.500 baby! It’s been a long, hard road, but here we are at last.
Seriously though, 1-1 without Kevin Love. I’ll take it, but this was a bad game. I worked as an usher at the Target Center for five years, joining soon after the Wolves lost in the Western Conference Finals. My thought at the time: I’m going to get to paid to watch this team play in the playoffs and possible the NBA finals next year and beyond. Sign me up! Five years later – zero playoff games and A LOT of bad basketball. Tonight, unfortunately was reminiscent of many of those nights in the two-thirds empty Target Center watching a slower, less-athletic, overmatched team trying to find a line-up, any line-up that could produce.
Speaking of empty crowds, where was the Memphis crowd tonight? Lot of empty seats. Very little energy despite what seemed like about dozen poster-dunks on helpless Wolves. Weren’t they like a hair away from the Western Conference finals last year?
My other lasting memory of Memphis from last year: Zach Randolph sarcastically clapping like a dopey circus clown after Kevin Love recorded his double-double. If memory serves, Love had just been chosen over Z-Bo for the All-Start game and Memphis was wiping the floor with puppy hides. Tonight we get no Z-Bo and no Love, but the Memphis domination continues – 9 of 10 for the Grizz.
On to the grades:
A = Star performance. Exceeds expectation. A joy to watch.
B = Competent performance. Just what you’d expect from a bona fide professional basketball player.
C = A bright spot here and there, but certainly less than competent. You’re not winning any games with C’s.
D = Um. . . screw it. We’re not giving D’s.
F = The Corey Brewer Zone. A performance you just want to forget. Let’s move on.
23 min. 3-6 FG. 1-2 FT. 2 REB. 1 AST. 1 TO. 7 PTS. Grade: C
According to Jim Peterson, Wes has dunked more in the first third of this season than he did all of last season. Ok. But he’s shooting less than 25% from 3-point range. I’m not sure why Wes is still logging starts. Really liked Wes’ feed to Pek in the 3rd quarter. Not really a presence in the game (including on defense), but 3-6 and only 1 turnover gets him the C.
30 min. 6-13 FG. 1-1 FT. 9 REB. 1 STL. 1 BLK. 2 TO. 13 pts. C+
First quarter was a B, for sure. 4-7 shooting. 6 REB. Lots of energy. Next two quarters. Yikes. You might want to get back on defense. 4th quarter DNP. Looking slightly more competent running a set offense, but still suffers from stretches where he seem lost on offense. I’m a fan. I think he’s a beast. I hope he figures it out.
28 min. 5-8 FG. 0-2 FT. 9 REB. 1 STL. 1 TO. 10 PTS. B-
I like the 5-8 and he logs a double-double if he plays during the 4th quarter. 10 and 9 through 3 quarters is pretty much what I expect from the Pek (trying to temper exPEKtations). Nearly dropped him into the C range because he couldn’t seem to find his rhythm offensively and looked slow. I also thought Gasol was having his way with him, but then I saw Gasol’s 4-13. We’re giving Pek credit for some of that.
22 min. 1-8 FG. 3 AST. 1 STL. 2 BLK. 0 TO. 2 PTS. F
No offense. No defense. 3 assists and 2 blocks give him some buzz, but you’re not passing this one, Luke.
28 min. 1-6 FG. 2-2 FT. 7 REB. 1 AST. 2 STL. 4 TO. 4 PTS. F.
This one hurts, sports fans, but we’re doling out some tough love today. Yes, Ricky gets more assists if anyone can knock down an open shot. Yes, the 7 REB draw attention, but Ricky didn’t have it tonight, and we’re not giving D’s. What’s the point? Conley had similar stats, but looked quicker, stronger, and was able to impact the game. And two of those turnovers came from Ricky jumping into the air with nowhere to pass – a cardinal basketball sin. Let’s just put it behind us and move on.
Starting lineup: 39% FG. 0-8 3-pt FG. 7 FTA. Average +/- of -10. 4th quarter minutes: 0
Ability to get back on defense: NEEDS IMPROVEMENT. To say the least.
8 min. 0-2 FG. 2-2 FT. 1 TO 2 pts. B- (adjusted grade)
Nothing special, but just what you’d expect from 8 minutes of Brad Miller. Competent. Didn’t kill us. Did some wily veteran stuff.
19 min. 1-2 FG. 4 REB. 1 BLK. 1 TO 2 PTS. B
Nice 20 footer to log those 2 points, AT. Somehow managed a +8 (best on the team), but probably benefitted from playing with JJ and during the Grizzles cold streaks. We’ll give him some defensive points.
23 min. 4-9 FG. 3-6 3pt FG. 6-8 FT. 3 REB. 6 AST. 2 STL. 2 TO. 17 pts. A
Lone bright sport for our favorite team. Padded the stats. Pushed the tempo. He was active and seemed to be the only player drawing fouls. Drew a charge. My 3rd and 4th quarter notes are dominated by "JJ ____!" Fun to watch on a night when the Wolves were not fun to watch.
8 min. 0-3 FG. 1 REB. 0 PTS. F
Complete non factor unless you’re counting his, um, "defense" on Mayo or his stupid foul to end the 1st quarter. Martell is not the answer, people.
12 min. 1-4 FG. 3 REB. 1 AST. 1 STL. 1 BLK. 2 pts. C
I got a little excited for about 90 seconds in the 4th quarter. JJ was keeping it close and I thought, hey, Wayne hits a couple of threes, grabs a couple of steals, and we sneak out of here with a game we have no business winning. Make it Wayne, people!
Wayne’s not the answer, either.
27 min. 6-11. 1-2 3pt FG. 6 REB. 2 AST. 2 STL. 2 TO. 13 pts. B-
This is good, solid 6th man stats here. I’ll take 6-11 from the Bease any day. In fact, why wasn’t he shooting it MORE? It’s not like the offense was a-rollin’. I know, I know. We complain about his ball stopping, and we hail him every time he passes. But this was a garbage game from tip-off to buzzer. Unleash the Bease. He might have been the answer.
12 min. 3-7 FG. 2-2 FT. 3 REB. 1 AST. 8 PTS. B-
Wanted to slap a C grade here for Randolph getting waxed on the board and for his horrible shot in the 4th quarter. But based on what we expect from AR, wasn’t he competent? He drew a charge. Was in the right place at the right time on offence to the tune of 8 pts. What more do you want from your 4th string PF?
I sent an invite to the Big Tweet last night telling him my pad was open if he wanted to hang here for the night and watch the game. He didn’t respond. I’m a little miffed, but I’ll get over it. And the Wolves will get over this game, for sure. Short-term memory, right K-Love? We’ll see you on Friday.
Want to wrap up with a shout-out to all the administrators, bloggers, and fans who make Canis Hoopus what it is. Thanks for making my Woves games 68.4% more enjoyable. Keep up the good work.
What did you all think?