Countdown from 11: Utah Jazz



PJD is a Minnesota Vikings blogger (poorly) at Purple Jesus Diaries who has made a terrible mistake by purchasing 11 tickets this spring to Minnesota Timberwolves games. These are his game recaps highlighting what may have been the worst mistake of his life, outside of cheering for Minnesota sports teams ...

There was a sequence of moves at the end of the third quarter that pretty much defined everything I love about professional basketball. The entire third quarter was a cluster flock of a mess, with a typical Wolves fetal position folding appearing eminent. The Jazz had fought back to within one point after the Wolves had led by what seemed to be as many as 25 in the first half. The good guys should have been on cruise control! A win in the bag! But here we were all face-palming like Picard because we knew the inevitable meltdown was coming. And to make matters worse, Kevin Love was still struggling to find his fifth rebound.Until ...

In a matter of minutes the tide turned. Love started snatching rebounds, our shot was falling again, and our defense (or the Jazz's offense) stagnated. With each rebound the crowd grew in anticipation. The cheers started falling down from the nose-bleeds. Love was close to his double double AND the Wolves were building a lead! It all culminated in his tenth rebound, with the crowd offering a standing ovation, Love raising his arms to pump the crowd up, another basket by the good guys, another defense stop with time running down in the quarter, and then a resounding three pointer from Love at the top of the key that left the place deafening. Love was fist pumping like a Guido, the team was jacked, everyone was standing, and the Wolves had the game won before the fourth quarter even started. It was awesome.

Here's what else happened Friday night at Target Center:

- Friday was the return (again?) of Al Jefferson to Target Center. He surprisingly received a nice ovation when announced. I was thinking he may get booed or jeered, but that's what's great about us Minnesotans; we recognize and appreciate people who treated us well, and Big Al never did us wrong. For that, I can give him a smattering of applause.

- Friday night also had an interesting mix of entertainment option. There was a hip hop dance group of like eight 6th graders, and while I originally wanted to make fun I of them just because, I soon realized they were pretty awesome. The kid with the fro absolutely killed it. They were about as fun as the Hoop Troop who came out to do dunks with crunch, but missed a couple of opportunities to really stand out. A solid B effort. The Klondike Bar challenge was definitely cringe worthy, as they had Crunch TRY to was a guys chest. I say try, because when Crunch tried pulling off the waxing paper he did it without much forced to the point where you could see each hair follicle being slowly drawn out of the guys chest. I would have killed Crunch after that screw up. Ouch. 

- The best part of the entertainment, without a doubt, was what they called Pack Karaoke. This involved the video board introducing a song (In this case Whitney Houston's "Unbreak My Heart") and then showed various Wolves players singing along with the song. Naturally, Beasley stole the show as it was both terrible and fascinating. Anthony Tolliver displayed an impressive set of pipes, and I was largely disappointed Darko didn't get a chance to sing. Or Pek. I would've taken either.

- The halftime entertainment was just as bad, if not worse, than the game before where people crawled around on the ground trying to find t-shirts. Instead, they had a girl use a sponsored phone to speak into a Blue Tooth earpiece of a blindfolded guy at half court to try and instruct him on getting close to the basket and make a shot. The girl spoke in to the phone .... but also into the microphone for the audience so they could hear over the speakers. And I'm assuming the guy could hear too. And she sucked. Her best instructions to the basket was "You're doing great!" Women are so good at directions!

- You knew the Wolves were on Friday night when even Jonny Flynn was making spot up three point shots. I cringed every time, but once we were up by 30 I figured "why not?" Maybe it'll give him some confidence.

- I knew going into the game Lazer was sick and probably not going to play, so was surprised to see him come in during the fourth quarter, even though it was garbage time. Maybe his stomach was feeling better finally. I was actually more surprised, and still pretty upset, that Rambis didn't bother to put Randolph in until garbage time too. Really? You just haven't been impressed yet with his stellar performance as a Wolf up to this point? Hopefully this is why Rambis is being rumored to get fired after the season. Idiot.

- I was patient bear awaiting the human victory cigar in Bassy too and was sad panda to not see him.

- The crowd was asked to vote for the song they wanted to hear during the fourth quarter t-shirt toss that best represented Kevin Love and his double-double streak. Options included Foreigner "Double Vision", some other crappy song, and Joe Esposito "You're the Best." I was pleasantly happy that the crowd selected Esposito. The selection gives me hope for humanity.

- Darko had a hell of a game, or at least a hell of a game for Darko, and most of it against Al Jefferson. I'd still be in favor of not having him play for us ever again because we all know he's never going to figure it out, but he finished with 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and two turnovers in 26 minutes. He also went to the hoop strong TWICE in one game, which doesn't really mean much for the average bear, but is kind of mind blowing for Darko. I guess good for him.

- I have never seen such incompetence as Luke Ridnour driving to the hoop or across the baseline and then attempting an assist only to have the pass result in a turnover almost every time. And he is so terrible on a pick and roll. When he goes around a pick it's like he stops at a Dairy Queen on the next block before finally turning the corner. A good point guard would drive straight to the hoop or at least have the decency to draw a defender and pass it out. Luke does neither of those and it makes me frown a lot.

- Kevin Love's intensity on defense sky-rocketed during the third quarter sequence that sent the house nuts. He had active hands and was blanketing his man. I wish he realized he should do that all the time, then we'd maybe have a legit 1A guy on the team, amirite?!

Overall the game was a blast. I kept telling my brother I had a good feeling about Friday night's game and the Wolves came through. Clearly, it was the black uniforms, as their winning record in them has to be near .500 now, doesn't? Someone do the math! Someone should consider wearing them all the time .... Our next game will be the crap show that is going to be the Boston Celtics in a few weeks. See you then.

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