This quote popped into my mind yesterday while I was lamenting the fact that I had signed up for this report card. What can/should we even expect from our squad tomight? Should expectations be the same for all, regardless of circumstance and situation? Should a depleted Wolves squad with no Rubio, Pek, or Beasley be held to the same standards we were developing for our team a few weeks ago when I signed up for this report card? Do I even know any Korean recipes?
Considering the source of this quote, and the fruits that have been borne from the implementation of its philosophy as policy, I say no. Circumstances are different, and expectations should be as well. That being said, moral victories seem to have a different air in the Adelman era than they did under the previous regime. Instead of going up by 20 and then losing when the other team starts to play, we are hanging around until the fourth quarter, then attempting to win the game. Sometimes it works. Tonight, it did not.
Tonight was easily the most entertaining and inspired basketball I have seen from our wolves since the incident. Thanks to bsg007 for getting me to commit to writing this, because otherwise I may have skipped it and Tivo’d The Princess and the Frog for my kids. I probably wouldn’t have, but I may have.
Here is a quick recap for those who may have missed. That being said- if you missed it you should watch it. Really.
1st Quarter: We rolled out what was (I think) a new starting lineup with Luke, Wes, Martell, DThrill, and Love at Center. Things started out well as DWill and Webster were attacking the hoop and Love was hitting, well, every three that he took. Then, Collison and Harden came in. Those two proceeded to terrorize Webster and Miller. That’s right, it was Miller Time. What has ARandolph done to entrench himself so deeply in the doghouse?
2nd Quarter: After the Thunder build a 10 point lead, Love "The Tourniquet" (Boss 10) returns and stops the bleeding with more 3’s. He is helped by the fact that Kendrick Perkins is lost on the perimeter trying to keep up with him. Wayne comes in, hits an open shot or two, and actually plays defense on Harden. Webster disappears on bench. DWill gets an alley-oop finish and a 3 pointer late to cut the lead to 2 points at the half.
3rd Quarter: Opens a little weakly with a shot clock violation and a KD bucket. Then, after scoring inside, Love strips Durant in the backcourt and takes it in for the dunk. In a two minute stretch that would define the crunch time lineup, Wes and DWill goal tended on consecutive defensive possessions to spark another OKC 10 point lead. Tolliver and Barea stepped it up and chipped the lead down to 6 at the end of the quarter.
4th Quarter: Whilst browsing the game thread, I learned the true value of Twitter. I don’t particularly care what Ashton Kutcher is doing. Nor do I believe that anyone is particularly concerned with 250 character updates of my adventures. I did not realize, however, that one can use Twitter to harass and talk smack to the very celebrities that are Twitting at us! Back to the game- Lazar Hayward made a 4th quarter appearance and tallied 3 fouls in 19 seconds- thanks Lazar! Barea also suddenly had 13 pts and 12 assists. The Wolves stuck with a lineup of JJ, Luke, Wayne, Love, and AT. One of the most satisfying things down the stretch was watching Derek Fisher miss about 8 open shots trying to get that first "corner 3" in a Thunder uniform. After a thrilling back and forth, KD hit a dagger 3 to break the tie with 3.9 seconds remaining. Then, well, you should really watch it. Love had Westbrook in his face and shot over him for the three-pointer to send it to overtime.
OT1: Why am I writing this- you should REALLY watch it. After a Love miss, Barea grabbed the rebound and fed AT under the hoop for a three point play. Barea then batted a KD miss forward to AT for a dunk and we were up 5. True story. OKC scores, and then Love gets the ball down low, runs into KD’s crotch, and is called for traveling. Durant proceeds to hit a three and force double OT.
OT2: I would rather stop now. In OT2, Barea looked like Mighty Mouse as he drove the lane at will. Westbrook had a couple of huge steals and transition buckets, and we were ultimately worn down. After it was all decided, Fish finally hit a corner three.
THE GRADES (with Beer Scores!)
Kevin Love A / Orval: Smooth and Crisp. A classic that defies categorization.
Love had an amazing performance in the first half and was sublime at the end of regulation. This Kevin had 51 points. That Kevin never had 51 points. He gets the A. If he had looked past KD’s crotch and finished or drawn the foul, he would get the A+.
JJ Barea A / Duvel: Stubby bottle. Doesn't look like much, but packs a powerful punch and sneaks up on you.
25-14-10. JJ had a triple double. Not only that, but he made the OKC defense look positively porous down the stretch. Sometimes JJ irks me, but tonight he was great. IF he hits the open shot at the end of OT1 he gets an A+
Anthony Tolliver A- / Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout: I used to love it. I haven't bought it for years. Finally gave it another shot, and realized what I had been missing.
Tolliver played the Lion’s share of second half minutes at power forward. He hit some threes, he finished some layups, and he played good defense. He missed a key putback of a Barea miss in OT- make that and you get an A+.
Luke Ridnour B+ / Lindeman's Geuze Cuvee Rene: A sour beer that many hate at first. It grows on you and you realize that, while it is no Westmalle Tripel, that is an unfair comparison and it stands on its own merit and complexity.
13 points and 8 assists is a nice line. He and Love were the only Wolves to post a positive +/-. Hit a few of those misses in OT and you have an A.
Wayne Ellington B+ / Samuel Adams: Largely ignored (by me) due to the influx of good craft beer. Every once in a while, when it is the ONLY good option on tap, you are pleasantly surprised.
Wayne was on the floor most of the second half. Not because he was killing it, but because Harden was not. Harden still scored, but he had to work hard for it as Wayne was denying him the ball. Make it wayne a little more or stop Harden on those 2 late drives in OT2 and you have an A.
Derek Williams C+ / Fat Tire: I WANT to like this beer more, but I am underwhelmed. Lots of hype, needs more balance.
DWill did a nice job attacking the rim early. He was scoring and drawing fouls and sparked a key run to close the gap before halftime. Then, he disappeared. I assume it was because of lack of defense or the play of Tolliver.
Wes Johnson D- / Michelob Ultra: Tall, skinny can. You might not even notice that it is "beer."
The boxscore says that he played. It says that he had 4 rebounds and a block. I have seen the game twice now and I don’t believe it.
Martell Webster F+ / Southern Tier Creme Brulee Stout: Good for a sip (hey, it DOES taste like creme brulee!), then cloying to the point of near nausea.
Martell posted a -17. After attacking the rim once or twice, he had knuckleheaded turnovers and helped Harden to a 19 point first half. His only appearances in the second half were to defend on an inbounds play or two. Contribute positively and you get a passing grade.
Brad Miller F- / Bud Tall Boy: Good for hunting and fishing.
Miller allowed Collison to look like an All Star for almost 4 minutes.
Anthony Randolph INC / Cave Creek Chili Beer: Someone thought this was a good idea, but I've never seen anyone drink it.
44 seconds and one block? What did you do/say to Adelman?
Rick Adelman A / Rochefort 12: A classic that always impresses.
We were on the road, against a good team. We were not playing particularly well, but in the fourth we had a chance to win. Win and you get an A+.
Thanks to bsg007 for organizing all of this- it was fun to write and I am glad I did not miss this one.