First of all, just look at it. Look at the first half of last night's game flow. The Minnesota Timberwolves pulled off a 14-1 run while shooting a .595% eFG for the first 24 minutes of action only to find themselves down by 15 points to a team that shot an eFG% of .666. Of course the Lakers shot .666 in the first half. Why wouldn't they?
What's really amazing is that the L**ers had a TS% of .808 in the first quarter. They scored 37 points on just 22 shots.
Despite all of that, take a look at the final Four Factors tally:
The Wolves didn't just lose because of crazy shooting. The F**kers obliterated the Wolves on the offensive glass by a wide margin (17-8) while turning an early FTA drought (6 attempts in the first half) to a downpour (19 attempts in the final 24 minutes). In other words, the first half was a crazy-ass anomaly that was kind of fun to watch while the second half...well, the Wolves got Laker'd by a bad aging team who got every benefit of the doubt. Pau Gasol, that big guy who bangs around every now and then in the lane, ended the tilt with over 37 minutes of play and zero fouls. The Wolves clearly didn't lose because of the zebras, but the second half certainly featured some of the Laker play we've come to know and love over the years. This was one of those stretches of action your NBA-hating friend always points to when deriding the league. "Even if they got it close in the first half, you really didn't think they would win, did you?" No, no I didn't. And I'm pretty sure we can all put a finger on the reason why after seeing it up close two times a year for a long, long while.
And yes, this is sour grapes based on the fact that the Wolves just don't have a player (or group of players) who can activate the David Stern safe word with the refs. Maybe we should just start yelling out random phrases at the zebras when teams like the Heat, Clippers, and Lakers come to town.
Anywho...on the bright side of things, the Wolves were able to field 6 reasonably effective performances last night: Derrick Williams, Ricky Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko, Nikola Pekovic, Alexey Shved, and Chris Johnson all played well enough to win on most nights where the opposition doesn't miss for the better part of 2 quarters while being able to wrestle their way to most offensive rebounds. Unfortunately, they also got mind-numbingly poor play from Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea (who picked a bad night to storm to the bench while swearing about the poor quality of play), Dante Cunningham, and Gelebale. I think I've been saying this for the better part of 6 years on this site, but it really isn't rocket science: If only the Wolves could take some of their crappy minutes and replace them with...
Tonight Our Beloved Puppies take on the New Orleans Hornets and the worst player in all of professional basketball, Austin Rivers. Our blogging buddies for the day are over at At the Hive. (I also forgot to give a link to our SB Nation Laker site, Silver Screen and Roll.)
Today's musical selection comes from the wonderful new album by Jenn Grant.
Onward, downward, and NOT IN THE FACE!!!