The "game" of Basketball that the Timberwolves played last night against the Dallas Mavericks showed that unless the Wolves get an amazing performance from some combination of Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Zach LaVine that they are unlikely to be competitive throughout the rest of the year. It just isn't going to be possible to field a team that can stop the opponent on defense when almost all of the players receiving major minutes are negatives on that end of the floor.
That is not to say that there won't be fun games as we finish out the year, as we have seen the Wolves rise to the competition and be able to put on some amazing offensive performances primarily due to the fireworks provided by the aforementioned players. But there will likely be more games like last night where things fall apart early and the Wolves are unable to play competitive basketball. Even the win against the Pelicans is not one to hang our hat on, as the Pelicans without Anthony Davis are somewhere close to the team that started 1-11.
This is especially true with teams that have big guards and small-ball fours. Zach is not going be able to keep up with bigger players that overpower him in his new starting role. If the game wasn't out of reach within the first quarter last night, I think Wes Mathews could have gotten to the basket every time down the court if he wanted to. Similarly, and while the combination of Towns and Gorgui Dieng has proved fun at times, Dieng is not equipped to chase small ball 4s around the court and drawing him out of the lane and to the perimeter creates all sorts of defensive problems for the team. Towns and Dieng have developed chemistry together, but them playing together would likely be better suited to be dependent upon match-ups next year.
Regardless, and to reiterate what I ended the recap with last night, these types of games happen. The Wolves are short-handed, do not have the correct personnel to match-up with a significant number of teams, are young and inexperienced, and are generally not a good basketball team. Hopefully the front-office can bring in another big man to help spell Towns and Dieng as the season goes on but there is at least the comical relief of the front court that the Wolves rolled out in the fourth quarter last night of Adriean Payne and Damjan Rudez.
Notes from Around the League
The Blazers won again last night to continue their torrid streak. Lillard put on a show once again as he finished with 33 points shooting 5-8 on threes. The Blazers are currently tied with the Mavericks for the 6th seed and could conceivably move up to 5 if Memphis loses a few in a row.
LeBron James sat out against the Wizards and the Cavaliers were promptly destroyed. It's easy to pick on the Cavs due to all of their off-court drama this year, but the team is just such a weird construction of discordant players and personalities. J.R. Smith was the voice of reason after the game with his candid remarks. That sentence is not one that should be typed out again.
Donatas Montiejunas is claiming that the reason the Detroit Pistons said he did not pass the medical examination is that the Pistons changed their mind on the trade. It's a bit of a tricky situation as Montiejunas is likely trying to rebuild his perceived value before he becomes a free agent this summer.
This Week in...Things that are Great!
I watched Creed over the weekend as it recently became available online. I thought the movie, while not necessarily a sequel, was a great remake/remix of the original Rocky formula while evolving with the modern era. Michael B. Jordan was fantastic in the lead role, as he played an illegitimate son of the famous Apollo Creed. Sylvester Stallone also provided a solid background presence as an aged Rocky Balboa struggling to still find meaning in the world.
While the movie (as you may guess) features plenty of boxing, the sequence about halfway through the film during Adonis', Michael B. Jordan's character, first legitimate fight was one of the most arresting boxing scenes I have seen. The background noise cuts out and the camera focuses on the two boxers, almost never cutting away. The scene itself is almost worth watching the film for, but the rest of the movie holds up on its own regard and serves as one of the strongest "remakes" that have become ever-so popular in recent years.