Show of hands: Who thinks Dorell Wright will ever score 30 points again in his career?
Minnesota Timberwolves (6-18) vs. Golden State Warriors (8-16) at ORACLE Arena
Last time the Wolves played the Warriors, back in late November, it took a career-high 30 points and a franchise record nine 3-pointers from Dorell Wright for Golden State to get the win. It takes this kind of a "lightning in a bottle" performance to beat the supercharged Timberwolves this season and the odds of Wright having another career night are about the same as an Obama beer summit featuring Julian Assange, Dick Cheney and a 12-pack of Fosters.
This time, the Wolves also have Martell Webster and Jonny Flynn making their season debuts for the team. While it is not known exactly how many minutes these two will get tonight, getting Webster and Flynn back takes the Wolves from Lake Minnetonka deep to Marianas Trench deep.
It's a late start time for the Wolves tonight (9:30 PM CST) but fans should be able to go to bed early with this one. The Wolves should have the game out of reach by the 2nd quarter.
Let's break down the matchups:
If Andris Biedrins was allowed to use two basketballs, he would still have trouble scoring against Darko.
Darko Milicic vs. Andris Biedrins
Andris Biedrins has pretty much one basketball skill: he can rebound. He's not a great rebounder like Kevin Love but he's pretty good at it. Can he pass the ball? No. Shoot it? Not unless he's literally on top of the hoop. Play defense? Not really. He's scored double digit points just twice this season and he's averaging less than a block per game. His 28/21 performance against Memphis back in late November was another "lightning in a bottle" performance, and with Darko guarding him, it's unlikely that Biedrins will be able to get anywhere close to those kinds of numbers tonight.
Darko, meanwhile, is looking to bounce back from a sub-par game against the Chicago Bulls. Since he does not have to worry much about guarding Biedrins on the other end, he can focus on his left-handed hook shot, especially with Biedrins unable to effective stop him in the paint. If Darko got 28/21 in this game, I would not be very surprised. In fact, I'd be a little disappointed that he didn't push harder to match Kevin Love's 31/31 performance.
But I'd take it.
Winner: Darko Milicic
I'll say this for the guy: he's not a wimp. That bandage is covering up this. (Warning: its kind of icky).
Kevin Love vs. David Lee
I can't hate on David Lee in this one. Anyone who can put up with that type of injury and its obvious pain is exempt from haterade for at least a game or two.
So, I'll focus on Kevin Love and what I expect him to do in this game. Last time he faced the Warriors, he had 21 points and 22 rebounds. For perspective, Love had 5 offensive rebounds in that game. The entire Warriors team had 6. The fact that Love had a -8 +/- should tell you everything that you need to know about that stat. I suspect that the +/- people are in cahoots with the anti-Love crowd.
To think that Love would do any worse in this game is sheer buffoonery. In fact, since he went 0-3 from downtown in that game and still managed 21 points tells me that he shold go off for 25-25 in this one. The question that has now come to my mind is this one:
Does Kevin Love, when his contract expires, deserve a max contract? My first instinct is to say 'no' because a max deal is enough money for a player of his caliber (under the current CBA rules). But my second instinct is not to look a Love horse in the mouth, or something like that. If Joe Johnson and Rudy Gay can get max deals, Kevin Love is a bargain at that price.
Winner: Kevin Love
If not playing defense is wrong, I don't want to be (Dorell) Wright.
Michael Beasley vs. Dorell Wright
With apologies to the B Easy Show, I want to spend a little bit of time talking about Martell Webster, who is coming back to the team tonight after recovering from a back injury at the beginning of the year. I was at the Wolves Draft Party when they made the deal for Webster, and at the time, I thought it was a great move. Then I came back home, logged onto Canis Hoopus, and saw that not only did people not like the Webster deal, they thought it was horrendous.
Here are some post-draft opinions about the deal (taken from that night):
"it's f'ing insane"
"Terrible move by a terrible GM for a terrible team."
"im just praying that this is all a lie"
"Why is Kahn doing this to us. I want to cry."
"This has become a Joke. They finally make a good pick and trade him to a Division Rival for Martell Webster!!!"
With Luke Babbitt setting the world on fire with his play and the Trail Blazers using the Ryan Gomes trade chip to net a superstar player, trading for Martell was clearly "f'ing insane". But when Webster comes back tonight and begins to thrive with the Wolves, maybe that fog of insanity will clear a little bit. Maybe we'll see that, like Beasley and Darko, Martell Webster needed a different situation and a better opportunity to play his best basketball. Maybe, in the same way that Darko went from one of the worst contracts in basketball (KAAAAHN!!!) to one of the best, we'll start to look at $4.8 million for a starting-caliber small forward as a bargain. Maybe players shouldn't be written off after their 23rd birthday because they haven't made an All-NBA Team yet.
And maybe, the doubters will admit that they were wrong all along.
The funny part is that the last 'maybe' is probably the most unrealistic of them all.
Winner: Martell Webster (and Michael Beasley)
Scoring 40 points in a game is gluttonous.. Only a player with discipline can choose to score 4 points and stick to that plan.
There has been a lot of talk lately about whether Wesley Johnson is a special player, whether he'll become a special player, so on and so forth. Will he be as good as DeMarcus Cousins? Will he even be as good as Paul George or James Anderson? Should the death penalty be applicable for people who describe Wes' shot without using the words 'smooth', 'perfect' or 'flawless', or is a public flogging punishment enough?
I think, to make things simpler, we should start to use the "could I do better" rule when talking about Wes. Whenever you feel the need to criticize something about Wes, ask the question, "could I do better?" Wes missed a shot in traffic? Well, you couldn't have made that shot either. Wes allowed Monta Ellis to score on him? I doubt you could have stopped him. Wes turned the ball over on the break? I'm pretty sure you would've dribbled the ball off of the your foot, too.
In fact, I think we should apply the "could I do better" rule to all Timberwolves rookies, both past and present. It will save us a lot of time and unnecessary posts. Wesley Johnson may not be an All-Star power forward, but neither are you, so you have no right to criticize. And the same thing applies if Wesley Johnson wants to criticize my ability to make McDonald's Happy Meals correctly and without spilling thousand island dressing onto the floor.
Okay, Wes. But could you do it better?
Winner: Wesley Johnson
"I can't wait to get home and Tweet about this later. And the movie "Black Knight" starring Martin Lawrence. Man, I love that movie. It's not only funny, it's realistic. Martin is the best."
Jonny Flynn vs. Stephen Curry
In honor of Jonny Flynn's return to the Timberwolves, I'm going to sum up my thoughts on this matchup in blurbs of 140 characters or less:
steph curry betta thn j flynn? man u a fool lol
j flynn has good handle n remine mee uv yung magic. Thos rent-a-center ads is crazy lol.
if I had 5 and 6 in 2009, I wulda pcked jonny flynn 2 times. he like mj fox in teen wolf. or martin in rebound. i luv martin lol.
ricky rubio ok. he can b my backup. i jonny flynn. i not like anybody else either. lol.
martin 'you so crazy' is hilarious! arguable best stand up ever. forgot how funny this was. lol.
bout 2 go off 4 bout 26 and 15 2night like my boy k love. he remind me of LIFE wit eddie murphy and martin lawrence. this isn't one of the funniest movies ever. it is the funniest movie ever. lol.
Winner: Jonny Flynn
"Believe it or not, I'm walking on air. I never thought I could feel so free. Lying awake on a wing and a prayer. Who could it be? Believe it or not, it's just me." - David Kahn
There are so many factors working the Wolves' favor tonight, it might seem like a trap game for us. It's not. This is one of those times where the outcome is not in doubt.