First of all, I apologize for the zombie song. There are only so many zombie dance songs on the internets and this one just happens to be the worst. Secondly, last night's game featured a 1st quarter rotation of Bobby Brown, Sheldon Williams, Sebastian Telfair, Brian Cardinal, and Rodney Carney. The game ended with Cardinal, Carney, Mike Miller, Ryan Gomes, and Kevin Ollie on the court. In other words, this win isn't exactly something you want to see repeated next season. Yes, it is completely awesome that they won, but...well, let's take a look at a few broad points before we move on to the issue of winning and losing near the end of a terrible season.
How did the Wolves win this game? Quite simply, rebounding and shooting. The Wolves had an eFG of .606% with a rebounding advantage of (8-42) to (4-28). They tried their darndest to give the game to the Jazz by getting outshot at the line (12-15) to (25-29) and turning the ball over 11 more times than Utah (21-10), but at the end of the game, Utah's putrid rebounding and Minny's decent shooting carried the day.
It was briefly mentioned in the comments of last night's game thread, but if you're a Jazz fan right now you have to be a bit worried about your squad. Utah has now lost 3 in a row and are 5-5 in their last 10. The rebounding was especially horrific in last night's tilt. The Jazz are a relatively rebound-neutral team and if they end up getting dominated on the glass by a fellow relatively-rebound-neutral team with 21 wins (as they did last night), they should be hoping and praying that this occurrence was a one-time affair. I don't watch the Jazz enough to know whether or not last night's performance on the glass was simply a matter of bad effort (I don't know why this would be the case for them at this point in the season) or bad play. Whatever it is, they were worked on the glass by an undersized Wolves team with very little to play for.
Speaking of things to play for, any win from here on out will be greeted with talk about how the team is screwing its lottery chances. That's nonsense. First of all, the Wolves better not be toying with the basketball gods after the infamous Mark Madsen game at the end of the 05/06 season. In a game where Madsen took 7 three pointers, KG and Pau Gasol didn't start, and where Eddie Griffin and Brian Cardinal were the leading scorers, the Wolves lost a double overtime "thriller" to a team that was trying to lose in order to guarantee itself a 1st round playoff matchup against the 3rd seeded Nuggets rather than the 4th seeded Mavs. For their part, the Wovles were desperately trying to hold on to their 1st round draft pick, which was owed to the LA Clippers because of the Marko Jaric trade.
Let me clearly say that I by no means am a subscriber to the mystic or supernatural, but I firmly believe with no other evidence, and on nothing but faith, that this game damned both Minny and Memphis to a lifetime of basketball horror should they not substantially make amends for their frontal attack on basketball karma.
After getting swept (4-0) by the Mavs in the 1st round of the playoffs, the Griz tossed off their first of consecutive 22-win seasons. They have since traded away their cornerstone player and are firmly planted at the bottom of the NBA. After securing their 1st round pick with an overt example of one-game tanking, the Wolves traded said pick (Brandon Roy) + a million dollars for Randy Foye. They traded away their cornerstone player and are firmly planted at the bottom of the NBA. In an interesting sub-plot, the Wolves reportedly did not pick Roy because of injury concerns. Foye is sitting out his 3rd consecutive game after missing nearly 1/2 of the previous season with a devestating knee injury.
The Wolves still owe the Clips that 1st round pick for Mr. Jaric....who just happens to be lacing it up for the Griz.
Regardless of any other factor, the Wolves are not a team that can and should be concerned with anything other than winning games. They should have zero interest in increasing their ping-pong ball count.
In terms of non-mystical arguments, the Wolves are only a 1/2 game ahead of the Griz and Thunder. There is essentially zero chance of them making their way into the bottom 3 of the lottery. The best they can "hope" for is to have the 4th most ping-pong balls. In a one man draft, there is no sense in trying to lose at this point. It gains them nothing and it can only serve to piss off the...ok, I said this was the non-mystical argument so I won't finish that sentence.
The Wolves are also in zero danger of falling
behind ahead of the Golden State Warriors in the 7th spot in the lottery. In other words, they are destined to have between a 2.8 and an 11.9% chance at landing Blake Griffin. They are also guaranteed of drafting no lower than 9th. The Clipper pick is safe and they can't improve their craptasticness enough to "compete" with the bottom 3 teams in the league.
Sooooo...to recap: the Wolves won a great game last night and they should continue to play balls-to-the-wall in order to make up for the awfulness that happened at the end of the 05/06 season.
Oh, they also need to get rid of Madsen in order to truly make things right once again with the universe. He may be the nicest guy in the world but he personally bitch-slapped karma (while laughing, no less) and he needs to set things right.
Until later. For a Jazz fan's perspective, head on over to SLC Dunk.
PS: Last night's win also went a long way in pushing the 1st rounder the Jazz owe the Wolves into the 2010 (or later) draft. See, when you play to win good things happen.