Following a bit of a down stretch after Brandon Jennings was lost for the season due to an achilles tendon injury, the Pistons appear to have righted the ship and have won three of their last four. The Wolves, who beat the Pistons in their home opener, will be looking for the season sweep and a third straight victory after one point home wins over the Heat and Grizzlies.
Please note that the game starts at 5:00 pm Central time; I would hate for you to miss any of this vital tilt.
What else is going on this Sunday morning?
Ricky Rubio's monster late game exploits against the Grizzlies remains the big story--apparently someone made a Willis Reed reference that Rubio didn't understand:
Ricky didn't know Flip's Willis Reed reference. When I explained it to him, he said, "that's good to know," although not sure how sincerely— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) February 7, 2015
Meanwhile, Kevin Martin is pretty funny:
KMart said old Ricky wouldn't take open shots, says he's shooting 3s in transition like "Ray Allen" & off pick-n-rolls like "Steph Curry"— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) February 7, 2015
Anywho, a couple of days after the Chris Mannix report in SI that teams might be interested in Kevin Martin, the Wolves are leaking that they aren't interested in moving Martin, or any of their other veterans apparently, with the exception of Mo Williams. We'll see. With the longer All-Star break this year, the Wolves only have three games left before the trade deadline: tonight in Detroit, home on Monday to Atlanta, then home on Wednesday to Golden State.
According to Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
#Twolves coach Flip Saunders reiterated that Ricky Rubio will likely play only one of the back-to-back games Sunday and Monday.— Andy Greder (@twolvesnow) February 7, 2015
Which is too bad. No word as of this writing which it will be, but if he's serious, I would assume Ricky sits out this evening's game so he can play against the two best teams in the league at home. Would be a bit obnoxious to Wolves fans to play him on the road then not at home, especially against the Hawks.
It's probably worth noting that as good as Rubio was last night, and has been when he's played, a big part of the Wolves looking better when he's available is that we aren't seeing any Zach LaVine at point guard. It's hard to overstate just what a hindrance that is to competing. The gulf between Rubio and LaVine is just enormous.
#Twolves forward Shabazz Muhammad will not play Sunday at Detroit, coach Flip Saunders said.— Andy Greder (@twolvesnow) February 7, 2015
Looks like Monday for Muhammad. It will be interesting to see how the rotation works with more or less everyone available. My assumption is that the return of Muhammad will reduce the minutes load on Andrew Wiggins and perhaps on Kevin Martin as well, and might result in some DNPs for Zach LaVine.
If there is a nine man rotation I would assume it looks something like this:
We'll see what happens. I would just like to see everyone healthy for the last 30 games of the year. That would be nice.
Watched Jahlil Okafor against a bunch of 6'5" dudes on Notre Dame. Duke blew them out after losing to them a couple weeks ago. Okafor is impressive in some ways--great around the basket, creates space with his strength and footwork, has crazy hands, and finishes.
His two misses were the shots he took from 8 feet. Going to have to work on that. Real fear is his lack of dominance on the defensive glass. Should really be vacuuming up the boards, but just...doesn't. Isn't a real presence in that area. Worrisome. Still, you can see why people are excited.
Also watched Kentucky. Karl-Anthony Towns was quite impressive. He also has excellent hands, and covers a lot of ground defensively. He showed some ability to make shots, including a very pro-like pick and pop 15 foot jumper, and all of his free throws. Also had a couple of nice passes out of double teams. He looks more like a center than a power forward to me--sort of Tyson Chandler crossed with a bit of Josh Smith. Not to say he'll be that good, but those are the guys that come to mind. It would help if post-feeding was something college guards could do.
Willie Cauley-Stein is quite agile for a guy his size. He's going to be able to guard in the NBA. Had a spectacular dunk in transition and has a good looking beard.
Elsewhere, it's been a great sports weekend for me with the win over the Grizzlies on Friday and yesterday morning's Spurs victory over Arsenal in the North London Derby. Harry Kane is quickly becoming a legend at White Hart lane, as he scored a brace in his first NLD to lead Spurs to victory. He's like the English Ricky Rubio. COYS!
That's all I got this morning. We'll be back for the game later.