Wolves vs Kings
The losing streak is now at nine games. At some point, enough just has to be enough. I know we have to be patient as the Wolves implement a new system and all that jazz, but seriously, are we going to sit through multiple double-digit losing streaks just before the All-Star break? Yuck.
As depressing as it is to be a Timberwolves fan, it is probably worse to be a fan of the Kings. Maybe just equally bad? I dunno. Anyways, Sacramento looked like an up-and-coming team last year, led by De’Aaron Fox. They played fast, really fast, which worked because Fox is one of the most explosive open-floor athletes in the league.
Then, Vlade Divac fired Dave Joerger because they kept butting heads, and replaced him with Luke Walton. Walton has decided to not play the way that best suits their best players. The Kings now play at a snails pace, which is obviously stupid when you have De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, as well as Marvin Bagley. For what it’s worth, one of the disagreements Joerger and Divac had was that Joerger wanted Hield to be the teams sixth man, which Divac disagreed with. Well, guess who’s now the sixth man for Sacramento? Yeah, it’s Hield.
For the Wolves, it’s really beating a dead horse at this point. We want to see more from Karl-Anthony Towns on the defensive end. We want to see Jarrett Culver be aggressive attacking the rim. We want to see Andrew Wiggins be engaged for a full 48 minutes. In a season that appears lost to the lottery again, this is what we hold onto.
The Kings have lost six of their last seven. The Wolves have lost nine in a row. Something has to give tonight.
Let’s also address the elephant in the room.
It’s going to be weird, tonight. Really, really weird.
Yesterday was one of the worst days for the NBA in a long time, with the passing of Kobe Bryant (41), his daughter Gianna (13), and seven other passengers who all left us far too soon. It’s heartbreaking. It’s one of those moments that puts everything into perspective, and makes you realize what’s really important.
So many of the coaches, players, staffers, and fans who will be in the building or watching from home tonight were personally impacted by him.
KAT, RoCo, and Wiggs paid their respects last night on Instagram. Buddy Hield (#24) is someone who really idolized the Mamba. It’s also no secret how much Kobe respected Flip Saunders, and that will no doubt be brought up this evening as well. Vlade Divac was traded for Kobe on draft night. Luke Walton was a longtime teammate and friend. The list goes on and on.
Wolves were a shaken group this morning. KAT was emotional talking about Gianna. Ryan teared up talking about Kobe in a FLIP shirt after his dad passed. Rosas has a daughter named Gianna as well. Emotions are raw— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) January 27, 2020
Never met a bigger Kobe fan than @buddyhield. If you knew Buddy when he was at OU, you know Kobe was his idol. Buddy COULD NOT WAIT to meet him after Sweet 16 win over A&M in ‘16, and scored 37 vs. Oregon two days later with Kobe in stands again. Really nice moment here. #RIPKobe pic.twitter.com/sDnc7nOtLH— Mike Houck (@mhouckOU) January 27, 2020
Luke Walton: “He was so proud of his girls.” Said when Luke had his daughter, Kobe called him. “He said it’s the greatest thing in the world, the father-daughter relationship.”— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) January 27, 2020
I’d expect to see the same shot-clock and/or 8-second violations to start the game as we saw around the league yesterday. Many of the players will probably be quite emotional. I don’t know how the players were able to compete yesterday, but it’s remarkable they did.
So, yeah, there’s a game to be played tonight, between two franchises that were tortured by Kobe for a long, long time. It’s going to be weird. It’s going to be sad. Ultimately, hopefully the game tonight can be a bit of an escape for many.
Lastly, a programming note here:
ESPN just announced it will air Kobe Bryant’s last game, the 60-point performance, tonight at 9pm ET.— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) January 27, 2020