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Four Factors courtesy of Statsheet.com
Quote of the Night: “This team has to learn how to play before that’s going to come out.” -Kurt Rambis, talking about waiting to use his big motivational speech to inspire his team. Translation: They are playing so bad it’s not worth it to try and motivate them.
WELCOME BACK BIG AL!
It was another tough loss with the Wolves getting frustrated and wilting down the stretch but how good did it feel to see Al Jefferson back to being his own self? Really he was the only bright spot in the game for the starters and hit his first 8 shots of the game on his way to a 20 and 10 night.
It was though a pretty bad loss. Houston is certainly an underrated team this season with both McGrady and Yao out, but they were on the second night of a back-to-back and the Wolves had been off since Saturday. On top of that the Wolves were out-rebounded by 10 (again) even though Houston’s frontline was giving up about 5 feet collectively. Our starters looked dreadful other than Jefferson’s line, and was highlighted by Corey Brewer who finished 3-7 from the field, 0-2 from the free throw line, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 steals and the kicker: 5 turnovers. I’ll say it again, Corey Brewer is not the answer for the Wolves on the wing. He could be a nice player on a team with solid starters around him, but that is something the Wolves won’t be for a long time. Every time he gets the ball on offense I wince. That’s never a good sign when you expect something bad to happen.
On the flip side of the stinker the starters put up the bench played very well and finished with a collective +2 +/- rating. Led by Damien Wilkins energy and rebounding (9 rebs. and 5 offensive) as well as the 2nd unit was able to get out and run a little bit which led to Ramon Sessions finishing with a nice line of 16 pts and 5 assists, 3 steals in just 24 minutes. If the bench can continue to bring this kind of energy the Wolves can win a game when the starters decide to show up.
Now for all of you questioning whether or not Rambis should put Flynn on the bench and have Sessions be the team’s point guard keep in mind that their performances were mostly due to their supporting casts. Flynn had Jefferson going to work solo on the block in mostly a half-court game while Sessions had the 2nd unit guys bringing energy and using it to rebound and push the ball. Now I’m not saying Flynn didn’t have a bad game, but lets not overreact to Sessions having a better one. It’s clear that Flynn is mostly handcuffed to either pass the ball off to the wing or let it fly from 3. The more I see him look uncomfortable the more I wonder when Rambis is going to let him run the pick and roll where he is most lethal.
Coming up next: Blazers in Portland on Saturday night.