So the idea was to try to once again change the way report cards are done, for one night at least. Following after Feral's opus from the Memphis game, and being totally unable to multi-task, I thought it would be fun to try to track one players activity for the entire game. FSN and Tim's pregames featured Luke Ridnour as an essential ingredient in any possible Wolves win tonight. It seemed natural to follow Luke around to see what his contributions would be for this game. I will, of course, still do grades for the team after a running tally for Luke.
SPOTLIGHT ON LUKE RIDNOUR!
Luke, of course, starts at point guard. Martell Dunk! Bobcats running Luke through multiple picks. Luke pass to Westover. Luke playing pretty good D on D.J. so far. Luke assist to Love jumper. Luke nice feed to cutting Love 9:12. Luke drives around key then feeds Love for bucket at at 7:40. Luke misses floater, Love hits 3! Luke to DWill! Already 5 assists! Luke to Love for missed jumper. 2nd Westover of quarter. TO Charlotte 4:32.. Luke is getting it to Love consistently so far. Webster drive, Love ORB. Luke jumper 2:47. TO Minn 2:26. Luke nearly Manthered, paramedics on standby! Luke misses jumper, Love penetrates and dishes to AT for bucket. Luke rebound. Luke gets a no-call on charge and 1! Luke misses layup.
Luke 5 points, 5 assists for the quarter!
Wayno missed jumper. Luke floater! Luke finds AT on drive. 1 of 2 FTs for AT. Luke steals D.J. pass! Misses jumper. Luke to Love for layup. Luke gets well earned sit at 9:26. Malcolm calls TO on rookie misunderstanding. Makes up for it by hitting layups twice! Bobcats start driving the pace at a higher tempo once Kemba is in. Wayno to Lee to AT on some sweet passing! Love sits at 5:52. Sloppy play breaks out with multiple turnovers going nowhere, no points, just fast paced jogging near the cylinder. Luke in at 4:26. AT hits a 3! Phantom Foul on DWill. Love in at 3:46. Luke misses floater. Love and Najera smash knees, looks bad initially, but both play on. Cardiac surgeons on stand down! Love misses jumper, AT ORB. Luke floater at :26! Luke to Wayno for layup just a tad too late at the half.
Luke at the half: 11 points, 6 assists, 1 rebound, 1 block, and 1 steal. Lucky thing I picked him to spotlight and not Wes.
Wolves and Bobcats numbers are close as the score would indicate, Bobcats are getting the fastbreak advantage however. Luke goes inside out to Love for 3! Luke feeds Martell, who has a Maalox moment. Webstover? Wes for 3! Dwill drives but can't finish, again... Wes draws a charge. Luke turns it over on telegraphed pass to Love. illegal screen frees D.J , Luke is playing good defense on him, but not so great on Kemba. Speed kills, I guess. Luke 2nd rebound. Luke feeds Wes for 3! 7:09 Luke layup! Love goes 5 of 6 from the stripe in the quarter. Wes dribbles to the corner and picks up the dribble into the pressure AGAIN tonight- is a negative BBIQ possible? Luke draws a foul on D.J. White. AT in for DWill, thank you RA! Martell for 3! AT blocks Maggettes dunk! Wolves finish quarter with solid zone defense.
Luke at the end of the 3rd: 13 points, 9 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal.
Love for 3 at 11:09! Bobcats are playing good defense tonight and getting points from the pressure. Love for 3 again on Luke assist! Kemba back in; oh oh? Kemba 3! Love spins for the layup. Luke feeds AT who is fouled and misses both FTs. Luke 3rd rebound. Luke to Love for 2 followed by Luke to AT for 2. With 6 minutes to go Bobcat TO. Luke to Love for dunk! To this point, Luke, Love and AT, with small help from everyone else, are winning this. Luke feeds Love who makes 2 of 2 free throws. Luke fouled by Maggette and makes 2of 2. Wes draws charge on Maggette and then mugs Kemba. With :14 left, Wes fouls Maggette. WTF?
Luke's game stats: 15 points, 14 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block.
ON TO THE GRADES!
KLove: Just another day at the office for someone who is starting to make all of us question whether there is a new best Timberwolves player ever continuing to emerge. His stat line for the evening: 40 points, 19 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 turnovers. Is there a grade above A+ for a guy who has scored over 30 points in 4 of his last 5 games? No? A+ it is then.
Luke: With Ricky and JJ not playing, Luke is doing yeoman work; the fact that he's dinged up just makes this all the more impressive! He literally has to set the table for everyone and still get 15 points a night for us to win right now. His defense was actually pretty good tonight which is just frosting on the cake. Nothing less than an A will do for his grade.
Anthony Tolliver: AT supplied a lot of hustle plays tonight, and shot the ball well enough to make Love and Luke's great games be enough for the win. He does make the occasional error, but makes up for it with such wonderful things as the blocked shot he drilled into the seats on Cory Maggette's dunk attempt! His 11 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 amazing block earn him a solid B
Martell Webster: Martell played mostly solid defense tonight and drove the lane enough to keep the Bobcats from triple teaming Love all night. He also rebounded at some crucial moments and didn't turn the ball over much. His 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 block merit a C+
Derrick Williams: Dwill got a lot of minutes early in this game and made some shots. It was obvious that he still needs to workout with Sumo wrestlers if he is ever going to be able to finish in the lane! Adelman doesn't trust him in important points of the game and he hasn't done enough to prove himself capable of handling that kind of pressure. His stats for the night are 5 points, 2 rebounds, and a forgettable evening of basketball. Grade is C-
Wes Johnson: What can I say? If Rick Adelman had a shock collar installed on Wes, it would likely lead to a severe case of repetitive motion disease for the entire coaching staff from pressing the buzzer! Wes can make nice plays like the 2 charges he drew on Maggette tonight, and then turn around and foul Maggette near the 3 point line with 14 seconds left and an 8 point lead. His 5 points and 5 rebounds keep his grade out of negative numbers, but just barely. D-
Wayne Ellington: Couldn't hit a shot to save his life tonight. He did play some minutes of good D and got 2 boards and a steal, but other than that nothing. D
Malcolm Lee: He and Wayno had the unenviable task of trying to slow down Kemba Walker tonight. They may need to see a chiropractor to alleviate the pain from their whiplash injuries! Kemba is scary fast, but Malcolm mostly kept in front of him and even contributed 4 points and an assist. Small sample size considered, still worth a solid C
Rick Adelman and the coaching staff: You have to wonder if their game plan was to put out our 3 players and substitute liberally with whomever showed a pulse on the bench; Darko excepted, of course! The size of the doghouse that Darko currently resides in is nearly impossible to measure, I have a suspicion that if we had 4 healthy players and Darko, RA would force Kahn to sign any D leaguer who could make it here in time for the game. Adelman made good timely substitutions, got a bit of rest for KLove and Luke, and showed some wisdom in not slamming Lee for the mistaken timeout call. A
I have to admit that I had misgivings about this game and whether we had enough healthy bodies to be competitive with the Bobcats. They have a lousy record, but are not mincemeat as they proved tonight. Once they get a bit more talent and a few years of experience, they can be serious competition for anyone! Somehow another spectacular game from the best power forward in the NBA this year, coupled with a point guard had a really solid game, a reserve forward who had a good game, and not much else was enough tonight. Let's hope Beas and Pek and Barea can give us some minutes here soon, the Misfit Toys are looking worse for the wear....
Thanks Bsg and everyone for letting me do this card, apparently the trauma of the last one has worn off already!