How are we feelin’, gang?
If you’re like me, you’re feeling pretty good. It’s Friday, the Wolves play tomorrow (Statement Saturday, baby!), and we’re still riding the high of Wednesday’s opener. How cruel of the NBA to make us wait so long between games.
All I want to get across today before the two-game series with New Orleans (Saturday and Monday) is just to keep things in perspective. Wednesday night was genuinely awesome. That’s as much fun as I’ve had watching the Timberwolves in a long, long time.
The formula for the Wolves to find their way into the playoff hunt is to take care of business against the bad teams like they did on Wednesday night. Simply beating the bad teams is how you buy yourself some wiggle room. Slipping up in those games narrows your margin for error considerably, as we know all too well. It sounds silly, but the mark of good teams is that they just don’t play with their food, they dominate inferior opponents, especially those as overmatched as Houston.
I’d consider the Zion-less Pelicans that the Wolves are set to face off with to be a bad team, personally. The Sixers (without Ben Simmons) just smoked them by 20 in New Orleans. It’s rough down there, right now.
With all of that being said, if the Wolves only are able to earn a split against New Orleans in the coming days, can we please agree not to act as if the sky is falling. In general, it is difficult in the regular season to beat teams twice in a row that aren’t total bottom-feeders. One of the oldest betting tricks in the book is to target whichever team lost game one of a two-game set during the regular season.
Weird things happen during the regular season. The Pelicans are set-up to be a high-variance team with players like DeVonte’ Graham and Nickeil Alexander-Walker running alongside Brandon Ingram. If one or two of those guys gets hot, things can swing their way, even if on average they’re not going to be a very good team without Zion Williamson.
I believe the Wolves are set-up well to win both and start the season 3-0, especially since Saturday’s game will be the second game of a road back-to-back for New Orleans, but I just wanted to get ahead of the possibility that the Wolves may split this mini-series. It would be a little disappointing, but it’s not reason to fret.
I’ll leave most of the strategic stuff to the guys writing the previews, but this is a matchup where Minnesota playing at the level of the screen should pay-off given how much Graham and Ingram want to rely on their pull-up jump shooting. They won’t be able to walk into easy pull-up jumpers like they would have been against a deep drop.
Anyways, let’s go win two, enjoy some Arby’s Beef ‘N Cheddar’s, and keep the good vibes rolling. I’ll be in the house Monday (as a fan) to cheer Ant and the gang to victory. 82-0, baby.