Report card in two parts: Part 1 is an argument for establishing rivalries with Houston and New York and Part 2 is the actual report card. I was considering doing a Part 3 about how dreamy Jeremy Lin is but then I realized someone else had already written that...five million times.Part 1 -- Preamble on Rivalries
Good teams are partially defined by their rivalries. Other than our brief KG heyday and some nasty games against the Nuggets, who are our rivals? I'm a long-time wolves fan and I couldn't tell ya. And even if we had rivalries, personnel has changed so much and we've accomplished so little that it's time to develop new rivalries. Ones with good juicy reasons, like stomping on a guy's face or a team whining for years that they 'deserve' our point guard. Houston and New York? You guys suck. Let's do this.
Why Houston? We took their coach. They took our announcer/GM/coach. They took Flynn. We laughed. Love stomped on Scola's face...accidentally. After years of being a model of proper player evaulation, they dumped Battier, brought on Thabeet and waived Lin because they already had Flynn. Morey has gone Dumars. Why New York? They whined for years that Rubio should play for them 'just cuz.' They waived former Finals MVP Chauncey Billups. They tried to build a team around an iso SF and a pick and roll PF without a true point guard and under a system that requires a distributor. Obviously, the basketball gods should punish them for mistreating a former Finals MVP and ignoring the dictates of team chemistry. And their fake fans (not from NY, or worse, from Jersey; rooting against their home team wearing knicks gear; know nothing about basketball; think Carmleo is actually a good player; don't realize that the knicks aren't a historic franchise and are actually one of the crappier franchises in all of sports, etc, etc) are the worst in the league. Then they lucked into Lin, who single-handedly is salvaging every poor decision NY management made. And now Lin is the sophomore darling of the NBA while we know the true sophomore sensation is Pek. You want single season improvement? Lin's WP48 last year was .157. His WP48 this year is .177. Wowzers. A .020 improvement. So impressed...Pek's WP48 last year was a NEGATIVE .080. His WP48 this year is .281. A .361 improvement. Is there a larger improvement in production this year? I don't care. I'm a homerific Wolves fan! And they don't even put Pek in the rookie sophomore game. Probably a good thing. Putting him in the game would be like when the Greek gods joined human battles and completely screwed things up. Deus ex machina. Deus PEK machina. (By the way, those fake knick fans you see every time the knicks come to any stadium? Now there'll be even more of them...even more clueless than before. Duo xie, Jeremy Lin.) So...rivalries established. My point stands! On to the report card.
Rubio 6-13, 2 boards, 9 assists, 6 Lins, 1 steal, 18 points
Rubio was a lil too knickerbocker with the ball tonight, but it's not like he had 9 Lins or more Lins than assists in a game or had at least five Lins in the last five games.
Ridnour 4-10, 6 boards, 6 assists, 2 Lins, 1 steal, 9 points
Just Luke being Luke, man. Solid back-up point type of game. Didn't jack it too much. Didn't turn it over too much.
Wes 4-6 (wha?!), 5 boards, 3 assists, 0 Lins, 2 blocks, 9 points
His defense on Martin was excellent. Overall strong contribution to the team. Only a B because he still owes us a lot for all the other games. This was probably his best game of the season. For the first time all season, I was rooting for him to get back on the court, instead of the other way around.
Love 11-16, 17 boards, 1 assist, 4 Lins, 2 blocks, 33 points
"Hopefully, they'll move past the stomp, know that I've learned from it and just start remembering me as a good player who beat them up in the fourth quarter." I love this guy. What more can you say at this point?
Pekovic 13-20, 12 boards, 1 assist, 6 Lins, 3 steals, 3 blocks, 30 points
He plays within his skillset, which is what great players do. Pek is a great player. He's amongst the top five centers in the league. I remember a game ages ago in which Pooh Richardson put up a hook shot and was asked about it after the game. He gave some silly answer about all the different things he can do. That's why his name was pooh. Small point guards should not be practicing hook shots. Just like Pek ain't gonna try to crossover dribble penetration. Pek knows his game and he plays it to near perfection. Behind that brute strength bear-strangling, skull-amassing frame is a very smart basketball player.
And the rest...
Webster 18:50 minutes, 1-3, 1 assist, 1 block, 3 points
We need more from this dude. Sooner the better.
Beasley 18:50 minutes, 3-7, 2 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 Lin, 6 points
I like that Beas is distributing more and that his defense has improved, but he's still stopping the ball too much on offense and still overall looking poor on D. Tonight was limited minutes but he contributed positively across the board. I was happy when he was out in the fourth though -- I do not trust his decision-making.
Still Caged Lion 9:50 minutes, 1-2, 3 points
Lions don't like to play defense or get an assist or rebound or steal or block or do much of anything. Simba's got to learn. Hakuna matata, my friend.
Adelman -- B+. I enjoy a small rotation. I enjoy a win, but an 8 man rotation? Would he prefer if his scrubs were injured? Don't want no scrubs? Was he listening to TLC prior to the game?
Team D -- A. Our overall team effort on defense was great.
Lins -- D. 19 Lins, 16 of those from Rubio, Love and Pekovic. Our Big Three can't turn the ball over like that.
Houston Crowd: F. They failed to show up.
For more number-y and graph fun: