Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
A game wrap founded on every blogger's best friend
Ah bullet points. Such a useful device for quickly putting a random list of thoughts onto a page in a way that no one questions the lack of continuity (unless you point it out to them, like this)
- Carmelo is a superstar. The zebras with whistled told me so.
- That said, the Wolves lost this game for themselves. The last 4-5 possessions were disasterous attempts at mimicking real, live basketball execution. Not sure what that last play was supposed to be, but somehow I doubt Luke trying to float it over three defenders in the middle of the floor was what got drawn on the clipboard.
- Surgery may have killed Stoudemire's value, but it certainly didn't kill his vertical. The amount of firepower NYC brings off its bench in STAT and JR Smith is legitimately intimidating.
- Derrick Williams played honestly the best basketball I've seen him play as a pro. The numbers don't necessarily stand out (well...maybe the 0-6 from three does....) but the mentality definitely did. Williams seems to have decided that the best way for him to play is angry, which in turn seems to wipe out the problem he has with overthinking everything. Smart, but not tactical. Williams exploited several mismatches, posting up Kidd and Felton, while driving by Stoudemire and Chandler. He didn't hesitate on his catch-and-shoots (granted, the slow windup release is still and issue...) He had a beautiful pump fake and-1 where he paused just long enough to let pretty much the entire Knicks defense go flying by him....and it wasn't something he planned out. He just did it. And he also got super in sync with Rubio in the second half....they were running some pretty and very, very effective pick and roll sets.
- And as a reward, he got yanked at the end of the game. I'm Dante's biggest fan, and Williams did have 5 fouls, but really....Adelman should have left DWill in until he either fouled out or the buzzed sounded.
- Which brings me to my biggest griping point of the game: Adelman's rotations were baffling tonight.
- Gelabale starts because....well, we don't have any other options. And plays pretty ok. And then doesn't see the light of day again, because Adelman decided to go all Don Nelson (more on that in a sec)
- Greg Steimsma, in the 12 minutes he played, managed to not catch three pick and roll passes and an ally-oop. And drop two rebounds. And get eaten alive by Stoudemire. Meanwhile, Chris Johnson plays for 3 minutes the whole night (during which the Wolves go +5 because he's not Greg Stiemsma) FREE POINTS BEING LEFT AT THE TABLE
- So that Nellie reference. I know Adelman likes having guys who can move the ball, but for flying fraks sake....he had JJ Barea at small forward in the fourth quarter. What? Look, that versatility angle isn't going to work when the 5'10" kamikaze can't even see the floor because his defender is 8 inches taller than him. DO NOT PLAY THREE POINT GUARD SETS
- Why did the Wolves stop feeding Pekovic?
- Jason Kidd sure runs fast for an 80 year old. And Kurt Thomas is what? 112 now?
- Tyson Chandler is a human eraser on defense. His ability to make up for the rest of his team's defensive deficiencies (and there are a lot of them....) is pretty shocking when you really study it.
- The PR guy who 'kidnapped' Crunch during the timeouts said the Knicks don't have a mascot. That is false, sir. They have Spike Lee.
- Tonight's only thrill? Ricky Rubio is back, and better than ever. Again, the numbers were great, but this is more a mentality thing. Rubio is starting to figure out just how much power he actually has as an NBA point guard. The first difference is he's (mostly) making his layups and free throws now. Bizarrely enough, Rubio has been mildly ok from midrange, but terrible from three and point blank. That's the opposite of what he needs to be, and he's fixing that. Hoorah. The second difference is he's going to the hoop with the express intent of scoring. Last year he did it to find a passing lane. He's starting to get his head around the different dynamic of NBA ball, and the fact that when you go for the bucket, the passing lanes create themselves because the defenses react very very differently than in Europe (lot's more rotation, nowhere near as much zone) Rubio's mind is fast enough to process both angles at the same time, and we're already starting to see the results: more assists AND more scoring. These past 5 games may be the best stretch of Rubio's NBA career (12 points, 10 assists, 5.4 FTA per) and I think we can all agree that there seems to have been a switch thrown somewhere in his head, starting in the second half of the Portland game, that is kicking him up to the next level as a player.
- And if he can put up double-figure assist games with this MASH unit, think of what he'd do with a healthy Love and Budinger out there.