Good morning all. We are one day away from KG day at Target Center. Kevin Garnett will be in uniform for Wednesday's game against the Wizards. I'm a little unclear on the availability of tickets for that game, as the Wolves continue to announce "college night" on their broadcasts, which gets current college students in the building for $5, but also sent out a press release yesterday announcing that they are releasing the final 1,000 tickets for sale for the game. At any rate, Target Center should be close to full and hopefully exciting tomorrow night.
Meanwhile, there is a Garnett press conference scheduled for 3:00 pm CST today; it will stream on Timberwolves.com, and of course we will be there to cover it--look for a report tonight. As always with these things, I don't expect much beyond the usual cliches, but you never know. KG is capable of saying something interesting.
We already wrote a recap of last night's game in Houston, which was a sloppy but gritty affair that ended in a Wolves loss to a very good Rockets team, but a few notes that bear examination in the morning:
- Liked a lot of stuff from Andrew Wiggins yesterday. Despite James Harden finishing with a triple double, Wiggins played very good defense much of the time on the MVP candidate. Forced him into 7-20 shooting and was able to keep him in front for much of the game. Also, liked that after he got the technical, he realized that he simply couldn't expect to get calls, and went to work offensively anyway, making several big shots and finishing with 30 points.
- Adreian Payne played 29 minutes. It wasn't very effective, but it was active. He's bouncy and aggressive, and has no experience at this level, so obviously it's a wait-and-see situation.
- Saw a lot of complaining about Pek last night on twitter. He struggled to a 6-18 shooting night, though I thought he was getting hit throughout. At any rate, it seems to me that despite the shooting woes, he was arguably the Wolves most effective and important big last night. He makes a difference on the boards (documented) and I have come to believe he's the Wolves most effective interior defender. That might be saying more about the Wolves than about Pek, but he's strong and he occupies space. They need him. They also need depth, because he shouldn't be going too many minutes.
- Flip's roster management and playing time allocations continue to confound. Two examples: Backup point guard. If Flip has decided that LaVine is his back up point for the rest of this season, fine. I don't agree with that call, but OK, that's up to Flip IF he's willing to live with it. But he clearly isn't; he puts LaVine in the game, but then gets frustrated and pulls him, resulting in too many minutes for Rubio, who was clearly exhausted at the end last night. LaVine played 8-9 minutes at the point last night. Either be willing to live with the mistakes or use someone else.
- Second: GRIII. I do not understand this. His 4 minutes AT POWER FORWARD last night was a long run out for him. He's not under contract for next year, we're past the trade deadline, and the Wolves have bent over backward to keep him on the roster when they could have desperately used that spot for either another point guard or big throughout much of the season. And he still can't get in the game.
1510: Pope Julius II excommunicates the Republic of Venice
1541: Santiago, Chile founded by Pedro de Valvidia
1711: Handel's opera Rinaldo premieres in London
1803: U.S. Supreme Court first rules a law unconstitutional in Marbury v. Madison
1821: Mexico gains independence from Spain
1863: Arizona Territory created
1876: Ibsen's Peer Gynt premieres in Oslo
1881: Work begins on Panama Canal
1924: Mahatma Gandhi released from jail
1945: Manila, Philippines freed from Japanese occupiers
1949: Israel and Egypt sign armistice agreement
1981: Prince Charles and Lady Diana announce engagement
2008: Fidel Castro retires as president of Cuba