Category: 2010-2011 Game Recaps

A Celtic Brawl; Wolves lose 85-82


Deprecated: Function eregi_replace() is deprecated in /home/howlintw/public_html/wp-content/themes/blaskan/functions.php on line 543

How mighty of the Celtic warriors draped in green and white to sneak out of Minny with their integrity still in hand, eh?

In one of the most entertaining home games of the year — mainly because of the thousands of Bostonians that packed the Target Center; who knew Minneapolis was home to so many people from Boston? — the Wolves were edged by the Celtics in what was a defensive oriented, bang-bang kind of game.

The Celtics started off hot. The Wolves, not so much. The first quarter featured a lackluster effort on offense and foul trouble for the white-hot Anthony Randolph which led to a 31-13 deficit. Game, set, match, right? Not so fast. Behind valiant efforts from the reserves, namely Anthony Tolliver, the Wolves clawed their way back into the game and went into half time within reach of a legitimate come back.

And then the third quarter started. Darko Milicic and his lazy limbering motions are never your odds-on favorite to mount the team and commence a come back, but tonight was the night. Using his craftiness and size over “Big Baby” Davis, Darko was making plays under the hoop and getting his spot on the floor. The left-handed hook never looked so silky and it always managed to find itself streaking through the net. Where Darko really made his impression, though, was on defense. So often do we gaze on at his timid and pitiful mechanics on defense, these types of performances come few and far between. Thank God it came tonight. Darko ended with two blocks and steals and made his presence felt inside, forcing Davis and Kevin Garnett into difficult looks rather than uncontested layups. You can’t say enough about this man’s effort, which is really saying something considering his oft shy and disconnected demeanor at all times of the game.

After the magical third quarter run came the fourth. If you remember back to earlier this season, the Wolves, at times, had everything clicking on all cylinders. It truly looked like they could’ve pulled some wins out, but, instead, their inexperience and unpredictability let them down, while a seasoned veteran squad steadily played hard enough to squeak it out in the end. Well, this was one of those nights. The Wolves sort of ran out of steam in the end. Michael Beasley, man of the night, by the way, had 28 points on 28 shots. Don’t call it efficient but certainly call it excessive. The shots needed to be taken, and rightfully so by our most lethal player, but you could see all those attempts wearing on the small forward. He began to lose his legs as he gave in to the exhaustion That’s what 46 minutes will do to you no matter how old you are. Rambis road him like a Harley tonight but, again, rightfully so. He, at times, was the only player in an able state-of-mind to do so. He took the ship by the reigns and steered it with desire. But there always comes a time where a man, broken and brittle, must bring his guard down. That explains the last few minutes of this game; the Wolves just couldn’t muster up enough power to overcome the steadily progressing offense of the Celtics.

If there’s one thing tonight screamed at me the most was how intense and focused Kurt Rambis was tonight. Amidst the hot-seat talk and the potentiality of losing his job, Rambis ran the sideline like a one-man chain gang, but hooted and hollered louder than any football coach I’ve seen before. It truly was a treat. Some question whether Rambis’ laid-back style of coaching isn’t right for such a young Timber Pups team, but he played both cards tonight and did it beautifully, might I add.

Well, that’s all for now. It was interesting to watch yet another game without K-Love out there reeking havoc under the hoop. It’s sorta like watching a TV show with no color; it’s still there and visible within reach but there’s just something missing, something big and bold. Hopefully he’ll be back by Wednesday when the Wolves take on the Chicago Bulls at home. Should be another great one.

Release the Kraken; Wolves lose 104-96


Deprecated: Function eregi_replace() is deprecated in /home/howlintw/public_html/wp-content/themes/blaskan/functions.php on line 543

Upon hearing the devastating news of potentially playing the rest of the season out without superstar Kevin Love, it only seems natural to grow disinterested and hopeless in this young team. That is until Kurt Rambis unleashed one of the rawest, most intriguing prospects on this team: Anthony Randolph.

Randolph set a career high in points last night with 31 points with 11 rebounds in his replacement performance for Love, and proved my point on exactly why this guy should be getting more burn. The issue lies in Rambis’ rotation; finding minutes for three centers and two power forwards isn’t easy, but that’s where priority steps in. And the new priority, which we quickly learned last night, is developing Randolph into a dynamic young player.

As for the game, you have to admit this was one of the more admirable efforts the Wolves have given since the break. Without their star, Love, it seemed as if they were as good as dead, but some good performances from reserves like Randolph and even Jonny Flynn made this game entertaining all the way until the end. But in the end, the Mavs just have too much firepower for the Wolves to hang with in the clutch. Guys like Nowitzki and Terry are just too strong and clutch for the Wolves to go bucket-to-bucket with.

I apologize ahead of time for the lack of details in the recap; I only caught the second half and had a whole lot to do. Same goes for tonight, but I’ll do my best to catch what I can and post my thoughts, so stay posted.

Tonight’s tilt features the Wolves in Oklahoma City facing the Thunder. Needless to say the Wolves’ chances aren’t more than next to minimum, but with Randolph’s emergence, things could get interesting.

