Jonah: What I’ve observed since Ricky Rubio’s minute limit was lifted is how slow he is out of the gates. He misses a lot of shots and never seems completely comfortable within the flow of the offense, yet he still commands. Tonight was no different, in that he began 0-for-3 from the field but then started to calm the jitters and find himself within the flow. He put up one hell of a line of 18-11 and it could’ve been so much better, going just 6-14 from the floor and an ugly 5-9 from the free throw line. What sprung his numbers was his ability to sprint off an inbounds pass and blow past everyone on the court on his way to the hoop. It led to free throw galore and really threw the Knicks off-kilter. That speed is what he’s been lacking since returning from his ACL injury, which only signifies the knee is getting better and better each and every day.
Tom: Dear Rubio-Williams alley-oops: I missed you terribly.
Incidentally, this is a gorgeous play. The Wolves used to run these little fake-screen slips last year, but I can’t recall another occasion in which Williams moved so confidently without the ball. And WHAT a pass from Rubio. He floats it at exactly the right height for exactly as long as it needs to float. Wonderful to see those two working together again.
Jonah: It’s hard to fault Derrick Williams directly for Carmelo Anthony’s big night but his defense didn’t exactly hinder the cause either. He was tough in the post — for the most part — and seemed to get a hand in Melo’s face on the perimeter. But if you really break it down, it didn’t matter who was covering Melo; it was just another one of those nights.
Tom: I would second Jonah’s comments that Williams couldn’t have done much against Melo, since nobody can do much about Melo on a night like tonight. I would also add that, once again in this broken record of a season, the Wolves were 1-13 from 3-point range. More on this in my observation.
Jonah: Greg Stiemsma is the new bad boy in the NBA. It began with subtle chips and tons of jawing and slowly progressed to the point where Matt Barnes and company couldn’t stand Stiemer’s ways. Amare Stoudemire was Stiemer’s next victim, who got T’d up after schooling Stiemer in the post — multiple times, might I add — and then showed off by backing into him in an attempt to show him up.
Tom: If the Wolves keep up this level of 3-point shooting (they are currently averaging .302 on 3-point attempts), it would be the 16th worst 3-point shooting season since the 3-point line was added. The Wolves would also be the only team in the bottom 20 that wasn’t from 1990 or earlier, when teams were still adjusting to the fact that a 3-point line existed.
Except for the Wolves, the lowest team from 2000 on is, somewhat ironically, the 2009-10 Lakers, who also won the championship. They are ranked 32nd at .341.
Next up: Wolves soiled their chance at winning some on this homestand and now head on the road beginning Sunday in Memphis at 5 pm.