I have been thinking recently (because of posts and posters here at CH) about how we want the Wolves to play. More pick and rolls, no more hockey subs, more set threes. Because I have little sway with the T-wolves coaching staff and front office, I took control the only way I know how: by firing up my roommate’s Xbox and commanding the wolves on the court in NBA 2K14. Playing against the Jazz, I tried to spread it out on offense, keep a starter on the floor at all times, and let Rubio create in the pick and roll.
I was soundly defeated. In eight minute quarters, I lost to the Jazz 81-64. Although I shot 19/30 on 2s, my poor 3-point shooting (6/26 for 23%) ended being the deciding factor in the loss. Losing the turnover and offensive rebounding differential also didn't help.
Thankfully, I am not in control on the Minnesota Timberwolves substitution patterns or jump shots. Whatever they were doing worked pretty well tonight. Final score was 121-104. Kevin Love messed around and got his first triple double, rookies were dunking left and right, and the Wolves dished 31 assists on 43 field goals. The bench held the lead in the second, and some key folks got to rest up before the second night of the back-to-back tomorrow in Portland. Seeing Ricky and Kevin palling around after the game warmed my heart. Player grades and their 2K counterparts if you'd like to keep reading.
Ricky Rubio (Real Life): A-
28 min, 15 pts (5-7 fg, 1-1 3fg, 4-5 ft), 6 rb, 7 a, 4 to
Ricky doesn't need to do a lot when Love is playing like this. But when he did have the ball, Ricky was getting to the rim, drawing fouls and even hit a three! I particularly enjoyed one bizzaro-reverso sequence in the second where Ricky was on the receiving end of two great, consecutive passes from Love, one he made and the other he blew. Strange looking at a Rubio statline with no steals.
Ricky Rubio (2K14): C
6 pts (3-3 fg), 2 rb, 13 a, 5 stl, 8 to
Ricky got stripped in the lane a lot, and fouled out because he kept trying to steal it from Trey Burke at halfcourt for some reason.
Alexey Shved (Real Life): DNP
Sexi Lexi was nowhere to be seen, which is sad, because I like looking at his silly hair and creepy, creepy mask.
Alexey Shved (2K14): B
14 pts (5-13 fg, 3-10 3fg, 1-2 ft) 0 rb, 5 a, 2 blk, 1 to
Alexey Shved: Rim Protector. The stats don't adequately capture the fact that all of his assists were sick-ass alley oops.
Chase Budinger (Real Life): A
23 min, 13 pts (4-6 fg, 3-4 3fg, 2-2 ft), 4 rb, 2 a, 1 stl, 2 to
I like this Chase. Gunning without hesitation, putting up transition threes while the defense is still getting set, getting fouled on sloppy fast breaks. Please stay like this forever, Meatball.
Chase Budinger (2K14): C-
13 pts (5-15 fg, 3-12 3fg) 1 rb, 1 a, 1 stl, 1 to
Admirably kept gunning even though his motion is really stupid to shoot with.
Corey Brewer (Real Life): B-
36 min, 13 pts (5-12 fg, 0-2 3fg, 3-3 ft), 4 rb, 1 a, 1 to
Corey did a great job streaking for outlets, and had to pay with hars fouls on a few of them. He also haphazardly dribbled about and threw up some confusing shots. Each contested Brewer layup is a gangly snowflake, a unique combination of limb contortion that we will never see again.
Corey Brewer (2K14): C+
4 pts (2-2 fg), 7 rb, 1 a, 1 blk
No video game can really capture the inherent terror of a Corey Brewer spin move, which is what truly makes us human.
Kevin Love (Real Life): A+++++
33 min, 37 points (11-20 fg, 6-10 3fg, 9-10 ft), 12 rb, 10 a, 1 stl, 1 to
It was clear that Kevin Love was just much better at basketball than anybody else in this game. The triple-double helps validate that. The 3rd quarter was something else. It had everything that Love gives you. Draining threes, one-handing offensive boards for easy put-backs, moving the ball to open shooters in the corners, cleaning the defensive glass. He logged 14 straight minutes after halftime, and dominated so completely that he didn't need to play anymore after that.
