Another fun win last night against the Spurs, as the Wolves move back over.500. A somewhat odd game, as Kevin Love and Gorgui Dieng combined to shoot 9-30, and yet the Wolves still had little trouble scoring and more or less cruised the entire game. Impressive scoring performances by some unlikely players--Ronny Turiaf, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and especially Ricky Rubio, who went for 23, drove the bus.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich:
Timberwolves played great. They beat us in every facet of the game. They basically forced us to lay an egg. We were awful. A lot of it was because of their aggressiveness. They played great D. They had great pace on offense. They beat us at every facet of the game.
This was the Wolves third big win of the week, after stifling the Memphis Grizzlies, always a tough matchup and a team fighting for a playoff spot, and the epic double overtime win in Miami. That prompted Britt Robson to ask via twitter:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>If Wolves beat Heat and Spurs within a week's time does that make fans feel better or worse about this relentlessly .500 season? <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23mediocrity&src=hash">#mediocrity</a></p>— brittrobson (@brittrobson) <a href="https://twitter.com/brittrobson/statuses/453698648916754432">April 9, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Tim brought this up in the game recap, and for me, the answer is easy: it makes it much, much better. Look, this team has veered from the merely bad to the unwatchable over the last decade. If we've learned anything from being Wolves fans over that time it's that if you don't take your joy in those few moments when you can, you have nothing.
It's been a weirdly mixed week, with the Dante Cunningham mess at the forefront, and losing in Orlando is a bit of a downer, but those three wins, especially the Heat and Spurs games, are absolute bright spots. Savor them.
Tonight the Bulls come to town, and it's another opportunity for a good win. Chicago is currently sitting third in the East, and after getting off to a horrible start, they figured out how to win without Derrick Rose, and have gone 33-14 in 2014. As usual, it's defense, as they have the 2nd rated defensive squad, they play at a very slow pace, and basically muck up everything you want to do. They have an advantage in that they haven't played since Saturday, and with the Wolves as short handed as they are, it's going to be a tough one.
Elsewhere, the Atlanta Hawks took a brutal loss at home to the Pistons last night when they could have strengthened their hold on the final playoff spot in the East. Gack. The Mavericks won in Utah, getting them to 48-31 and in pretty good shape. Only three games left, which is the fewest in the league. Those three are against the Spurs on Thursday, and then amazingly home to the Suns and at the Grizzlies, the two teams they are fighting with. The Grizzlies have a monster, almost must win tonight at home against Miami, while Phoenix is in New Orleans.
In other news, a brutal loss for all Paris Saint-Germain fans (and, more to the point, Chelsea haters) in Champions League, as Demba Ba scored a late goal to give Chelsea a 2-0 win in the home leg of their tie, and see them through to the semi-finals because of their away goal last week in Paris. Meanwhile, after losing the away leg 3-0 to a fantastic looking Real Madrid, Dortmund came agonizingly close to turning it completely, winning the home leg 2-0, but it wasn't enough, as Madrid moves on.
Two more fixtures today: Atletico hosts Barcelona and Bayern hosts Manchester United. Both ties are at 1-1 after the first legs. The games kick at 1:45 Central time.
Today in history
1413: Henry V crowned king of England
1865: Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox Court House
1866: Civil Rights Bill passes over Andrew Jackson's veto
1927: Sacco and Vanzetti given death sentences
2002: Funeral of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
Today's musical birthday is Paul Robeson, born in 1898 (d. 1976).
Have a great day.