Quick Thoughts

OK folks.  With the game not being shown on local TV, I'm going to try something different for tonight's game wrap: a running recap.  We'll see how it goes below the fold. 

God bless League Pass Broadband. On yet another game not carried by local TV, fans who shelled out a hundred + bucks for the online LPB were treated to an exciting feed of Golden State/Miami for the first 6 or so minutes of the game.

Earlier this year, paying LPB customers were treated to an exciting look-in on a Fox Sports South NASCAR feed. Remember folks, don’t watch pirated feeds. Instead, buy hundred dollar products that don’t do what they say they will and that only cover a few games per year if you are in the local cable broadcasting area. Juwan Howard looks good. The Heat are down by 8 but they really look like they could turn it on at a moment’s notice. I’m looking forward to my Heat prediction being my best take of the year:

Most impressively (for the Heat), they are a fearsome defensive team. This game had a tremendous pace and they held the Wolves to an OE under 100. Everywhere a Wolves player turned, there were 2, 3, sometimes 4 big athletic guys in white jerseys standing in their way.

Let me go out on a limb to make an early prediction that barring injury nobody will beat this team in a 7 game series. It simply isn't possible. Their role players rebound, hustle on defense, and most of them can shoot the three. When Dwane Wade and LeBron were crashing towards the rim, guys like James Jones and Mario Chalmers were able to camp out beyond the arc and bomb away. Imagine how this dynamic will play out with Mike Miller out there....or next year with another MLE player and a 1st round draft pick.Oh yeah, they still have Chris Bosh.

This is a scary, scary team. I give them another month to figure things out and then it's all over. This game was over at the 1/2. Wade played less than 25 minutes. Bosh played just over 26. I cannot say enough good things about this squad. Forget what happened off the court over the summer. There is a very good chance we are witnessing a team that will compete for GOAT.

That was on November 2nd. Exactly 1 month later they destroyed the Cavs and are on a 16-1 run. Scary, scary team.

I think people forget just how good of a do-it-all defensive role player Chris Bosh was for Team USA. With Mike Miller back, they really aren’t a team to mess with. They will be even less so with an MLE and another 1st rounder.

Meanwhile, I see that the Wolves are up 10-9 over the Nets. I’d love to watch the game on the product I paid for.

Hey!!! There it is. Just in time to catch a few words about LeBron trying to back himself out of a poor quote by claiming he’s an idiot. Good job LeBron. If there’s one thing people respect, it’s claiming ignorance. And on we go with the LeBron Contraction Bowl.

Good god, Sasha Vujacic is on this team. I’m not sure they could be any less likable. This is not good NBA action. While prior non-televised games have been worth the price of admission (31/31, Spurs), this was not one of those must-see tilts. It was lethargic, uninspired hungover action between two piss poor defending teams. From very early on, it was clear that the best stories of the night were the return of Kris Humphries and the presence of Kim Kardashian across from the Nets’ bench. The Yes Network rode this angle hard....although they did pass up the opportunity to grill Humphries’ mom about the new classy girlfriend. ("You must be so proud. Have you Googled her yet?" would be my first question.)

Kosta Koufos just attempted an 18 foot jumper. He made it, but the problem was that he attempted it. Hey, there’s Kim Kardashian again. "Vujacic, stolen away from Koufos." That’s all you need to know about tonight’s game. There is no joy. There is no spontaneity. It’s like a bad reality show. Thankfully, Kim was there to make it all fit together.

Kris Humphries is really having a good game against Love. Neither guy seems to be interested in guarding the other one, but they have both brought their hustle games tonight and are hitting the glass like crazy. Love hasn’t been out-hustled yet this year, but Humphries is putting in a good effort so far.

Hey, my favorite Wolf of all time is an assistant coach for the Nets. His thoughts on the first half: "It’s good to know we can score on this team." Yes Smitch, yes you can.

It is very tempting to watch the Winter Classic. I wasn’t born in Minny but I do play me some boot hockey and you are much more likely to find an outdoor pickup hockey game than a b-ball one (I can see one going on right now half a block away from me). There is something really, really awesome about outdoor hockey and as much as I love the Wolves...well, we’ll keep an eye on both games from here on out. It is even more tempting to read my Kindle.

At the half, here is the damage:

 

  • Wolves eff:114.9
  • Jersey eff: 117
  • Wolves eFG: 56.8%
  • Jersey eFG: 55.8%
  • Wolves FT/FG: 32.5
  • Jersey FT/FG: 16.3
  • Wolves Oreb%: 33.3
  • Jersey Oreb%: 44.4
  • Wolves TOr: 21.3
  • Jersey TOR: 19.1

 

Malkin with the score!!! They even have the organ on in Pittsburgh. Awesome.

Does Brook Lopez play for the Nets? I was looking forward to seeing him play tonight but I don’t think he’s with the team anymore.

