And as always, this is my first go at the whole, report card thing so enjoy! (I hope you will at least)
This game had it's bizarro qualities: Phoenix and Minnesota have now flipped in the aspect of playoff contention, Minnesota is now being favored in more games than recent memory has showed, and Grant Hill almost lead the game in scoring. Wow. Ok. Moving on to the grades.
"Big Sexy" Kevin
Nash Love (yes, a Kevin Nash reference. I'm a recovering wrestling nerd): Kevin got his double-double, got beat-up in the down 'n dirty again (with very little whistling) and finished with 23 points. Good to see him back after missing the LA Bloodbath last night, but a fairly slow start and 8-25 with 1-5 in the land of the triple, doesn't make for much of an exciting day. He is the superhero of the north though, so he gets a pass. B+
Wes "Pants" Johnson (I still love the plaid pants he wore on draft day): It seems that Wes is either widely visible or next to translucent. Strong defense and 50% shooting sounds to me like Wes showed up tonight. 5 boards, 2 steals and 2 blocks on the night was good to see from, the player who draws the most heat on other fan sites, blogs and facebook pages. I'll be the first to say, "Hi, my name is Trent and I'm a Wes Johnson supporter." I have faith in him and his ability for growth. A
Nikola "Two-Tons 'o Pek" Pekovic: Another 50% shooter. The big fella was able to get 9 boards and didn't play as impressive as he has lately, but I say there were more than just a few missed low post calls in favor of our favorite Skull-Crusher. B-
Luke "Skywalker" Ridnour: Can anyone even come close to shooting that exceptionally high floater as well as Luke? Team leader in assists tonight, 15 points, perfect from the stripe. Another well rounded game for Luke. B
Ricky "The Magical Spanish Unicorn" Rubio: 13 points, 2 assists, perfect at the stripe, dreamy as ever. A concern as of late has been turnovers for Ricky. Just one tonight though, so those worries (for tonight at least) have been relaxed. B-
Martell Webster: Anyone else notice that Martell's hair is looking more and more like Tracy Chapman's? I almost think that "Fast Car" by the afforementioned singer, could be his song of choice to be played after a bucket. Martell in my opinion is showing to be a good player with a place developing on this team. Though tonight, some choices made on the floor in the realm of shot selection could be considered, off. 9 points from the bench, 3 boards, 1 steal. C
Michael "Beastley" Beasley: Not much to say about Bease tonight. 6points, 1 for 5, 1 from the charity stripe, 2 blocks 3 boards. Less than 20 mins tonight didn't ammount to much. Another victim of shot selection tonight. C
Derrick "Big Cat"' Williams: Feels like ages ago that he scored 27 points. Just 6 tonight, on 20% shooting and a team worst 2 for 6 on freethrows. 3 boards and 3 steals on the defensive side though. C-
Some grades may seem a little high, but I was pretty much grading on stats and things that could be controlled. Yet one thing that could be controlled to a certain degree was the ability to maintain the pace and momentum to the game. Sure, some shots will fall despite the tightest of defenses, but it almost feels like the coasting is almost an involuntary reaction. It could almost be considered a negative learned behavion. Some teams develop this habit from exposure to prolonged wins, yet others learn it from the futility of a butt kicking. Either way, it can be changed.
So there it is: on paper didn't look terrible, but paper can only show so much. This was a game that went from fun, to back and forth, to resisting the urge to throw the remote through the wall (moody sum'bitch, remember?). Better luck next time,
Thanks for reading