If recent Wolves history has taught us anything, it is that whenever Al Jefferson goes down, the problem the team faces isn't that his minutes are replaced by Kevin Love it is that they are replaced by guys like Mark Mad...wait a minute. With Big Al out for 2 games because of a DWI, Kurt Rambis started Darko Milicic in his place, once again keeping the team's best player on the bench.
What's amazing about this situation is that while Rambis seems to understand the concept of diminishing returns when replacing a starting level player with a below-average one, he seemingly has no compunction about starting the worst player on the team and giving him 35 minutes. We're looking at you Ryan Hollins. What's even more amazing about this little factoid is that we have a fairly solid backlog of evidence that suggests Love + Hollins = a big bowl of crap (the last time we checked they were -27.1 points/100 possessions as a duo). It will be very interesting to see the GameFlow because my game notes are filled with several mentions of "Hollins + Love = teh suck".
Darko got into some early foul trouble and showed flashes of anger early on in the contest so I can understand Rambis' unwillingness to give him big minutes, but the big frustration last night, and during many recent nights, is that this team continues to run out mismatched pairs at the 4/5. Darko + Love, Love + Jefferson, Love + Gomes, and even Gomes + Jefferson...these are the combos that (relatively) work at the 4/5. If Hollins is going to be thrown out there, who does he play well with? Interestingly enough, that would have been Brian Cardinal.
Hollins made 6-7 shots and grabbed rebounds but he walked away from the game with a team high -17 thanks in large part to his inability to adequately defend or run the pick-and-roll. Also, forgive me for having the following expectation, but a 7 footer with long arms who can high jump 7 feet should have more than 7 rebounds per 36 minutes. Hollins is somewhat digestible in small minutes, but he is untenable as a starter. He's capable of 2-3 game stretches of average play, but he's more than likely to burn you with below average rebounding, unfamiliarity with the p-n-r, and stone hands.
Anywho, the Wolves played an exciting game last night. They benefited big time from Dallas making an equally boneheaded mistake with their starting rotation by failing to go to Rodrigue Beaubois over Jose Juan Barea in place of Jason Kidd. Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, Rodrigue Beaubois...these are the types of guards that have, does, and will continue to give Jonny Flynn fits. Flynn, for the first 3 quarters, played a respectable game, but went into full meltdown mode down the stretch. I don't blame him for this one. Sub 6 footers shouldn't be asked to be the A1 option when it matters in the NBA.
I'll leave you with this.
The Wolves lost a game where they had an eFG of nearly 58%, got to the line at a higher clip than their opponent, and collected 44% of their available misses, yet they lost the flipping game. A -8 on turnovers will do that to you. What is interesting about this is that I counted at least 4 offensive rebounds that led directly to a turnover. Talk about throwing away an advantage.