My internet works again, so I can share with you my thoughts on the game, which I watched this afternoon.
Pregame, I had a number of questions, which I'm sure many of you shared. Questions such as:
- Can the Wolves finally go to .500?
- Is Beas going to take over again?
- If he does, will McHale continue to guard him with Budinger/Parsons?
- Is Pek going to collect any more skulls?
- How many bloody times do we have to play Houston anyway?
Firstly, .500 baby!
Secondly, apologies in advance.
First half, the Wolves came out strong and didn't fall behind early, and from then it was just a case of hanging on. This needs to happen every game. We got kinda lucky, Kevin Martin wasn't really in the game at all (2 points in 31 minutes) and couldn't get near Ridnour on defence early on. Ran a nice tight 10 man rotation (although Miller only played 6) and did what we had to do.
Near the end of the third we ran a really interesting 3 guard (all points!), 2 forward line-up of Ricky/JJ/Luke/Beas/KLove which actually looked pretty decent. (Was more balanced when Webster came in for Luke).
Houston turned it up in the 4th, and it felt like we were going to throw it away, but some nice play from Pek and a whole load of missed shots by Houston made it safe.
Starting line up:
Ricky Rubio 13-1-11 in 36 minutes B+
Seemed kinda off in the first half. BEAUTIFUL steal at the end of the first half. You know how it is, he's the Unicorn. Despite being a bit off he still outplayed all the Rockets' guards in my eyes and made some nice shots in the fourth. As always, highlight passes and general magical stuff.
Luke Ridnour 22-2-2 in 31 minutes (freaky symmetrical) A-
When Luke's shot is falling, he's fantastic. There was a period in the first quarter where we were going to Luke every time being guarded by Martin, and Houston would give it to Parsons to go at Ridnour at the other end. Played nice at the 2 next to Rubio, and I don't remember him ever running the point? Felt like it was always either Rubio or Barea. Anyway, good game from Ridnour.
Wes Johnson 5-1-0 in 19 minutes C
Nice alley-oop off a Rubio (who else?) pass, hit a 3. Pretty unremarkable game otherwise.
Kevin Love 25-18-1 and one stamp in 38 minutes B
Seemed a bit out of sorts - announcing team said he had flu. I thought he did a decent job defending Scola, but Scola got 24 so maybe I was seeing things that weren't there. Really good job on offence too. Him and Scola battled all game, which I guess brings us to the stamp. He's getting suspended for sure. He looks down, and stamps his chest, there's kind of no defence for it. I also think it's going to damage his reputation in the league. Bizarrely, Scola improved post-incident, and I felt like Love went cold for a bit. However, I can't let it get in the way of Love's overall game, which I thought was pretty decent.
Nikola Pekovic 11-9-0 in 29 minutes A-
The Peksecutioner. Tyrannosaurus Pek. The Pekberg.
Who can stop this guy? Big respect to Cynical, he's been talking this guy up for ages now, and he really does seem the real deal. Start him, leave him in as long as he can play/as long as foul trouble allows. Did a good job both ends on Dalembert (4 points, one rebound) and split time at C with Love and Miller.
I bumped him up to an A because he really stepped up in the 4th and crushed all his opponents before him. Add a couple of skulls.
Michael Beasley 6-6-1 in 19 minutes C
His time on the sidelines seems to have helped. No longer stopping the ball movement, he's making nice passes and sensible plays. Kind of unremarkable - nothing sticks out (bad or good) but played well overall. Definitely prefer him coming off the bench though.
JJ Barea 10-3-3 in 25 minutes B+
I'd like to see some stats in terms of difference in pace when JJ is running point and when Rubio is. It feels fast with Ricky out there, but Barea makes everything seem super quick. Also, he creates a whole load of problems when he goes to the rim, noone can get near him. Kept it energetic in the second quarter.
Brad Miller 0-2-2 in 6 minutes B-/incomplete
Did I see him throw an alley oop (missed) for Webster? Kinda uninspiring numbers, but he felt a lot more important. Came in in the second quarter and (along with JJ), steadied it a bit and kept the momentum going. Couple of turnovers as a result of misunderstandings too.
Martell Webster 2-1-1 in 20 minutes C
Shot doesn't seem to want to fall at the moment, but energetic and hustling for loose balls. Want to see what he can do with bigger minutes.
Derrick Williams 6-5-0 in 13 minutes C/incomplete
We've had two biiiiig missed dunks this year, that would both have made big highlights. Webster with the left hander off a drive in his first game back, and tonight, with DWill attempting a HUGE putback off a missed Webster 3.
I just don't know anymore. When he's out on the court, he looks like (with enough minutes) he could do something really special. Where can we get the minutes from though? If we can fit him in and give him over 20 minutes a night I think we have to keep him. Otherwise, I don't know. I like him a lot though.
Mr. Adelman: A+
How much fun is it watching this team?
Also, I love having a coach that's constantly up on the sidelines looking animated.
I have so much respect, I will now no longer refer to him as Rick, or Adelman. It's Mr. Adelman from here on out.
Luis Scola's Hair: F
Apart from some rubbish about cricket, they did a good job. Weird seeing a game at Target Centre that isn't called by Hanny and J-Pete though.
All over the place.
That's your lot. Hope you don't feel I've messed it up too badly!
Comments, constructive criticism and personal abuse below.
Also, I saw Jonny Flynn!