If there is one thing that is clear in Kurt Rambis' coaching cannon, it is that ball movement rules uber alles.  The problem here going forward is that while there is nothing wrong with liver by itself (or with onion) or banana (with rum), the two just do not belong with one another.  At all.  Al Jefferson was liver.  Jonny Flynn is chopped liver.  Luke Ridnour is bananas.  Kevin Love is bananas flambe. Big Al's ball stopping ways sent him to Utah.  Will Flynn find a way to go bananas when he comes back from injury?  Just how many games is his absence worth, and in what direction? 
  • Wild Duck: This flavor gets its own billing.  It is aggressive, unpredictable, and hard to control.  This ingredient is not something you use to balance anything out.  It either makes or kills the dish.  It is already obvious that there are two Mike Beasleys: Action Mike and Passive Mike.  Action Mike goes toward the rim with quick, decisive movement.  Passive Mike jab steps his way to 18-foot jumpers.  Action Mike is a show-stopper.  He's something you build a 5-course meal around.  Passive Mike is gamey wild duck.  Spit it out and send it back.  
  • Chocolate and Cheese: Buenos tardes, amigo.  Hola, my good friend.  Sorry, I couldn't resist. I also can't say enough about how 11-man rotations and the NBA don't belong together.  We'll have to let this one play out a bit longer, but depth is only good if you let your best players get the vast majority of the minutes.  Unless Rambis is going to bring back 40 Minutes of Hell, the whole "let's sit Love for extended periods of time" thing is going to be just as old this year as it was in 09/10.  
  • Sesame Oil and Soy Sauce: This is an old Korean warhorse.  Rebounding and free throws.  Forget length and athleticism, this is the pairing that will bring it all on home.  It really is amazing that the Wolves were even in this game.  Check out the free throw disparity and the rebounding column. The Kings attempted nearly 20 more free throws than the Wolves. They equaled them on the boards.  The Wolves aren't going to win many games without this recipe for success. 
  • Pizza without the sauce: Otherwise known as Kevin Love in the 4th.  Wes Johnson also did a disappearing act.  Surely an injury has to be an issue with Love.  There's no other way to explain his absence from the game in the 2nd half. 
  • Kurt Rambis needs to buy a copy of the Flavor Bible.  Seriously, I can't wait to see how the Popcorn Machine Game Flow looks with some of the rotations he ran out in the 2nd half. 
At the end of the day, tonight's game was frustrating on a number of levels.  On one hand, we got to see a few key ingredients do their thing while some subtler flavors got in some serious work.  On the other hand, there were some seriously messed up entres out there.  I know it's just one game, but one of the big questions I have with this team is this: Can Rambis cook the ingredients that Kahn brought home?  

The Wolves have clearly upgraded the middle of their roster but does that matter?  Does it matter if you still don't have A1 talent? This year's Wolves will be an interesting case study: Can a team of well-functioning mid-level players win or do you need a great player?  This team still has massive issues with both the ingredients and the cooking.  That being said, it was nice to see them out there again and guys like Wayne Ellington, Anthony Tolliver, and Luke Ridnour are going to make all of the losing easier to swallow. 

Random thoughts:
  • What else does Wes Johnson have to do after his first game to show that he’s a souped up Corey Brewer?  From the huge Brew dunk (under control) to the handles (under control) to the shot (under control) to the smile (under control) and pet goat (?) it’s going to be an interesting year watching the two this season.  
  • Sacramento really, really misses Tyreke Evans.  They had nobody who could break an opponent down off the dribble--just like the Wolves. Their entire offense was based on making a high percentage of their jump shots-just like the Wolves.
  • Tonight’s action was peppered with commercials for the Rock’s new movie, Faster.  It’s good to see he isn’t some sort of Easter Bunny or football player who can hear his girlfriend’s thoughts in this one.  
  • Moving in the opposite dignity direction is Karl Malone, who has a new commercial for shoes that claim to tone your butt.  It is no wonder that Mr. Malone’s backside was not facing the camera during the spot.  He is ginormous and should press his agent for a future spot on Biggest Loser.  
  • Wayne Ellington looks like the MIP on the team and Anthony Tolliver is fantastic to watch, but if these are the guys you are going to lean on down the stretch...well, thanks for playing. They're easy to root for but you have to be insane to lean on them down the stretch. Kurt Rambis leaned on them down the stretch. Maybe he's a believer in the hot-hand.
  • Over/Unders
    • Eastern European fouls this season: 375.
    • Number of "boy he shoots it easy" comments from Hanny about Wes Johnson: 1.25/game.
    • % chance the team sells a Bassy jersey this year: 0.013%.
    • Number of Star Wars jokes/puns Hanny makes about Luke Ridnour: 0.82/game
    • Number of times I want to throw my tv/computer out the window when Bassy takes a tough, mid-range 2nd half shot: 3.2/game.
  • Positives: Tolliver, Ellington, Ellington's point skills, Ellington's improvement, Action Beasley, Ridnour's aggressiveness.
  • Negatives: Rambis. Rambis' coaching. Rambis' hair. Rambis' suit. Corey Brewer's future with the team. Length, athleticism, and defense. Mana from heaven.
  • Hopey/Changey: Wes will get more minutes, Flynn will take his time rehabbing, Action Beasley is this team's only hope for success, Rambis...well, I don't know what is very hopey/changey about Rambis at this point.
Best part of the night:

darkness

It was fantastic. 

Well folks, that about does it. We'll have links to GameFlows and stats tomorrow.

What say you? 

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