If 'United We Run' is wearing a little thin on your slogan appreciation meter these days, then how about this: 'Close but no cigar'.
Jan 26: 1 point loss to Charlotte. Jan 30: 6 point loss to LAC. Feb 4: 2 point loss to Portland. Feb 8: 6 point loss to New York. Tonight: 4 point loss to Utah.
All winnable games. We in fact led substantially in a couple of them. Including tonight's. But the Pups let it slip away, and once again were left behind on the platform like a cat who missed his train.
(Ok y'know what. That made sense before I typed it. Sheesh.)
There's not a whole lot to be said that hasn't been already blared out for the past 4 weeks or so. This team is without three of its best five players, can't make a three to save the Titanic, and have more injury holes than a Bonnie and Clyde getaway car. It's a talent deficit in a couple key areas, and that's all there is too it. But there are a couple things worth noting still.
One is Derrick Williams is starting to show major flashes of the #2 pick he once was and could still be. Tonight he absolutely took it to the Jazz on both ends of the floor, and continued to show serious sync with Rubio...more, I daresay, than anyone else on the team has to date. And it was great to have the power forward battle really go our way against the Jazz for once. Love is a top 5 player (when healthy) but for whatever reason, Paul Millsap gets the better of him more often than not.
The other mentionable is Rubio once again putting on a clinic in the clutch, scoring 4 points and generating 9 more via assists in the fourth quarter. He now has put in 10+ assists in 5 of the last 6 games, and came one rebound shy of the triple-double tonight. Letting Randy Foye go all Tayshaun Prince on his layup at the end wasn't his finest moment, but big picture: Rubio is definitively putting to rest any doubt that he's destined to be an elite NBA point guard. Whatever happened to him against Washington has jolted the guy into 10th gear. 13 points, 9 assists, 2 steals per so far this month. The key appears to be his new mindset of attacking the rim, which is generating a lot of his scoring via free throws...7 attempts per over his lat 5 games, including 13 just tonight. Rubio is beginning to discover the NBA version of his game, and it's looking pretty good. His rise the last 4 weeks has revitalized a Wolves team that was getting annihilated on a nightly basis in January.
But....still a loss. That makes the Pups 7-21 over the last 2 months, which is stupendously not-good. It's unlikely that help of any consequence will be arriving by the trade deadline (and no one short of LeBron/Durant could get this team into the playoffs now....if even...) so it's....well, kind of an ambiguous outlook here.
- What has gotten into Luke? Tonight the birthday boy put in 18 points, which jumps his scoring average over the last 5 games to 17 per on 56% shooting. Steph Curry much?
- I would gladly welcome Alec Burks to this team.
- Pekovic started off very very badly but finished very very well. But...well, it would have been nice for him to start off better than 1-8 from the floor...
- Paul Millsap is a half-step away from being an All Star, and is rightly coveted as a top target this trade deadline. The Nets are making the biggest play for him right now, but the really scary possibility I think is the Rockets. Asik/Millsap/Chandler/Harden/Lin? Eep.
- Play Chris Johnson. Even if it's just for the 8 minutes Steamer plays (which we managed to go -11 in, FYI...)
- And STOP PLAYING THREE POINT GUARD SETS
- 5-22 from three. Chase Budinger, get healthy soon.
- The Clippers just dropped 56 points on the Rockets in the first quarter. Not half. Quarter.
- In honor of KG scoring his 25,000 career point last week, we (I) give you KG's top 10 play. DON'T BE SO MEAN, KG