I ought to forfeit this recap, just as the Wolves nearly did in the first quarter tonight, due to complete negligence.
The Wolves, honestly, wasted my night of NBA watching tonight (Yes, I spend my Friday nights at home sipping on Irish coffees, squandering League Pass.) The team that usually is, on a nightly basis, the single most entertaining team in the NBA — when healthy — laid straight duds in their last two games, and it really couldn’t have come at a worst time.
When I see two tough conference matchups on the schedule, I own it; I psych myself up to just watch some elite basketball that may alter the playoff race down the line. The Wolves, somehow, managed to inexcusably spoil both viewing parties, though.
Tonight was especially awful. It starts and ends with the turnovers, all 28 of them. 28, yes, you guessed right, is the league high for turnovers this season. Every player that saw more than 10 minutes of playing time committed at least one turnover. Ball security starts with the point guard, and although Rubio forced his fair share of turnovers (4), it was the big guys underneath that couldn’t handle the rock.
- Nikola Pekovic, 3
- Derrick Williams, 3
- Michael Beasley, 3
These things add up, ya know. The worst offender of ‘em all was Kevin Love. Coming off his two-game suspension and the high of being selected to his second All-Star team, you had to expect a mix of shaky but aggressive behaviors from Love. Most of his five turnovers came from simply trying just too hard, not just mental mistakes. He bangs so hard inside, begging for calls but almost never gets them to the point where he’s left simply fighting with just his two pinkies clasping the ball. How can you criticize that? You can’t. The thing you can criticize is the complaining he does after he loses the fight, but I digress because that topic is much to pressing for me to address here and now. Regardless, Love had a monster game — his 23rd double-double of the season and his eighth 30-10 game — and his effort and drive was incomparable.
Aside from Love’s return/huge game, the silver lining: Michael Beasley. He limited his own minutes by picking up some boneheaded fouls but I can almost say this was one of his best complete games in a Timberwolves uniform. He ended with 20 points on 8-11 shooting — two of his four 3-pointers came at the end when Dallas’ defense decided this game was over. But it was what Beaz did on the other end of the court that I was impressed with. He was contesting shots, hustling after balls and rebounds. He was more of an all-around force than I’ve seen in a long, long time, and not just a savvy scoring option as well as a liability on defense.
The Wolves will need more games like this from Love and Beaz minus the turnovers. Perhaps the biggest need overall, though, is another scoring option. No, not perhaps, definitely; the Wolves definitely need another scoring option. Luke Ridnour was the guy in the first half of the season but seems near incompetent as of late. Wes Johns… Ha, that’s a good one. Nikola Pekovic can only do so much, not to mention only so many centers in the league can be relied upon for night-in and night-out scoring.
Someone needs to step up and start hitting big shots. It doesn’t matter who it is outside of Love and Beaz. Who knows, maybe Jeremy Lin will genie his way to the edge of our bench too. Side note: Malcolm Lee has been playing well for the D-League Sioux Falls Skyforce in his rehabilitation trip so far. Given a spot and time on the court (Move over, Luke), I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds his way into this lineup next to Rubio at times; he provides great size, outstanding defense with scoring point guard instincts. Really love him as a prospect.
Anyways, speaking of Jeremy Lin, next up Lin leads the hot New York Knicks to town, and after seeing what Lin did to the Lakers last night, things could get out of hand; the Wolves defense hasn’t been special the last couple of nights. Could the Linsanity continue? Against our defense? Oh, yeah.