1 year ago today we found out that Our Beloved Puppies' playoff push was over when Ricky Rubio was lost for the year with a knee injury. During the off-season we fans held our collective breath as David Kahn tried to overpay Nicolas Batum before finally landing Andrei Kirilenko. We even dodged the traditional bad draft bullet when the team traded their mid round pick for Chase Budinger. Things were looking up in Wolvesville. Playoffs, here we come!
Then, knuckle pushup.
Then exploding knees.
Then the worst three point shooting season in league history.
365 days after the Rubio knee injury, the Wolves found themselves up against the Dallas team that is currently the 11th seed in the Western Conference. The Mavs are an interesting mix of ancient players, journeymen, and youngsters. They are needing to work on their defense and they can't seem to find a steady starting lineup. They are fighting. They are 3 games behind the L**ers for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
What I am about to tell you is so surprising--so AMAZING!!!--but true: some coaches of NBA teams fighting for the playoffs take advantage of each and every single game situation to get their squad ready for the post season. I know, right? Post season.
Earlier tonight, Rick Carlisle used a meaningless, early-March game against a terrible squad to get his team ready for the playoffs. Dallas showed dutiful effort on defense (hedging like hell on screens, sprinting out towards jump shooters, jumping passing lanes), they expertly used their bench to wear down the depleted Wolves (I don't have the +/- numbers yet but my eyetest tells me the Wolves' bench got worked), and Carlisle COACHED THE LIVING HELL out of this tilt by doing things like calling timeouts on short opposition runs, sending in extra shooters on (relatively) meaningless end of quarter possessions, and prowling the sideline like a madman. Rick Carlisle wanted this game in a bad, bad way. He wanted it to teach his team a lesson (series of them, actually) about what it will take to make the playoffs.
The Wolves, on the other hand, taught their fans about bad entertainment and horrible three point shooting. 2-18 from the great beyond. They are now .291 on the season with 1071 attempts. They have the best passing point guard in the league with nobody to pass to. They have the best color announcers on both radio and TV with very little to talk about but bad play. The majority of their ads are their own advertisement and injury lawyers. Every missed Greg Stiemsma jumper off an amazing Ricky assist is another reminder that Kevin Love should be catching those passes.