The time: 7:30ish
The place: Southdale YMCA, elliptical machines
The event: Me, watching the Wolves game while working out. On the TV Anrei Kirilenko takes the ball on the wing from about 10 feet out, makes a nifty pump-fake and then drives to the rim for a beautiful left hand finish. A "YES!" and a "Nice." were overheard by fellow worker-outers.
When was the last time you were in public with a Wolves game on and people were a) watching and b) cheering?
I can't wait for Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love to get back on the court. As it stands right now, this team is League Pass Alert worthy about 70% of the time. They move the ball, they have a Pek, they have an AK47 (who is very quickly moving his way up my list of favorite Wolves...seriously, I've wanted this guy at Target Center for a long, long time and now that he's here, it's better than I imagined. At least until the 1st injury takes him out for an extended period of time; to say nothing about the playoffs), they have a productive bench, and even Derrick Williams has had a few moments to get excited about (his defense has been a lot better than I remember).
With Love and Rubio on the sidelines, the Wolves have a fairly simple game plan: Win as a team. Tonight's game against Orlando was about as solid of an example of this theory as we're likely to see. 5 players in double figures, 6 players with at least 5 rebounds, Brandon Roy becoming a distributor (9 assists) when his shot wasn't falling, Chase Budinger getting to the line when his 3-ball wasn't hitting the mark, Pek being Pek, and nobody playing over 31 minutes of action. If this sort of action can be duplicated with the addition of Love and Rubio. They can beat anybody in the league.
What was interesting about tonight's game was that the Wolves held the Magic to .350 shooting with a .362 efg. This is a pretty rare event in Minnesota basketball. The Wolves have held their opponents to sub .350 shooting just 39 times in franchise history, the last coming against the Wizard in the
game travesty that probably got Flip Saunders fired.
If you throw in Orlando's .25 3p%, the Wolves have held opponents to a sub 35/25 mark only 24 times in franchise history.
You see, the Wolves seem to be playing this thing called "defense." Kirilenko is leading the way but tonight's game also showed that Pek can hold his own in the post (albeit horizontally) and that Derrick Williams is starting to show that maybe he did work on something over the summer. Shooters are getting flashed at, picks are getting blown up, arms are waving, communication is happening all over the place. What in the world is happening out there with Our Beloved Puppies?!
Whatever it is, its full Love/Rubio-less version was on full display tonight against the Magic.
We'll have more coverage in our crowdsourced recap.
Until then, go Wolves!