Last night, I was planning on watching Fox Sports North’s midnight replay of the game. I had too much going on to watch the live game, so I told myself not to check Twitter or ESPN’s mobile site for a score, because watching the game without knowing what is going to happen can be fun.
Then Jonah texted me. “Have fun with this one.” Uh oh. What was I supposed to do? I checked the score.
83-67 Utah in the fourth. Ugh. What happened? I put my phone away, wondering how snarky I could be to try to keep myself entertained watching this stinker. I, of course, had no way of knowing that Minnesota had been threatening to get back into this game throughout the previous three quarters. I had no way of knowing I had managed to catch the apex of Utah’s run.
Then, 15 minutes later from Jonah again: “The NBA…wow.”
WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO?! I checked again. 91-90, Utah with a little over two minutes remaining.
I figured that at least the game would be entertaining. I had no way of knowing that Derrick Williams would make the second biggest play of the game shortly after this, grabbing a huge offensive rebounding and getting an and-one opportunity to tie the game. I had no way of knowing that Al Jefferson would hit a tough, tough shot to tie the game with seconds left to play. I had no way of knowing that hours later, watching the game on replay, I would feel a powerful Clippers game deja vu. I had no way of knowing that Luke Ridnour completely demolish Gordon Hayward off the dribble, drive into the lane, put up what appeared to be a wild floater, and swish it through as the buzzer sounded.
I had no way of knowing. And I’m kind of glad I didn’t.
There is something galvanizing about come-from-behind wins. I don’t necessarily mean for the team, more for fans. It’s impossible for some fans to completely give up on a game, thanks mostly to Tracy McGrady’s 13 point explosion in the final 35 seconds of a Houston game several years ago. We can’t ever stop thinking “What if something impossible happens?”
So when it DOES happen, when we are vindicated in our hopes and beliefs, well. The feeling is a little extra special. It should go without saying (but it won’t thanks to me) that last night was a little extra special.
Some bullet points:
- Wes Johnson had one of his teaser games tonight. A three pointer led to a beautiful drive to the hoop led to an athletic dunk led to a mid-range jumper. His athleticism is so far off the charts, the doctor is writing on the table, which makes it all the more frustrating when he goes 0-3 with no points in other games. Sigh.
- At 0:38 in the video above, FSN shows a heartbroken Utah fan, standing with his arms crossed. Ordinarily when I attend a game I (being an undeniable ass) love seeing opposing teams fans get heartbroken. But this guy…he’s a Utah fan, for crying out loud. Clearly he’s not a bandwagon jumper because see the previous sentence. He gets to see his favorite team once a year when they come to Minneapolis…and they do this to him? Ouch. (Great game analysis, Tom. I’ll stop.)
- You’ve probably seen this already, but if you haven’t, go watch the funniest NBA celebration of the year thus far, brought to you by Ricky Rubio.
- Man, it’s weird to think of Minnesota as a fourth quarter team, but they are the Cardiac Boys at this point. Tonight they capped off the game with a 30-13 run to put things away.
- Hey, good preview Tom. You were only wrong about, well, everything. That Josh Howard guy you said you weren’t worried about? Yeah. He killed Minnesota, especially in the first half. Oh, and needing to beat Utah’s bigs to win the game? Well. Utah’s starting bigs out-scored Minnesota’s 42-25, and out-shot Minnesota 48%-24%. Minnesota’s guards won them this game, especially Barea. This kind of game at least makes a stab at justifying his contract over the summer: championship experience is difficult to overrate.
One final point that feels a little too big to be a bullet: with the win, Minnesota moved into 4th place in the division by themselves at .500. They enter the All-Star break just a game out of the playoff race, and presumably they have tightened together as a team over the first half. In a shortened season, they have matched last year’s win total for the entire season by the All-Star break. You don’t need to be an expert to see that the Wolves have drastically improved, but sometimes the numbers can feel pretty good. Or bad, if your name rhymes with Shmurt Kambus.