You know how the song goes. It epitomizes the Wolves’ recent stretch.
You can easily make an argument that tonight was a different story, but was it really? They were down by 24 points at one point. They were playing like their usual selves, which meant complete and utter disappointment. The guiding star, Kevin Love, started off a paltry 0-5 and didn’t look like he was going to turn it around at any point after receiving a blow to the dome from Javale McGee and never returned. (Don’t worry, it should only be a concussion, maybe a couple games off unless they decide to shut him down for the season.)
Those reasons above justify that this was still a bad game for the Wolves. Forget the final score and any argument for why this one is different than the past six. It’s about the game as a whole, from beginning to end; an F in the first half paired with an A in the second averages out to a C. A C is not a passing grade in basketball.
But I will tell you who deserves a solid B+ to A- for their performances tonight: Anthony Randolph and Derrick Williams. The two young guns found more playing time after Love went down and Nikola Pekovic took the bench. And, boy, did they not disappoint. They combined for 55 points. Yeah, 55. We all knew what they were both capable of on the offensive end of the court. The problem is that they both need shots to put up the numbers and it has to be “their night,” if you know what I mean. On any given night, everyone understands that the minutes and the shots and the spotlight belongs to Love. But without him, who gets the chance to step up? Better yet, who wants to step up? We found out tonight that Randolph and Williams aren’t afraid to stand tall and claim that role.
Both JJ Barea and, surprisingly, Wes Johnson had solid nights as well. Barea dished out a season-high 15 assists, and Johnson was sneakily efficient going 5-8 from the field (The key is taking 2′s, Wes!) But they still had their flaws, especially Barea. Barea dribbled too much, and at the final shot to make a difference and tie the game in the final minute, took a poor fadeaway shot over the taller Kenneth Faried and barely caught a piece of the rim.
As much as I want to for the entertainment of reading this piece, the Wolves’ play just isn’t worth it. I enjoyed seeing them face adversity in the second half as well as watching Randolph and Williams catch fire, but a loss is still a loss. Their bad streak of games continues, and, in the midst of losing Love for a few games or more, only complicates matters even more than they are now.
The Wolves continue to preach the importance of finishing on a high note. I hope we can see it because the season’s coming to a close and the latest history tells us the trend won’t change to quickly.
Next up comes the LA Clippers tomorrow night. Love’s status is unknown for tomorrow night which harms the chances of turning this ship around before season’s end. We’ll see what they can do.