A court fit for a King; Wolves lose 127-95


Deprecated: Function eregi_replace() is deprecated in /home/howlintw/public_html/wp-content/themes/blaskan/functions.php on line 543

It’s hard to imagine this not being the lowest point of the season. The Sacramento Kings came into this game with a worse record than the Wolves and were without superstar Tyreke Evans to lead them. But that didn’t matter, no, sir. Not when you have Marcus Thornton, Beno Udrih and, of course, Samuel Dalembert to make up the spread in Evans’ wake.

Without Kevin Love due to a groin injury, the Wolves played possibly the flattest version of basketball I’ve witnessed from them all season long. Considering the Four Factors, which any game can be properly analyzed by, the Wolves miserably failed to do a damn thing against a pitiful Kings squad.

Let’s start with factor one: Shooting. Basketball Reference says that shooting makes up 40-percent of a winning formula for any game. The Wolves actually shot well today at 44-percent. Given anything in the mid-forty’s should at least keep you competitive, so something else must’ve went wrong.

The second factor is free throw shooting. We all know the importance of getting to the line and cashing in on these opportune looks. The Wolves are currently ranked 15th in the league in free throw percentage, which isn’t half bad (Also consider the timing of FTM, which isn’t very good for the Wolves). Today, they actually outshot the Kings, 75-percent to 61-percent. But free throws only do so much in a game, so let us continue in reviewing the Four Factors.

Factor three is your turnover rate (Uh-oh). This is a young squad; you’re going to turn the ball over and it will more than likely be at a high rate, but the Wolves turned over the ball 25 times today against what I didn’t believe was too stifling of a defense — Just wait until Boston, Chicago and Miami come to town next week. And they were all mental mistakes. A bad pass in the pros isn’t the same as a bad pass in high school; all of these guys are physically mature enough to thrust an accurate ball to a teammate without much hassle involved. You know it’s a mental issue when they’re unable to complete these plays. For instance, Luke Ridnour, arguably the most intelligent player on the team, had three horrible possessions in a row. One started with him flying across the lane into traffic and fumbling the ball into a sea of purple jerseys. The next possession was awfully similar, instead this time he essentially just threw the ball away. And the third possession ended with him heaving a contested shot from the very corner of the floor without so much as a prayer of it going in. These possessions led to points going the other way while we sat idly throwing the our possessions away. So, despite having a decent shooting percentage on the board, the Wolves only had 79 attempts compared to the Kings’ 91. That’s a difference of 12 possessions and possibly 24 points on the board. That’s the price you have to pay for turning the ball over.

The last factor, and maybe the most important in this game, was rebounding. The Wolves, jockeyed by the rebounding mogul that is Love, are, statistically speaking, the best in the biz when it comes to crashing the boards. But without Love’s physicality inside, rebounding becomes a game of length and determination. The Kings’ frontcourt does not lack in the length department. Both Jason Thompson and Dalembert are nearly 7-feet tall and have abnormally long limbs. With those lengthy arms, those two bolstered Sac-Town’s rebounding with a combined 25 boards, as the Kings went on and grabbed 47 as a team. The Wolves? Darko Milicic, an average rebounder, led the way with six and gave the team a total of 27. A 20 rebound difference won’t get you a win, and thus we realize the importance of Love’s intensity and hustle on the boards. Because without it, this team could very well lose by 20 every night.

The only positive I could take from this game was how well Darko did on Demarcus Cousins on the defensive end. The big Kahn man has been notorious for his awful drafts but if this game said anything, it was that he got it right when he didn’t draft Cousins with the fourth overall pick last Summer. Not saying that Wes has done any better, but having to deal with Cousins’ baggage would not have been a picture-perfect situation for Rambis and co. Anyways, the ego-manaical hot-head was ejected after a scuffle with the feisty Ridnour. Then as Martell Webster and Nikola Pekovic stepped in to regulate — a shout out goes to the homey Nate Dogg, RIP — he abruptly shoved ‘em both and stir even a bigger scene. As the story went on, technical fouls were dished out and Cousins hit the showers prematurely. The Wolves did go on a mini run afterwards, cutting the lead to five, but were thwarted by hot shooting and physicality under the hoop.

That just about does this one. The Wolves were never really close in this one thanks to turnovers and no rebounds. Next up the Puppies head to Dallas on Thursday. Hopefully a nice break will heal some guys up and do this team some good. Only time will tell on that one.

Back to square one; Wolves routed in Utah 119-104


Deprecated: Function eregi_replace() is deprecated in /home/howlintw/public_html/wp-content/themes/blaskan/functions.php on line 543
Utah Jazz Forward Derrick Favors (15)  Dunks
Darko gets posterized (That should never actually happen)

You have to admit: the Wolves had been playing some entertaining basketball since the All-Star break. A cohesive unit, sharing the ball, playing passable team defense; the games grew intriguing and fun. We knew we’d have to sit through growing pains of a such a young squad’s bonding period, and, for a while there, I truly felt they were finally on the rise; the up-and-up we’ve so patiently awaited for.

If I’ve realized anything from the past two games, I was incorrect. Severely.

