Beginning with last night, I was unable to watch the whole game but was impressed with what I saw. Kevin Love was great as usual. Darko Milicic was fundamentally sound returning from injury. Darko especially made a statement on defense recording seven blocks.
What stood out for me, though, was the way Luke Ridnour played. Given that he was going against bigger, stronger, more athletic player in Rodney Stuckey, I wasn’t assuming big things our of Ridnour, especially when you take into consideration Ridnour’s shaky play the past few weeks. But Ridnour stepped up big and was the deciding factor in this one. His 20 points on an efficient 7-11 shooting coupled with 10 fantastic assists gives Ridnour his first double-double in a while.
But more importantly than his stats was his composure throughout the game and especially in the fourth quarter. What spoke to me was the momentum-driving steal he had on a Piston fastbreak. Tracy McGrady lobbed a pass trying to get it over Ridnour’s head, but Frodo himself — sorta ironic if you ask me — batted it out of mid-air and zipped straight back the other way for the bucket. These are the sort of performances the Wolves need out of Ridnour. Not necessarily posting double-doubles night in and out but playing smart basketball by abiding to coach Rambis’s system as well as his wants and needs for the team. This is where I think Flynn will come back and struggle with. We all know his talent level exceeds that of Ridnour’s, but his veteran leadership help steer this team in the right direction and last night’s win was a great example of that.
As for tonight, there really isn’t much to report. The Wolves got off to a herocious start and were never able to recover in time. But let’s face it: The Bulls are a far more superior team. The complete package, if you ask me.
It all starts with their studly point guard: Derrick Rose. Rose is the face of the new prototype for point guards in the NBA. See John Wall. More and more I think we’re going to see bigger, stronger, more athletic point guards invade the NBA and change what the point guard position means to a team. He clearly showed that off tonight, burying the Wolves in the process.
One quick editorial note: Can you imagine what the Wolves and Bulls would look like if the Wolves had actually drafted the correct Florida Gator in the 2007 draft? Joakim Noah could have turned this team’s fortunes around, at least on the defensive side of the ball. His presence inside is strongly felt by everyone in the paint, and it’s frankly intimidating. His goofy looks don’t make things any easier either.
Anywho, that’s about all for now seeing that the Wolves did nothing note-worthy in tonight’s tilt. The Wolves continue their lengthy road trip next Tuesday at Golden State, where the Wolves ought to be out on a vengeance for losing to them just two weeks ago.