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Just this last weekend, my buddy spent his night at the bar. (Believe me, this story relates to tonight’s recap) Pounding drink for drink with the bros always singles out the weaklings. Unfortunately for him on this particular night, he couldn’t keep up with the rest. Inebriated, he left the bar with a young lady. The girl proceeded to hop onto his back, trying to bump an easy ride home. Barely able to support his own weight, the girl rode my buddy down to the ground and straight onto the curb. He came home with two chipped front teeth and a hefty upcoming dentist bill. Ouch.
One can only piggy-back someone for so long. As was the case with my buddy, it was a mere two seconds before he slammed face first into the curb. As for the Wolves, the piggy-backing off of Kevin Love’s brilliance is only going to run him into the ground in a matter of time.
The question is when. Just when exactly will the Wolves and/or Love hit the pavement? Odds are Love hits it first. The Wolves are showing they still have some fight and scrap left in them. But it’s not enough, even tonight against a Gasol-less Grizzlies squad.
Love posted another terrific stat line of 28 and 11. But he needed 22 shots to get there. As of late he’s done a good job of scoring efficiently. Even tonight he shot well from the floor, hitting on 50-percent of his threes. The issue I’m seeing is that he’s taking too many threes. He heaved up eight tonight against a bulky frontcourt in Memphis. Sure, the three-ball spreads the Grizzlies’ defense but also allows Memphis to get better position underneath for rebounds. Memphis grabbed nine more boards than the Wolves did tonight, and that’s without Gasol in the lineup.
Actually, the Grizzlies excelled without Gasol. Dante Cunningham took his place in the starting five and went 6-9 from the court with 13 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. There was just too much athleticism on the Grizzlies’ frontcourt for the Wolves to handle. Mareese Speights, who was a great addition, by the way, and Cunningham combined for 31 points and 21 rebounds. Love can nearly match those numbers and you can nearly expect that from him night in and night out but to rely on that type of game isn’t the way they can continue to play.
There must be stronger and more consistent games from the wing players, including Derrick Williams. Wesley Johnson, Martell Webster and Williams went a combined 1-11 from deep. Williams himself had a difficult game all over the court, going only 4-15. There are growing pains in a rookie campaign but this one was a step backwards.
This just wasn’t a good game. They got beat out at their own game on the boards and relied too heavily on the three-ball . . . Again. Granted the Grizzlies are a tough matchup for the Wolves, but there needs to be a stronger effort on the road against beatable squads.
Next up the Wolves head over to Charlotte to beat face the Bobcats. Definitely a must-win game to keep the playoffs in sight. If ever there was time to catch fire and hit a 4-5 game winning streak, it’s now.