It was by no sense of the word or meaning of the word prototypical of Love last night. His rugged frame and clunky stride all remained but the production was done, especially the efficiency. Love was finding it difficult to go around the likes of Luis Scola and Chuck Hayes (The man’s built like a mountain; the easiest way is to go over) His lack of effort and hustle continued all the way up until the fourth quarter. Then he woke up.
Without needing to carry the team for much of the game, in tight situations like these, a team needs someone to tip their cap on; someone who’s not afraid to take the big shot because they have the confidence and the swagger to effortlessly flutter it through the air. With Beasley watching from the pine, who else would you expect to step up other than Love?
Love ended up nailing two dagger three-pointers and a big slam dunk to close the coffin. Clearly this is something we’re not used to. Sometimes in these tight spots we’ve been known to isolate Beasley and put all our eggs into that basket, but what’s wrong with sticking to what works? Love is clearly better when setting screens and rolling either to the basket or the arc, awaiting an easy pass to throw up a wide-open three, lay-up or sometimes a rare dunk. It’s arguably our most effective play we got, but how it is under-utilized oh so much. We can just thank Rambis for answering the call at the end there and not botching his own thoughts.
As for getting to those final, suspenseful moments, you have thank Jonny Flynn for that. Unlike his recent past filled with the fans’ demise and little-to-no support, Jonny’s play has become progressively better. His sporadic dribbling and wildly flung passes now have some sense of control. He’s looking for more open shooters and hitting them with cleaner, crisper passes. So even though Flynn lost the ball six times last night, he still commanded the offense with a controlled kamikaze-like demeanor. We’ve seen this out of him the past few games, and it started when he took over Ridnour’s spot while he’s been absent.
What this second consecutive road victory showed us was that these Wolves do have some fight left in them. Despite being down a few starters and some key role players, we have some guys that have the ability to step up when called upon. As explained earlier, Love stepped up as the marquee finisher and Flynn stepped up for Luke as a somewhat level-headed commander. But even guys like Nikola Pekovic and Wayne Ellington all stepped in for their injured elders and were arguably the reason this game was ever close in the first place. Really, without them Love would’ve had no game to save at the end of the game. Instead he’d just be trying to pad some stats before the clock hit all zero’s.
Next up is the Indiana Pacers. This could very well turn into the successful road trip, as the Pacers are an easily beatable team at this point. Although with no Darko inside to contain Roy Hibbert, and our suspect defense on the perimeter could pose to be a feast in the “baking” — Sorry, I try real hard to get these puns down — for Danny Granger, there’s still a very good chance the Wolves come home with three wins under their belt.