Back to Humphries. Tonight’s YES Network question is "Kris Humphries muscles look huge, how much can he bench?" Well, Kim K. from Los Angeles, Kris can bench 385 pounds. "Hey babe, wanna see me lose by 20 in a town with subzero weather?"  

Kevin Love is getting some awesome star calls on his 3 point fake. It seems like he does it once a game. Pump fake, defender jumps, Love jumps into him and gets the 3 free throws. It’s such a bogus play, even when it goes to the good guys.

Wes Johnson has fantastic court vision. He really is a good handle away from being a dangerous player. Case in point, Johnson makes a terrific help defensive play to block a shot by Travis Outlaw at the rim which sparks the break. Johnson hustles off to the wing beyond the 3 point line and receives the pass from the point guard . Johnson also realizes that Kevin Love has busted his ass down the court and has great position on the block. Johnson feeds the big fella for an easy two while the entire building expected him to toss up a 3. Absolutely fantastic play. He really is a souped up Corey Brewer in every sense of the word.

I generally have very little problem with guys who are over 40% from 3 taking treys whenever they can, but Luke Ridnour takes some really, really inopportune long range shots. When you have a big man on you and there is hardly any time off the 24 second clock, it’s probably not the best time to jack up a 3. This is one of those situations where you have to realize there are 2 mismatches on the court: On the ball and on the switched man.

Favors is as raw as can be. I’m not sure what my thoughts are about the Wolves being unable to draft him. He really relies a tremendous amount on his size and athleticism and there really isn’t a lot of there there. He just was yanked with about 5 minutes left in the 3rd because he tried to tackle Kevin Love on a rebound where he didn’t bother to get good position. He has been making plays like this all night.

Holy crap! Wes Johnson is at the free throw line. Wes averages 1.1 FTA/game.

Mike Rylander tweets the following: The number of people gawking at & taking cell phone photos & videos of Miss Kardashian is embarassing for Minnesota & humanity in general.

Yes.

Back to Wes. Earlier this year he had a streak of 230+ minutes without an FTA. Wes attempted 7 free throws in December. Kevin Love had 7 games with more than 7 FTAs in December. I take back everything I sad about Wes only needing to dribble better to become a dangerous player. Get to the line young man, get to the line.

OK, regardless of what happens in the game tonight, the most important question has now become, What in the hell happened to Brook Lopez and Devin Harris? Weren’t they good? Why does Brook Lopez hang around the 3 point line? Why don’t they post him up? Oi. I’m so glad the Wolves don’t have Avery Johnson on the bench. I’m not keen about that Rambis fellow, but Johnson is ridiculous. I’m sure Carmelo Anthony is really looking forward to taking orders from the little general.

Jerome Bettis and Franco Harris are now on the ice between periods in the Winter Classic. What in the hell?

FACT: Franco Harris has never held a hockey stick before. FACT: Jerome Bettis is well fed.

Say, there’s a basketball game going on. The Wolves have a 13 point lead on the hapless Nets. This is an embarrassing display of basketball. The Tzar of the Telestrator is stretching for things to talk about. I think he should start talking about how Avery Johnson thinks Brook Lopez is a small forward who needs to stay outside of the lane.

"Telfair has heated up in the 2nd half." Good luck Nets, good luck.

Avery Johnson is wearing a terrible tie.  Dots + stripes is a dangerous combo.  Add in a French collar and you've made a disaster. 

Michael Beasley just made the most ridiculous ½ court save in recent memory. The ball was headed towards the Nets’ side of the floor for a backcourt violation on the Wolves when Beasley grabbed the ball and threw it against a Nets defender a’la like he was falling out of bounds. The ball bounced off of the Nets player and...well, it went towards the Nets basket and they ended up with an easy 3 on 1. Brain fart on Beasley.

Comment from the game thread: This is really like playing ourselves.

Good idea for a Wolves shirt: Black t shirt with white lettering "Defense" (with quotation marks). Humphries just fought off Love once again for a hustle rebound. He’s simply stronger than Love. Billy King has put together a ridiculous team. He must have embarrassing pictures of the Russian mafia. Is there any possible way in which Jonny Flynn could have added to this game?

The Wolves only worries right now are to continue losing the offensive boards battle and to allow the Nets too many trips to the line (they are in the bonus).

Did the Wolves stop the Nets from getting to 100 or did the Nets stop the Nets from getting to 100.  It's crazy to think that this was a 36-29 game after the 1st with both teams shooting the lights out. The Nets were up 55-54 at the 1/2.

Matt Taibbi's Griftopia is hard to put down.  The Kindle has won the night.

Well folks, that was a must win for the Wolves and they won it.  They beat a terrible team that was/is much worse than they are and they did so with very little energy or effort.  I think that counts as something of a victory.  It was bad basketball but it was winning basketball.  Kind of like watching the Wisconsin Badgers: bad, but winning.  

Hopefully you had a good New Year.   

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