Friday, 9:00 at Arco Arena
Radio: KFAN-AM 1130
Minnesota - 1-3, Sacramento -1-4
In a rematch of the Wolves' 1st game of the year, Minnesota heads out west tonight to dance with the Kings. Sac Town is coming off a 100-95 win against the hapless Memphis Grizzlies. Brad Miller will be back in the mix of things after a 5 game drug suspension but Francisco Garcia is still out because of a calf injury.
Will the Wolves' offense continue to build off the positive developments that occurred in the loss to San Antonio? Will the Wolves hold Beno Udrih below 55 points and 10 dimes? Will Jason Thompson continue to impress? Will Kevin Love finally crack the starting lineup? Will Mike Miller continue to shoot more 3s? Will Corey Brewer play another excellent defensive game against Kevin Martin? Is "Kevin" the most dominant name in the NBA? Exactly how good would a Ollie, Martin, Durant, Love, and Garnett team be? Will the Kings hook up with the coveted Brown-Douby (as in Bobby and Quincy) connection? Will J-Pete say the words "Brown-Douby"? Do you think Brad Miller makes Douby jokes in practice?
The answers to all these questions and more, tonight at 9.
So far this year Randy Wittman has said that his players need to trust one another more and that talent has not been an issue in their losses. In doing so, he set a world record for the earliest time a coach has pulled out a desperate motivational cliche in a professional sports season. Is the clearly stated front office demand of 42-40 already getting to Witt? Does he already see his own modest in-the-30-win-atmosphere projection slipping through his fingers? Whatever it is, Witt is already contemplating blowing up the starting lineup:
Though the season is only nine days old, it's safe to call the Timberwolves' upcoming three-game West Coast trip crucial. Coach Randy Wittman says he isn't about to hit the panic button just yet, but the team's 1-3 start does leave him feeling a sense of urgency.
Though he didn't offer specifics, Wittman on Thursday left the door open for possible lineup shifts beginning as early as tonight's game in Sacramento. Wittman said he's "seriously looking at different things" after using the same starting five in the first four games.
Given their play in Wednesday night's double-overtime loss to San Antonio, leading favorites in a potential lineup carousel are Sebastian Telfair and Kevin Love getting the nods at point guard and power forward, respectively, in favor of Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes.
And here I thought it would take until mid-December until SeBass cracked the starting lineup. To be fair to Witt, a Bassy, Miller, Brewer, Love, Jefferson starting 5 is pretty much the best unit he has on the roster. It would be a smart move and it would offer the Wolves the best chance of winning. It's nice to have a spark off the bench but it's even nicer to begin a game with your best players on the court.
Of course, a Foye move to the bench would raise the interesting possibility of a Shaddy/Foye-led 2nd unit. Will the universe collapse into itself should these two see the court together off the bench? Which player will first come to grips with the likely fact that their NBA future has "excellent 6th man" written all over it? Is it possible to have a 2nd unit Death Match?
So many questions.
Earlier this week I wrote about Barack Obama being the first baller in the White House. I should have also dropped a line about Kevin Johnson becoming mayor of Sacramento. Mr. Johnson would definitely replace Mr. Ollie on our All-Kevin team.
Wrapping this thing up, it seems that the Wolves have finally given up on playing Love Shack:
On a completely different subject, I need some help writing my Sunday NBA column. I’m going to have some fun with Kevin Love’s name and offer some suggestions to the Target Center people for game-night music. A season ago, Al Jefferson got the 1970s sitcom theme song linked to him whenever he scored a big basket. In the preseason opener at Billings, Wolves game staff played the B52s "Love Shack," which Love himself quickly nixed because "I hate that song."
Now, they’re playing the Beatles’ "All You Need is Love," a pretty obvious choice.
There’s only about 3,500 possibilities. At least that’s what an Internet database shows listing songs with the word Love in the title. There’s all kind of choices for all kinds of situations (an eight-turnover game? How ’bout Love Stinks, by J Geils Band).
My runner-up pick: When Love Comes to Town, the 1980s bluesy number that paired U2 with B.B. King.
My winner: That’s Amore, the Dean Martin version.
Game thread later today. For a Kings fan's perspective, please visit our sister site, Sactown Royalty.
UPDATE: On a completely unrelated note, former Wolf Chris Richard is a top prospect in today's D-League draft:
Chris Richard, F, Florida: Richard was a second round pick (41st overall) of the Timberwolves in 2007, and was assigned to Sioux Falls in February. A 6-9 forward, Richard was the SEC Sixth Man of the Year in 2007 and helped the Florida Gators win consecutive national titles as a junior and senior. He played in 52 games for the Timberwovles as a rookie in 2007-08.
In related Wolves/D-League news, Blake Ahearn is back with the Dakota Wizards.