Hey there, Canis Hoopers! After winning five in a row, against the Hornets on Friday, the Timberwolves were a virtual no-show. Ol’ Clyde was all excited to be delighted, but ended up taking a snooze whilst watching the listless Wolves lose. So I tuned in to their game against the Sixers on Saturday with a sense of dread that their shoes would once again be filled with lead, but instead, they began the game with their RPM needle in the red!
And how powerful a revved up V-8 engine is! The Timberwolves dominated the first quarter, putting on an astounding and resounding display of rebounding led by Jarred Vanderbilt, a human whirlwind of fire and desire that never seems to tire. Vando led the team with 6 of his 14 rebounds in the first quarter, as the Wolves hoarded the boards 16-5, taking a 35-20 lead.
The whole pack had the knack! Offensively, in the first half, Karl Anthony Towns was so hot that he never missed a shot, going a perfect 7 for 7. Anthony Edwards was similarly caliente with driving and thriving that was excelente. He slammed and jammed, hitting 6 of his two-point field goals, only missing his 2 three-point attempts in the first quarter. Ant’s rip-n-dip to set up an effortless windmill was the most stylin’ and profilin’ highlight of the night!
In the second quarter, however, the Sixers began to keep pace. Waking up and beginning to play with hustle and muscle of their own, the Sixers forced the Wolves into 6 turnovers, 3 of which came on Naz Reid’s first 3 drives. Naz was clearly frustrated when his falls were not rewarded with calls, and meanwhile, the Sixers’ shooters began to stroke the ball, hitting 3-8 from downtown.
Now, I mean it when I say that V-8 is the engine that makes the Wolves go! When Vanderbilt picked up his 4th foul early in the 3rd quarter, the Wolves’ momentum began to slow. The Sixers began to keep pace on the boards, and Joel Embid knocked off the rust from his covidacation. In the first half, the Wolves swarming double teams held Embid to a measly 2-7 from the field, but of course this behemoth would not yield, and he hit 6 of 10 shots in the 3rd and 4th quarters, including 2 threes and 5 of 7 free throws, accumulating 19 points and 7 rebounds. I gotta give the guy credit - 42 points and 14 rebounds is some definite posting and toasting for a monstrous 21 free throw attempts!
Though they had clearly come to play today, the Wolves seemed like they were going to choke the game away.
But, “Not so!” said D-Lo. In the first 3 quarters, D’Angelo Russell hit only 3 of 10, but when the Wolves began to choke and retch, D-Lo gave them a heimlich and carried them down the stretch! Hitting clutch shot after clutch shot, D-Lo went 10-15 after halftime, nailing 6 of 9 threes with glee.
D’Angelo, The Maestro, put the Wolves in position to win the game at the end of the 4th quarter. With 17 seconds to go, the Wolves put the ball in Ant’s hands to close the show, but alas, the play’s development was too slow. Ant was forced to shoot a deep contested three as time expired, which was probably not the look the Wolves desired(?). Though, to be fair, Ant will hit many more of those in the future.
As the game headed into overtime, the Wolves chances to begin a new streak looked awfully bleak. Their 20 point lead had vanished, along with their star center, Karl Anthony Towns, who fouled out, committing 2 of his 6 fouls in the final minute of the fourth quarter.
Russell and Reid came through when the Wolves were in need, however, scoring all 13 of Minnesota’s points in the first overtime. Down 110-107, D-Lo hit two straight deep 3-pointers to give the Wolves a 113-110 lead. The second splashed through the net with 4.7 seconds left, leaving the SIxers with a chance to tie, but hey, D’Angelo was in the flow, so sometimes you just gotta let the ball go.
Announcers always debate what to do in these late game situations, and Finch and the Timberwolves acted without hesitation, committing an intentional foul to prevent a 3-point shot opportunity. However, they may have been too clever. With KAT on the bench, Embid and his fellow Sixers other hench, Andre Drummond, appeared so titanic, Ol’ Clyde began to panic. And with good reason: Maxey made the first and then intentionally missed the second. Andre the Giant was towering and overpowering, easily tipping in the rebound to take the game into a 2nd overtime period.
With 2 minutes to go, Joel Embid hit back to back impressive fadeaways to put the 76ers up 120-117. After a Tayshaun Prince turnover and a wild circus-shot miss from Ant, the situation looked grim. D’Angelo Russell and the Wolves, however, refused to lose. First, D-Lo and Naz ran the pick and roll to score on “Joel the Troll,” and then in a Bird/Havlicekian flurry, D-Lo came up with a steal and a deal, hitting a cutting Taurean Prince for the game winning layup! The Sixers would get one last chance to win the game, but Anthony Edwards swatted Joel Embid’s shot to bring an epic regular season contest to a close! Rest up, Pups! It’s time to start a new streak next week!
- Once upon a time, I was a D-Lo hater, but presented with new information, I’ve become an appreciator. He’s come a long way since his rookie misadventures with Nick Young. When he gets on a roll, he scores with an elegant stroll, not too fast, always ready to pass, alley oopin’ and swoopity-doopin’. And, most importantly, stats and eyeballs agree, D-Lo is playing much improved D!
“They had guys that sat out and thought it was sweet to come back and play against us. It ain’t sweet. So, we tryin’ to put the league on notice . . .” The drama I desire - shots fired!
- Remember Zen KAT?
The epic clashes between giants Joel Embid and Karl-Anthony Towns should always amaze and astound. Jim Peterson mentioned that they were shooting 3 pointers from half court in pre-game warmups, giving one another a taste of the skill and will they would face in the game. And, as they readied for the opening tip, upon each of their shoulders was a chip. Trash was undoubtedly talked, as they both steeled themselves to walk the walk. Theirs is a rivalry that is real, and spectacular.
But all jokes aside, I hope KAT looks in the mirror. I hope he doesn’t revel in his friend’s glory, chalk up a win over his rival, and move on. It is wonderful to play basketball with passion, but is your passion playing basketball games or winning basketball games? Because if it is winning them, some things need to change. The tears and jeers for the officiating won’t work. They are clearly over it. KAT hacked and whacked away his chance to personally best his fiercest rival. Embid had a strong chance to finish with over 40 points and another win, and Towns was powerless to stop it. Sure, there were some bad calls, particularly early in the game, but Karl put himself in a position to have them made by playing occasionally sloppy defense against the player with the highest free throw rate in the league. And he clearly slapped and whapped him on the elbow to foul out.
Perhaps watching Roy Hibbert footage and training to go straight up, with his arms straight up in the air would pay off? It’s definitely easier said than done, I’m sure. But, just watch Embid do it with a minute to go in the 2nd OT. He goes straight up as Edwards is driving to the hoop and forces him into throwing up some junk without a call.
If KAT is able to play defense with more control and accept responsibility when he falters, he could possibly win some championships for Minnesota. Anyone saying we should be shopping Towns around is being a foolish tool, too. There is no reason KAT and Ant can’t both lead the Wolves to a championship, and we need both of them to do it.
- A million dollar move with a ten cent finish is a great basketball expression that can be an excellent analogy in many other aspects of life. Such as fashion design. I absolutely love the front of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ new City Edition uniforms. The bright, royal blue, retro front is so beautiful. The Garnett-era font, and tree stripes, the Old Shep logo - I just love everything about it. The transition to navy blue on the back is, and of course this is just one fashion icon’s humble opinion, rather ugly and fugly. It just reminds me that the Timberwolves stole the Seattle Seahawks color scheme. I get it - it’s a transition from old to new, but to me, the hues clash, and I think the back is trash.
But, The Maestro, D’Angelo makes it look most stylin’ & profilin’