OK, what I am about to write should serve as something as a litmus test for how you view this squad: If they would have played with this much energy on their home stand, they would have won 2-3 more games.
I suppose that's a good thing. It's always nice to see the good guys come out with effort and grit, but it's also a reminder of just how lifeless they were in front of paying home fans.
I think the recent high-energy play can be traced back to the insertion of Corey Brewer into the starting rotation, beginning in the 2nd half of the Blazer game after Wes Johnson decided it would be peachy keen to let Wes Matthews do whatever he wanted to beyond the arc. Brewer came out at the half and, aside from mugging Matthews throughout the 2nd half, interjected a boatload of energy into the proceedings. Because of this 1/2 of hustle, Brewer was inserted into the starting lineup against the Spurs.
Yes, we're now lauding a 9 win team that has proved nothing for doing things that are pretty much expected at the professional level. Silver linings, I suppose.
Also, with Wes sent to the bench because of a lack of aggressiveness (which really doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence in the guy if you know anything about the rest of his game), the Wolves have now made 3 top-6 picks in the last 2 years with no starting players to show for it. That's crippling. Absolutely crippling. Forget the Ebi picks at the end of the first round. Lotto picks are how you build your franchise and you need to get, at the very least, guys who can start if you want to succeed.
With the game not being shown on local TV, I went with the running game wrap format. It's below the fold.
Tonight’s game features Corey Brewer in the starting lineup. The souped-up Brewer has been replaced by an actual Brewer. Good times.
Sean Elliot is already grating on me. In between casual references to how awful the Wolves are, he pitches the "IT’S A TRAP" meme.
I know it’s early, but Darko Jabar is nowhere to be found.
Perhaps it’s just one of the perks of following a bottom-dwelling squad, but I don’t think good teams have to wade through this much condescension from opposing announcing duos as the Wolves and their fans. Some guys do it well, Sean Elliot does not do it well. He’s not as bombastic as Tommy Heinsohn and he’s not as ill-prepared as Stacy King--he’s more of a Voltron combo of the most annoying characteristics of every rube announcer in the league, thus proving that even the Spurs’ homers are robotic and boring. Although, it is kind of entertaining to listen to Elliot complain about the opposition getting away with 3 second calls.
Spurs announcers now referring to Darko Jabar’s "tent factory". Marveling at the fact that the refs have "learned how to count". Elliot follows up on the next possession with a bitter "How about reading the scouting report?" after the Wolves fail to close out on a Matt Bonner 3. Swill. Absolute swill.
Wolves are absolutely terrible at defending any off-the-ball action below the free throw line. Princeton cuts, baseline-running, side-to-side pick and roll...it’s all bad. They just seem to get locked in on the ball and it’s not just the Syracuse guys.
The Spurs announcers have now moved on to talking about the weight of the Wolves players. Will they make it around to their mothers by half time?
Things I’m learning about the Wolves from Sean Elliott:
1- They’re fat
2- They’re stupid
3- They smell
4- East coast media is biased to the Knicks and Celtics and no one cares about flyover country...like San Antonio.
5- They’re bad in the ½ court
6- They’re bad in transition
7- They’re bad on defense
8- They don’t read scouting reports
Sean Elliott is now complaining about how uppity east coast media types don’t take the time to really learn a lot about the Spurs.
Supper time. Switching to radio.
Apparently I missed Sean Elliott saying "I like the relentless penetration." The 13 year old in me is pissed.
It is entirely possible that the Spurs will take 20 3s in the 2nd half. They seemingly can get an open look from way beyond whenever they want to.
Beasley has retweaked his ankle. Wes and Brewer are the duo at the ⅔ right now.
Darko seems to play well against the Spurs. Seeing that Darko has a fragile mindset, I think it is in the best interests of the club to identify as many "Good Darko" indicators as possible and recreate them as best they can:
1- Larry Brown is in the building and coaching for the opposition.
2- Sean Elliot is commenting about his weight.
3- Within 10 miles of an HEB.
4- When David Kahn rubs his belly juuusssst right during the pregame warmups.
5- When he catches an episode of Dexter that really hits home. (Imaging that The Code of Rambis is as worthwhile as the Code of Harry.)
Am I missing anything?
Love has now gone to the bench after tweaking his knee. Is Luke Ridnour the only guy out there who can create his own shot? Thankfully, Love is back in the game. It’s amazing to me that Bassy hasn’t had any burn lately.
Things that are competing with my Wolves time tonight:
1- Taking down the Christmas tree.
2- Not wanting to watch Jonny Flynn
Random pet peeve about the NBA: Watching multi-millionaires wear Dr. Dre Beats headphones. They’re called Grados people. Seriously, show some taste.
Anthony Tolliver is fantastic. Hustle, grit, smarts, and good play. Plus, he’s from Creighton.
The Wolves are continuing their season-long tradition of letting a so-so wing player torch them from beyond the arc. Gary Neal, tonight’s your night. We really should start a game show called Who Wants to Torch the Wolves from 3.
Sean Elliott has been switched out for NPR. Sorry folks. I just couldn’t do it anymore.