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Wolves cruise by Grizzlies 102-88

'Sota's playoff hopes are all but gone, but that didn't stop them from doing serious damage to Memphis'

Ann Heisenfelt

First off, let's all take a moment to appreciate the majesty that was Zach Harper's Twitter feed tonight:

Second, I would be perfectly happy to interview Ronny post game every game for the rest of my life.

Not that they have any real chance at the playoffs anyway, but had the Wolves lost tonight, they would have been mathematically eliminated. Phoenix won their last tilt, so a loss tonight would have put 'Sota too far behind both the Suns and Grizzlies.

Instead, Memphis came out and played like a team that was fighting for a draft pick. The Grizzlies were on the second of a back-to-back, and at the end of a 5 game road trip, so it's understandable that they'd be tired, but...well, they certainly didn't look like a squad battling for their playoff lives. Tonight's loss dropped them out of the seeding...even with Dallas' heartbreaker loss to the Warriors last night. Adelman smirked a little in the post game presser when asked if he talked to the team about wrecking someone else's postseason:

That's what we told them this afternoon, that everyone we play is playing for something. So we want to go out and play as well as we can and see if we can't spoil it for a factor in it.

With the season essentially over at this point, that's about as good a motivator as you'll get as a coach. Rubio though, seemed to be searching for a little more. In the locker room, he touched on the desire to use the end of the year to build something, and though he was disappointed to miss the post season, he emphasized that he's aiming for 40 wins. He'd still 'consider that a good year'.

By the way, his ankle is fine. I mean, when asked about it, he said

It's fine.

Randolph and Conley were both checked out most of the game, but the biggest surprise absentee was Memphis' vaunted in the league since Marc Gasol's return. The Wolves lit up the Grizz with 53% shooting. Pekovic sat out, but Dieng and Turiaf cruised along just fine in his stead, combining for 19 points on 9-11 shooting and 16 rebounds.

Those of you following @canishoopus tonight probably noticed I was pretty impressed with Turiaf. His activity and enthusiasm were both at vintage Ronny levels. Adelman seemed genuinely surprised he was able to play at all, much less play well, remarking that the team had done a full practice five days ago and Ronny hadn't looked ready then. But he was ready tonight.

It really can't be overstated how well Turiaf works with Love and Rubio. Adelman quipped that he likes Ronny as a stabilizing agent for the bench group, but pick and roll between Rubio and Turiaf with the Love option in the corner has been one of the most reliably awesome sets the Wolves have run this year. Ronny has a knack for timing and spacing that you just can't teach, and his basketball IQ is sky high.

For example, tonight he made an outstanding play catching the ball in isolation under the hoop, and still had the presence of mind to take an extra second for an extra dribble that shoved Randolph back far enough that the rim prevented him from contesting the shot. One extra bounce to change ZBo's chance of getting at the ball from about 20% down to flat out 0.

Add to that some strong defense and excellent ball movement (for a center, anyway) and's just a shame he's not 25 and reliably healthy.

Love, meanwhile, chipped in another triple double (24-16-10) tying him with Rubio on that mark. Still a ways to go to catch Garnett, but hey. Love was also the only one willing to attack Gasol early, as the big man did a phenomenal job sealing off the paint in the first half.

It's really getting absurd to me, as I'll see him piling up numbers during the game and catch myself thinking 'just another game for Love'. It's not. 24-16-10 is not 'just another game' for anyone, yet here we are just kind of expecting it from him. I mean, really think about that. Kevin Garnett used to wow people and get national acclaim for 20-10-5, and here we have a guy who trumps that on a near-nightly basis. Appreciate it. Beg him to stay.

Anyhoo, 6-8 inches of snow rolls into town Friday. Oh, and I guess the Wolves take off for a Florida double header Friday/Saturday. That too.

Random Notes:

  • I think, after holding his own against DeAndre Jordan and now Marc Gasol, we can safely say that Dieng will be the real deal. If he isn't already. Praise the flying noodle monster. We need him to make it in the worst way.
  • Bazz came in and scored a quick 6 points to lead a rather unprecedented Wolves bench charge in the second. Adelman remarked that Bazz can indeed put up points in a hurry, as long as he gets to his spots on the floor. The team has been reminding him to stay aggressive and get to the post early and get on the glass. Jury's still out, but I will say this: Muhammad's extreme activity in nice to see after years of watching Williams' indecisiveness.
  • I can see now why Ed Davis doesn't get much burn; as productive as he is in a general sense, he's rather oblivious in specific situations. He's like another Anthony Randolph. Tonight he chased the ball around on defense and got burned repeatedly on simple backdoor cuts, and well....the Grizzlies hang their hat on defense. Space cadets need not apply.
  • LeBron James


  • San Antonio aced the Warriors tonight for their 19th straight win. If this is what it means to be getting old, then I want to age like a Spur.