Stray observations while attempting to stay awake during the T-Wolves vs. Bulls war of attrition.
Derrick Williams- 0/10 FG, 6 Reb, 0 Ast
Everyone who says relax, stay calm, let Andrei mentor him, etc. with Williams is not watching the same player as me. He is the anti-Kirilenko. All the little things Andrei does to keep this team afloat are negated by DW. A 3 second penalty here, a weak pick there, off-balance shots and defensive goal-tending. Not to mention that shooting performance. If you give his ten shots to anyone else on the court (save for possibly the Steamer), this game is decided in the last minute instead of on Belinelli's threes. Kevin Love cannot come back soon enough.
Seriously, how good is Kirilenko? Even when he has an off-game (3-9 FG, 0-3 3pt) he finds ways to impact the game. 12 rebounds, 7 assists, diving for loose balls, and that pump-fake. My god, that pump-fake.
It will be very interesting to see what role the Inferno takes on when this team is back at full-strength (sometime in March 2014, by my calculations). He can hit that mid-range jumper that eludes D-Will, but as this game demonstrated, his interior defense leaves a lot to be desired. This Wolves looked their best mid-way through the 2nd Quarter when they ran the offense through Shved and Luke, with Bud in the corner and Dante and Pek banging down-low.
In a game where we kept our TOs in check, it was defense on the outside that really killed us. The Bulls came into the game averaging only 3.2 three point attempts per game. They shot 13 tonight, connecting on 6. If this team is going to compete against the upper-echelons of the Western Conference, they need to find a salve.
While this team certainly only goes far with a healthy Rose in the line-up, this is a really solid team. Every guy they put on the court (except Nazr Mohammed) is a positive contributor, and their defense is lights-out. Teams built on savvy, defensive veterans (i.e. San Antonio, Memphis) are going to cause the Wolves a lot of trouble.
Also, how good is Joakim Noah? Despite Jim Petersen's trepidation, this guy should definitely be an All-Star. If only the Wolves hadn't picked the other Junior out of Florida.
Let's look at this for what it was: a loss, on the road, on a back-to-back, to a Top 5 NBA defensive team without four (going on five) of our biggest producers. Bud's X-rays are normal (let's hope the MRI looks good), we are 4-2, and face a very beatable (they lost to Charlotte!) Dallas team next.
Historic Signing of The Peklaration of Indepekdence, Summer 2013
Pek should eat Brand (helps ease digestion) for breakfast against Dallas, and Kaman too. Keep feeding it to the big man and make him earn that max deal.