Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
I'm going to try to keep this brief, for all of our sakes. This was two bad teams going at it on a mid-March Wednesday night on the Frozen Tundra. I didn't get the feeling that many (either players or fans) wanted to be there, and the refs (as usual) were only half aware of what was going on. So let me say this:
My family (read: my parents) have been season ticket holders since it all began. Like SnP's rant from a few days ago, I saw MJ and Magic in the Dome. I saw sellouts watching Poo run Muss' offense. I remember when Laettner dropped 44.
After only 73 career games, I believe that Ricky Rubio is already the 4th most dynamic Wolf (in terms of wanting to watch) of all time. As of now I have him slightly ahead of Sam I am and behind only KG, KLove and Starbury. He wil certainly catch Steph in the next 12 months, and while I don't ever see him catching KG, depending on KLove's tenure with the Wolves, I think he's got a legit shot at #2 all time.
The game largely came down to two things for the first 3 quarters: The Wizards' willingness to turn the ball over, and the Wolves' willingness to miss FTs. Then the 4th quarter stared with RR on the bench. The Wolves scored a total of zero points in the first 3 minutes of the 4th quarter and the Wiz went on a 10-0 run.
RR came back into the game (and thanks to a gift foul call when Shved was "shooting" just before the shot clock expired which would have been TO #4 in a row), and from that point on the Wolves outscored the Wiz by 13.
Barea was certainly huge and DC had some buckets, but look what happened when RR came back into the game was this:
9:00 4Q, Wolves down 8: RR draws offensive foul
8:25 4Q, Wolves down 7: RR steal
8:03 4Q, Wolves down 4: RR steal
6:35 4Q, Wolves down 4: RR steal
From there, it was a 2pt Wiz lead that the Wolves turned into a 5 point lead. They were nursing a 1 point lead when Barea and RR picked John Wall's pocket leading to a layup with 0:28 left and that was the ballgame.
Bottom line: RR was pretty masterful on both offense and especially defense and the Wolves would be nowhere without him. Here's hoping for 3 weeks of RR-Love-Pek-AK-Bud with D-Will, Luke, JJ and Shved off the bench. Let's see what we have.
Some quick bullets:
- Was fun to see Wittman as clueless as he always was. This guy can't coach his way out of a paper bag. The fact that he still gets chances in the league says something about the NBA's owners and teams tanking on purpose.
- Martel Webster still moves like an old man with a bad back, though he can shoot this year.
- Ariza had 16 in the first half and 16 for the game.
- Wall is fast but he doesn't seem to try to get to the hoop in the half court. Settled for jump shots the whole night. They fell in the 1st and didn't in the 2nd. 6 turnovers were killer. The anti-RR in terms of basketball IQ.
- I generally like Nene as a player but think that he's overpaid and can't stay healthy. 7 TOs tonight.
- Did I mention that Wit is a terrible coach?
- Shved has crashed into the rookie wall and doesn't seem to know what to do with himself. Teams have figured out that they can body him and push him around, and right now he doesn't have an answer.
- Not one of Luke's finest games, including a ridiculous technical, but he is given an impossible task on a nightly basis and attempts to do all that is asked of him.
- The 4th quarter tonight was all Good JJ. Not so much before then.
- DWill was a mixed bag. Had a tough matchup (guarding Nene, who has like 5 inches and 50 pounds on him) but DWill also settled for way too many long 2s, which weren't falling. He got to the line 11 times. As SnP has said, 3s and FTs. DWill certainly seems to be figuring it out a bit.
- DWill and RR missed 7FTs between them. Thank god we won this game.
- The Steamer has hands of stone and can't shoot on the move. Imagine where RR would be on his assists if 100% of the 5 was manned by Pek and Love (with maybe a little Chris Johnson thrown in)
- Can the Wolves run with a 4-5 rotation of Love, Pek and DWill?
- Can Bud make the corner-3 looks that Rindour gets? Does that open the offense for everyone?
- Will we ever see RR-Bud-AK-Love-Pek on the court together?
Finally, I will leave you with this thought: I don't care how bad this team is, as long as RR is on the Wolves, they will be worth watching to me. If he's not a once-in-a-generation player like KG, he has the potential to be close. Here's hoping he spends his summer working on his jumpshot.
Here's my theme for May thru September with this team.