Kevin Love (2K14): C
15 pts (5-12 fg, 0-3 3fg, 5-5 ft), 7 rb, 0 a, 1 stl, 3 to
Had trouble getting his post moves to make any goddamn sense, is apparently still fat Kevin based on fatigue ratings.
Gorgui Dieng (Real Life): A-
22 min, 8 pts (4-5fg, 0-2 ft), 8 rb, 1 a, 3 blk, 1 to
It was nice to see Gorgui get into the offense a little bit. He was setting picks, cutting baseline, and his rolls opened up Dante for midrange a few times. He had a couple dunks and a couple rather silly looking post sequences. Mostly though, he sent did not respond kindly to Trey Burke "serving up" a layup.
Gorgui Dieng (2K14): B-
10 pts (4-8 fg, 2-3 ft), 5 rb, 0 a, 1 blk, 1 to
Played a lot in absence of Pek. Good stats, but every shot was under the rim and half of Rubio’s 8 TOs were because of his granite-like hands.
LRMAM (Real Life): B
24 min, 8 pts (2-4 fg, 4-5 ft), 3 rb, 0 a, 1 to
The only notes that I have in my document for Luc are "Draws foul" and "Post-up travel." Jim Pete talked about Luc needing to add a jump shot to his game, but if he makes free throws and doesn't blow lay-ups, that’s fine with me.
LRMAM (2K14): D
2 pts (1-3 fg, 0-1 3fg) 1 rb, 0 a, 1 stl, 1 blk
Luc Is useless because he can't shoot and defense does not matter in 2K.
Dante Cunningham (Real Life): B+
33 min, 11 pts (5-8 fg, 1-2 ft), 5 rb, 3 a, 1 stl
There was one nice sequence in the first quarter where Dante had to switch twice on picks during the same possession, and ended up guarding 3 very different sized people. He did it fluidly, kept moving his feet, and the Jazz didn't score. I know his midrange drives some people crazy, but I’m gonna miss him when he’s gone.
Dante Cunningham: C
0 pts (0-0 fg) 1 rb, 0 a, 2 stls, 1 to
For absolutely no reason Dante fades to 3 pt line and Love fades to midrange. Which is, okay, whatever.
JJ Barea (Real Life): B
21 min, 7 pts (3-9, 0-2 3fg, 1-4 ft), 0 rb, 7 a
Other than the possession when he looked off a wide up K-Love twice to dribble for 20 seconds then pop a midrange, we got Good JJ tonight. I feel like there was productive offense happening with JJ on the court, which is not something I often say. He did a nice job setting rookies up and drawing troll-y offensive fouls. But mostly he went to the basket with a purpose and plan, rather than simply because it was there.
JJ Barea (2K14): DNP-CD
In a world where I make all basketball decisions, JJ is never going to play.
Robbie Hummel (Real Life): C-
8 min, 3 points (1-4 fg, 1-2 3fg), 1 rb, 0 a
The only thing that I remember Hummer downing was turning down a really open three, then making a much more contested one on the next position. Keep on Humming.
Robbie Hummel (2K14): Nope
Robbie Hummel isn’t on the Wolves active roster in 2K and I honestly didn’t notice.
Shabazz Muhammad (Real Life): AAA
11 min, 6 pts (3-8 fg, 0-1 3fg), 6 rb, 0 a, 1 stl, 1 to
This is a new era of Bazz-ness. Bazzy is out there playing in the first quarter. Bazzy is out there throwing down oops. Bazzy is out there GETTING STEALS. I, for one, welcome our new Shabazz overlord.
Shabazz Muhammad (2K14): :(
Shabazz isn’t on the Wolves active roster in 2K and it is a goddamn travesty.
Jim Pete: !!!!!!!
Birthday, Canis Hoopus reference on air, Saying Gorgui looked like he was holding a hand grenade? Jim Pete is the gift that keeps on giving.
Thanks for reading this whole thing, it makes watching the game very different.