Linsanity Pt. deux; Wolves lose 108-100

From the jaws of victory, the Wolves snatched a defeat.

Two Positives:

Jonah: Ya know, you can criticize him all you want but Greg Stiemsma is still a solid baller when he actually shows up with a clear mind and focused on the game. Most times he seems two steps behind everyone and, in classic Midwestern form, just seems to get irritated after a while and throws his hands up into the air for mercy. But when things are clicking, such as going 6-7 form the field tonight, he resembles that of a more-than-capable backup center and one that warrants his contract from last season. I like that.

Tom: It was touch and go throughout the first half. Minnesota jumped out to a big lead that stretched to 20 at one point in the third quarter. Fortunately James Harden and the Rockets were able to stop Minnesota in their tracks and shut down the high-powered Wolves that were threatening to put even more distance between themselves and other bottom-feeders like the Bobcats and the Magic. A 69-43 second half was more than enough to take care of matters. Solid, solid work overall by Minnesota in terms of late-game lack of execution.

Two Negatives:

Jonah: Now, some might wonder why the title is named “Linsanity Pt. Duex” because of how big of a game James “The Beard” Harden had. Thing is, I expected Harden to go off. Who’s going to guard him? Luke Ridnour? Alexey Shved? I’m pretty positive that The Beard could bench press those two in one sitting. It was bound to be a huge night from him, so that’s why I’m disappointed that the Wolves couldn’t shut down Jeremy Lin, especially with Ricky Rubio parked on him for much of the night. Last time these two teams met, Lin scored just 12 points on a putrid 3-12 shooting. In this one, Lin exploded 24 on 8-15 shooting, including three treys.

Tom: If the Wolves want to keep losing games, they can’t afford mental mistakes like taking a big lead into the second half. Sure, the Rockets are the kind of team that can make a big run to make up the deficit, but what if Minnesota had been playing the Kings? Or the Hornets? Or even a low-scoring playoff team like the Bulls? It’s a matter of accountability, and we just hate to see a team like the Wolves failing to take accountability for nearly winning a game.

Two Observations:

Jonah: Under Kevin McHale’s tutelage, Donatas Motiejunas, or D-Mo, could become my favorite player to watch outside of the Wolves. That’s not an understatement neither. D-Mo is legit 7-feet and can shoot from deep or grind with you under the hoop. He’s got a lot of Dirk Nowitzki in him, and we all know all Dirk’s career has only gotten better playing into his 30′s (Until this season).

Tom: Two of the culprits of tonight’s near-miss: JJ Barea, who scored 19 points on 8-12 shooting, and Derek Williams, who dropped 19 as well on 7-14 shooting. This kind of efficiency can’t be tolerated.

Next up: Wolves come back home yet again for a one-game stand against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night, 6 pm.