Ladies and Gents, I give to you one of the big problems with the NBA: a February game between Indiana and Minnesota where the 3 best players didn't play and where the refs let a lot go even though both teams fouled each other well above their season averages. Too. Many. Games.
On the plus side, last night's tilt was one of the few games where NBA League Pass broadband came in handy and I was able to watch the action with the excellent Quinn Buckner providing color commentary. Between he and Eddie Johnson, I can't decide which guy I would rather listen to call a ball game with Kevin Harlan.
For the rest of the Twin Cities, the game wasn't available on TV so let me do my best to provide you with a rundown haiku:
Bassy Ramble? No
Love bad game right from get go
T.J. Ford bang head
For those of you who watched or listened to the game, feel free to leave your entry in the comments.
Speaking of down below, we've had some interesting comment threads lately. From Shaddy/Robert Bly comparisons to music recommendations to news from Australia about the brush fire, and everything in between, Wyn and I would like to thank our commenters for their excellent contributions to this site. Also, speaking about the brush fire, you can donate to the relief effort by clicking here (the Australian Red Cross).
This season is going to get looooonnnnnngggg and we appreciate all of the intelligent input. Hopefully, we can keep the content interesting and varied. Anywho, let's wrap up the game talk with some bullet points:
Sebastian Telfair followed up his career-best game with a 1-9 effort from the field (1-5 from 3) and a 1-5 performance from the line. He did have 0 turnovers and a +7 while hounding T.J. Ford. I'll go back to what I wrote before: every 3 Bassy takes is free money for the other team.
- Speaking of basketball's version of Moneyball, I'd like to point you in the direction of another wonderful NY Times article on basketball stats. This one is about Synergy Sports Technology, a business from Arizona that collects hundreds of data points from each and every single NBA (and college) game and provides the information to paying customers. And yes, I have contacted them about their Fan Experience Solutions. I'll let you know what I find out.
- Turnovers are going to be a huge issue with this club going forward until the end of the year. They have to play quicker with more passing now that Big Al Jefferson is out for the year. Keep an eye on the TOr and its relation to OE.
- Randy Foye ended up with a lot of points but his play on the ball was pretty bad for the most of the night. He had a lot of trouble running the pick and roll and his passes across the perimeter are simply not crisp enough to be effective.
- Kevin Love had a horrible, no-good, terrible mess of a game. The most notable issue he was having all night long was getting back on defense. He was consistently behind the action all night long and it probably led to his low minute total. It just wasn't his night. Despite all of that, and despite a -15 +/-, he didn't hurt his team as much as you might imagine. He ended the night with only 5 shots (if you're having a bad night, don't shoot a ton), 6 FTA, 12 rebounds (3 offensive), and 2 steals. He was noticeably unwilling to take the long jumper however and this may or may not work in his team's favor when things are going poorly with a short roster. Here is his shot chart from the last 10 games:
One more point about Love: his raw +/- is going to be skewed from here on out so it will not be the best indicator of how he is doing. Remember how Al Jefferson was putting up horrible +/- numbers last season? Everyone on this team has been bumped up a slot and the minutes that Ryan Gomes fills for Love at the 4 hurt. The minutes that Craig Smith fills at the 4/5 for Jefferson hurt. The minutes that Mike Miller can't come off the bench for Gomes at the 3 hurt. This team still has a massive talent gap and it's only active above average productive players are Love and....well, you can make a case for Miller but both he and Foye are awfully close to simply being average.
OK, that about does it. Thanks again for the excellent comments. We really appreciate it. For a Pacers' perspective, head on over to our sister site, Indy Cornrows.
BTW: Sacramento won last night. Unfortunately, it was to Memphis. The Griz are 3 games back of Minny in the win column. The Clips, OKC, and Wiz are all 5 wins back with 13 victories. Here's a number to keep track of: 4.7%. That's the Wolves' current estimated chance of winning the Blake Griffin sweepstakes.
UPDATE: I completely forgot to mention the biggest reason why the Wolves lost to a terrible Pacers team: free throw shooting. They went 23-41 from the line. Ouch. Also, I'm sitting here switching over the laundry listening to In the Zone and Trent Tucker made a very good point about the need for consistency out of the team's young players. The way you get consistency is to play to your team's statistical strengths. In other words, Bassy should stop shooting threes.