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The Puppy Cup; Lost Behind the Back

Wolves v. Huskies. Due to the hour or so I just spent shoveling, this is going to be a short wrap up.  I know the game wasn't available on local TV so here's all you need to know:

Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
Minnesota 95.0 92.6 38.8% 21.3 26.9 14.7
Toronto 98.9 33.3% 49.4 29.1 9.5

That's right, the Raptors had a FT/FG rate of nearly 50%.  On almost 50% of their possessions, they shot a free throw.  That's pretty incredible.  The Wolves may have caught the Raptors on a night without their starting point guard and where they went 2-21 from 3, yet they ran into a buzz saw at the free throw line, getting out-FTA'd 48-23.  I watched the entire game on League Pass and there is really nothing else I can say about why the Wolves lost other than this simple fact.  When you are -25 in the FTA column, you aren't going to win any games.  Actually that's not completely true.  While I can't search for FTA differential, 36 teams have won games while giving up over 45 FTA/game while shooting less than 25.  Whatever the case, when you get blasted at the line like this, your chances of winning aren't that hot. 

In other Basketball Reference Game Finder news, Toronto joined an elite club last night when they made only 2 of their 21 3 point attempts.  Only 35 teams since 86 have made 3 or less 3 pointers while taking more than 20, led by Denver's amazing 2-25 effort in 1997. If you really want to get crazy, when you throw in the Wolves' 3-16 effort from beyond the arc, only 2 teams since 86 have had a 3-16 team matched up against a team with more than 20 attempts and less than 3 makes from 3.

In the you-wouldn't-know-about-it-if-you-didn't-watch-the-game department, you may have read or heard something about Jonny Flynn attempting a behind the back pass to Kevin Love when the game was on the line only to have it stolen by the glacially slow Hedo Turkoglu and dunked at the other end of the court.  Flynn has attempted (and made) this pass several times this year.  It was not a flashy play and it probably could have been completed had Kevin Love taken a better break at the ball.  Here's what Rambis had to say about the pass:

"You never want a pass that can be delivered in a simple way thrown in a showmanship-type way," he said. "But that's not how I view that pass. Jonny was being guarded on his left side. It was a deliverable behind-the-back pass. It just wasn't made accurately, that's all. I don't think Jonny was trying to do anything fancy. The idea was right, the execution was just flawed."


Another had-to-see-it moment came right before Antoine Wright hit the dagger three from the corner to put the game out of reach.  Wright was being guarded by Corey Brewer and when the play was initiated from the top right wing towards the hoop by the point guard, Brewer needlessly sagged off his man to the point where he could not recover to the corner to disrupt the three attempt after the ball was kicked out to the wing.  This is a point where the Wolves  need to trust their big men to defend the paint.  Brewer was obviously going for the help defense angle, and perhaps this is simply an example of him ostensibly being the only good defender on a bad defensive squad (i.e. he's 100% geared to slide off his man whenever possible to help out his poorer-defending teammates...especially Mr. Al Jefferson), but he allowed for not only an easy pass, but an easy dagger shot to seal the game for the Raptors.  If you are a crappy offensive player (and Brewer truly is an awful offensive player right now), these are not the types of defensive plays that will keep you on the court.  Sure enough, Brewer was yanked for Ellington at the next whistle. 

Wrapping this little ditty up, I know that the team wants to build Jonny Flynn's confidence, but Ramon Sessions needs to play down the stretch.  We'll flesh this out on a bit less-snowier day but Sessions can't be sitting on the bench in the last 5 minutes of the game if the team wants its best chance of winning.

Oh, one more thing: Kevin Love is pretty damn good.

Gotta run.  Time for more shoveling.