Life without Ricky before he ever came was brutal. Tonight wasn’t that, but it could’ve been damn close.
Despite Kevin Love making his return from back spasms, the Wolves couldn’t get over turning the ball over consistently, while the New Orleans Hornets took advantage of those opportunities to knock off the Wolves.
Rubio’s presence was greatly missed tonight. Luke Ridnour never had control of the offense at any point in the game. He frantically dribbles around too much and only when the shot clock is running down does he make a play or take a blatantly contested shot himself. It’s not Ridnour’s own fault that the Wolves committed 17 turnovers but the ones he did make (3) turned in to easy transition buckets for the Hornets.
Because Ridnour couldn’t command the offense, the Wolves seemed scatter-brained and hoisted up 23 three-pointers, converting on just five. Even though Nikola Pekovic had it rolling in the paint for the second consecutive night, the Wolves neglected to go into the post and settled for lousy jumpers instead.
Even Love, who had 31 and 16 tonight, was a culprit of poor shot selection. He went just 2-8 from outside including an ugly attempt late in the game down by just four when they had time to go inside and go for two instead. When Rubio’s not there to pick Love’s spots for him, he tends to panic, resulting in poor runners or contested jumpers. He’ll figure it out, he’s an All-Star after all, because it’s all part of the new learning curve that everyone is a part of without Rubio.
Life without Rubio is going to be difficult. The margin of error has decreased significantly, and the need for the bench guys to step up just increased astronomically. Rick Adelman will just have to find a solid rotation and begin to dumb-down the offense so Ridnour can get a grip on things. It’s going to take a little time but hopefully not too much because they have to still make the playoffs. CRAP!
Next up is the Wolves embark on a west coast journey starting on Monday in Phoenix to take on the Suns. The road trip consists of seven games in 11 days. Okay, I’m starting to lose hope. Here’s to a speedy recovery, Ricky.