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Game #21: Going To Big D

In the 21st game on their voyage to 73-9, the fearless and gallant Minnesota Timberwolves take on the loutish and ignoble Dallas Mavericks.

Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It's Q&A time!!!

Here we are going back and forth with Kirk from our blogging buddies for the day, Mavs Moneyball:

1- If any Wolves fans are going to make the trip down to the Metroplex, where should they eat/hang out before the game?

Oh geez, this is a tough question for me as I haven't lived in the area since high school. My first recommendation would be to visit Twisted Root Burger company. I'm not really going to explain it because all you need to do is look at the menu. Sweet Georgia Browns is another... mmm. The last place is this little deli in my home town of Coppell Texas called the Coppell Deli. It's kind of ridiculous but just has great food. There are obviously nicer places but I really want a burger right now...

2- Can you please ask Marc Cuban to buy the Wolves?

What do you mean? Glen Taylor is not your guy? Cuban's been a great owner. I followed the Mavs since I was little but I never really got into them until he bought the team. We all kind of forget this now, but the improvement in referees, the discussion about flopping, tracking systems, all of it, can be traced back to Cuban demanding accountability from the league. He was fined early and often and occasionally he went too far. But he made a difference. Since joining the owner ranks Cuban has forced everyone, from the casual fan to David Stern, to re-think things. He's made me mad a lot lately, particularly with how he handled (or didn't handle) the off-season attempt at Deron Williams. But over all, he's a great owner and I could not ask for someone better.

3- If you could nab any Wolf to play on the Mavs, who would it be?

Oh geez, this is hard. I really like Love, Rubio, Pek, and Shved. It'd have to come back to Rubio. So many guys are obsessed with athleticism, speed, and power, but having an understanding of the game is what I love about Ricky. Like Jason Kidd, Stockton, and Magic, Rubio understands basketball from every position. He knows what every player is supposed to do and he sees things before they happen. I know the NBA is trending towards power guards who dominated the game through their explosiveness, but that sort of ability is fleeting. Rubio, God willing, will be around for 15 years simply because he understands the game and can have an impact from anywhere, particularly if he improves his shooting.

4- Pek: Circus performer or folk hero?

Folk hero. Having recently watched that Bo Jackson 30 for 30, I see some of the mythmaking about Bo going on with Pek. Last game he sprained his ankle and had that series of hilarious quotes about "I do not use crutches" or something. Modern NBA players don't say or do things like this. There's something about him that makes him endearing to hardcore fans but his skill level is such that a casual fan has to take notice. Chris Kaman might one day be on Doomsday Preppers, but he's certainly not a Folk Hero.

5- What does the casual Wolves fan need to know about the Dallas Mavs?

They aren't very good. Teams in the NBA have this odd ability to project an image of something despite the facts on the ground. Dallas is one of these teams mainly because they've gone to the playoffs for 12 straight years. This team is a mirage without Dirk (and maybe even with him). The off-season pick ups were intriguing to the point of being flashy, but outside of O.J. Mayo and to some extent Chris Kaman, everyone has been bad. Darren Collison keeps toying with our hearts, but he's got a long way to go (if he can get there). The end result is a team that's around .500. We've been beat by double digits six times, and by more than 19 five times. That doesn't happen to a good team.

But that's okay. We fans are spoiled. And the Mavs front office is good enough to make some improvement next year with all the potential cap space.

Both the Wolves and the Mavs will be playing on the tail end of a back to back. The Wolves will be making their way up the Mississippi, while the Mavs will be heading down through customs after a big loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Dallas is now 11-12 with the following line:

Team and Opponent Stats

Team 23 5620 861 1904 .452 173 464 .373 396 507 .781 208 744 952 505 177 124 361 504 2291 99.6
Lg Rank 9 8 10 9 7 9 8 11 15 7 27 7 14 9 17 13 22 6 8 10
Opponent 23 5620 848 1929 .440 173 496 .349 455 627 .726 293 757 1050 493 227 99 347 466 2324 101.0
Lg Rank 9 20 22 11 23 24 11 28 29 3 27 27 28 17 30 9 10 20 22 26

Team Miscellaneous

Offense Four Factors Defense Four Factors
PW PL MOV SOS SRS ORtg DRtg Pace eFG% TOV% ORB% FT/FGA eFG% TOV% DRB% FT/FGA Arena Attendance
Team 10 13 -1.43 -1.19 -2.62 103.5 105.0 94.5 .498 14.5 21.6 .208 .484 13.6 71.7 .236 American Airlines Center 198,292
Lg Rank 19 19 19 29 20 17 15 2 10 23 28 15 13 16 22 27 11
Nothing really stands out except the pace number. Dallas has upped the tempo this year and this is a notable change from their past style of play.

Dallas is also mui no bueno on the glass and they give up a lot of free throws. In other words, they aren't very good at stopping the two things the Wolves do exceptionally well: rebound and get to the line.

What will I be looking for tonight?
  • Effort on the tail end of a back to back where Adelman basically went with a 7 man rotation.
  • Rubio, Rubio, Rubio, and more Rubio.
  • Getting to the line and rebounding are never really question marks. Can the team shoot the ball well enough to put these clear advantages to proper use?
  • Rubio, Rubio, Rubio, and more Rubio. I can't wait to see the first Rubio-led Pek-n-Roll.
Well folks, that about does it. Until later and go Wolves!