How mighty of the Celtic warriors draped in green and white to sneak out of Minny with their integrity still in hand, eh?
In one of the most entertaining home games of the year — mainly because of the thousands of Bostonians that packed the Target Center; who knew Minneapolis was home to so many people from Boston? — the Wolves were edged by the Celtics in what was a defensive oriented, bang-bang kind of game.
The Celtics started off hot. The Wolves, not so much. The first quarter featured a lackluster effort on offense and foul trouble for the white-hot Anthony Randolph which led to a 31-13 deficit. Game, set, match, right? Not so fast. Behind valiant efforts from the reserves, namely Anthony Tolliver, the Wolves clawed their way back into the game and went into half time within reach of a legitimate come back.
And then the third quarter started. Darko Milicic and his lazy limbering motions are never your odds-on favorite to mount the team and commence a come back, but tonight was the night. Using his craftiness and size over “Big Baby” Davis, Darko was making plays under the hoop and getting his spot on the floor. The left-handed hook never looked so silky and it always managed to find itself streaking through the net. Where Darko really made his impression, though, was on defense. So often do we gaze on at his timid and pitiful mechanics on defense, these types of performances come few and far between. Thank God it came tonight. Darko ended with two blocks and steals and made his presence felt inside, forcing Davis and Kevin Garnett into difficult looks rather than uncontested layups. You can’t say enough about this man’s effort, which is really saying something considering his oft shy and disconnected demeanor at all times of the game.
After the magical third quarter run came the fourth. If you remember back to earlier this season, the Wolves, at times, had everything clicking on all cylinders. It truly looked like they could’ve pulled some wins out, but, instead, their inexperience and unpredictability let them down, while a seasoned veteran squad steadily played hard enough to squeak it out in the end. Well, this was one of those nights. The Wolves sort of ran out of steam in the end. Michael Beasley, man of the night, by the way, had 28 points on 28 shots. Don’t call it efficient but certainly call it excessive. The shots needed to be taken, and rightfully so by our most lethal player, but you could see all those attempts wearing on the small forward. He began to lose his legs as he gave in to the exhaustion That’s what 46 minutes will do to you no matter how old you are. Rambis road him like a Harley tonight but, again, rightfully so. He, at times, was the only player in an able state-of-mind to do so. He took the ship by the reigns and steered it with desire. But there always comes a time where a man, broken and brittle, must bring his guard down. That explains the last few minutes of this game; the Wolves just couldn’t muster up enough power to overcome the steadily progressing offense of the Celtics.
If there’s one thing tonight screamed at me the most was how intense and focused Kurt Rambis was tonight. Amidst the hot-seat talk and the potentiality of losing his job, Rambis ran the sideline like a one-man chain gang, but hooted and hollered louder than any football coach I’ve seen before. It truly was a treat. Some question whether Rambis’ laid-back style of coaching isn’t right for such a young Timber Pups team, but he played both cards tonight and did it beautifully, might I add.
Well, that’s all for now. It was interesting to watch yet another game without K-Love out there reeking havoc under the hoop. It’s sorta like watching a TV show with no color; it’s still there and visible within reach but there’s just something missing, something big and bold. Hopefully he’ll be back by Wednesday when the Wolves take on the Chicago Bulls at home. Should be another great one.