Last night Super Darko showed up and carried the Wolves to an exciting victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on a night where the team's best two players simply did not show up with their best games.
Tonight, Super Darko stayed in his phone booth and the Wolves lost a frustrating game to the Utah Jazz on a night where the team's best two players simply did not show up with their best games.
(More below the fold.)
Tonight, like last night, the Wolves shot like crap and didn't turn it over, but they were unable to control the defensive glass and get to the line at a rate like they did against the Clips. The Wolves were able to get 10 more shots than the Jazz, but they yielded a -1 oreb imbalance (14 to 15) while gathering the same number of defensive rebounds (31). If you are taking 10 more shots than your opponent, if you give up more offensive rebounds, chances are things are not going well for you in the final score.
Tonight's game was kind of disappointing. Last night's tilt was so outlandishly weird that it was hard to put a lot of stock in it. It was fun, it was awesome, but it was weird. Tonight, the Wolves lost a game to one of their closest peers by playing a similar game to the one they played in LA, but without the addition of Super Darko.
Last night the team's best three players went 9-38 from the floor. Tonight they went 13-41. Each game saw 11 turnovers. Both tilts had solid shooting off the bench.
One of the things I really try to hit home on this site is the idea that in an 82 game season (or a 66 game one) it is pointless to get too up or too down about individual games. Long range trends are what really matters and while the rabid fan in me wants to believe that last night's crazy action would be a springboard to something great, the son of a physicist in me remembers being told to apply the scientific method to determining the best way to pick up Lincoln Logs. In other words, any single game in a season this long doesn't really mean a whole lot. They're mostly all entertaining, but the true meaning comes with trends...sustainable ones.
This team needs another consistently above average performer. Until that happens, we'll have a bunch of close games, exciting games, disappointing games...you know, we'll see a lot of close to average production in the long haul that is created by a series of ups and downs. Until they get the 1 extra above average performer, the roller coaster will be set to "on" with the aggregate totals being located in the middle of the pack. Love and Rubio (it really is amazing how well he's played---I'm genuinely surprised about this) are going to be above average in the long run. Luke Ridnour is going to be average in the long run. Wayne Ellington is surprising the hell out of me by looking like a long-run average kind of guy. D-Thrill? He should be good.
The point here is that the Wolves are a fun young team that is going to be in a lot of close games simply because they have two awesome performers and a bunch of guys who, every now and then, will approximate the much-needed 3rd above average producer needed for long-term consistent winning.
- Earl Watson pulled off a weird dualfecta tonight. Moments after jumping into Pek and living to tell about it, he picked up a "charge" by being knocked to the ground by the 180lbs Rubio. His tough guy card gets clipped for that nonsense.
- Derrick Williams played a nice game tonight but he looks like he is just a step slow with everything. He clearly hasn't been able to process the speed of the league. Each time he gets the ball he has to take stock of what is around him before moving. He seems dedicated and smart enough to work through this, but it is just weird to watch in real time. Hopefully, his sophomore year in the NBA will see as big of an improvement as did his sophomore year in college.
- Kevin Love's 2p% is becoming problematic. The opposing strategy for dealing with Love seems to be little more than "beat the hell out of him" and it seems to be working. Watch him for 10 straight possessions next game. Watch it when shots go up. He is literally getting other teams to have guys face him up when shots go up in the air. That being said, his poor shooting is starting to become a trend.
- Speaking of trends, Wayne Ellington is the biggest non-Rubio Wolves surprise of the year and he's maintaining his good play. For newer readers of the site, I like to take stock of the team every 20 games during the year. Sample sized matter and Ellington is having a pretty damn good first sample in 2012.
PS: Utah has a really nice young team. It's also nice to see Ty Corbin back in action.