For two games straight the Wolves magically forgot how to play that so-called “defense.” Granted they are on the road and that’s never been our forte, but both were winnable games that turned to blowouts, fast. They’ve struggled bringing any intensity or hustle to either game (Somebody’s not eating their Wheaties). All of the aspects we’ve seen in recent weeks have been painfully absent in the past two, and all of a sudden it looks like we’re back to square one.

Many of our losses before the break came at the hands of under-skilled, less important wing players. Unfortunately that was again the case tonight. C.J. Miles went bonkers and put up 40 on the Wolves. He made 14 of his 18 shots from the field, six of seven from beyond the arc. He was even physical enough to get to the line seven times, converting on six of those. It’s difficult to point fingers when players of Miles’ caliber goes off. Surely Miles has the talent and the tools to put up 40 on a given night, but when you’re granted the opportunity to play one of the league’s laziest, most lacksidasical team defense’s I’ve ever seen, your chances of scoring that much rise exponentially. Somehow, given a few extra feet of room on the perimeter to unleash your repertoire of moves, it makes the rim look as big as Lake Superior, no matter where you are on the court.

The lack of energy and intensity also translated to the offense as well. Michael Beasley started off extremely slow and never got it going until it was too late. If the Wolves want any real chance of winning, they need Beasley to regain his early season form of nailing all sorts of shots from mid-range and being cautiously selective with his drives to the hoop. Lately, we’ve seen the opposite; him forcing up shots from literally anywhere at any time, leaving the Wolves with zero chance to set up an offense and run within the flow of the game. Beasley’s boneheaded heaves desperately strain the Wolves’ chances of regaining some sort of flow within the game on the offense. That and turnovers are our #1 enemies on offense.

Another reason we’ve been failing on our small road trip thus far is our production from the center position. Quickly, let’s review Darko and Nikola’s outputs last night. In a combined 32 minutes of work, (Think of that as standard for any normal starting center in the league) the Serbian tandem managed to score 10 points (All from Darko), thankfully only one turnover but eight personal fouls. Darko was in foul trouble for most of the game, so Pekovic came in to do the dirty work and that he did. He managed to pick up three personal fouls, turn the ball over once and post a putrid -16 in just five minutes of service. That’s redonkulous. Rambis has to soon see that Anthony Randolph needs to be the go-to center off the bench. He did last night, and Randolph produced (10 points, eight rebounds, one block and steal). Very soon here, we should start seeing Randolph getting around 15 minutes per game. We need to see what this kid is capable with, and the only way he’s going to learn the offense is playing it, not staring at it from the bench. It’ll be interesting to watch this story as it comes to fruition because, as we all know, Rambis’ rotations are nothing less than sketchy, and granting the proper minutes to the best players has never been his specialty. (Maybe those new coaching change rumors could be a good thing.)

Any who, the Wolves played terribly again. Kevin Love’s new double-double streak has commenced, and you bet your ass I’m excited to root it on again! Especially if the Wolves decide this is the type of basketball they want to play to close out the season.

Next up is the Lakers on Friday night. A little more difficult of a matchup than the Utah Jazz, the Wolves don’t have a prayer of a win if they show up the way they did in Utah. Could be interesting.

An abrupt ending; Wolves lose 100-77


Deprecated: Function eregi_replace() is deprecated in /home/howlintw/public_html/wp-content/themes/blaskan/functions.php on line 543

This was just flat out ugly. All of that momentum built up from the past few weeks to have a game like this suck it away. Shameful.

The Wolves unknowingly walked into a massacre tonight as the Warriors played stifling defense all night long, killing any chances the Wolves had. But, believe me, there weren’t many of them to begin with.

The Wolves shot a measly 37-percent from the field — 62-percent from the free throw line — and committed a whopping 27 turnovers. That’s simply atrocious. This just wasn’t Wolves basketball tonight. Lately, we’ve been used to a high-energy, competitive performance from our Pups, but they came out with a real dud in this one. Kevin Love’s double-double streak came to an end. Stephen Curry showed Jonny Flynn how much better he really is than him, and Darko established himself as one of the worst starting centers in the league (six turnovers in just 19 minutes).

How much can I really say about this one? You all can definitely see how important Kevin Love and his numbers are to this team’s success. Throughout the game, Love was frustrated. It started with him and, like a dark plague, infected everyone else on the team. I think that’s what really got to everyone. When your best player has trouble pulling himself out of a funk, others are affected by that. That’s where I think more veteran leaders can step in and fill that void when Love and Beasley have these kinds of games. But for now, we’re stuck with a bunch of inexperienced youngsters, who are new to having to pull themselves out of rutts like these and push for a win. It’s all mental, baby.

This one just hurts; It was a major step back. It hurts to see Kevin Love’s streak come to an end. It hurts to see all momentum created over the past week whither away. It hurts to see that it had to happen against a very beatable team in Golden State.

Next up is the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. Hopefully all of the air hasn’t deflated quite yet.

A special victory; Wolves win 122-101


Deprecated: Function eregi_replace() is deprecated in /home/howlintw/public_html/wp-content/themes/blaskan/functions.php on line 543
Utah Jazz's Devin Harris, Left, Makes
This was a much-needed win for the Wolves tonight

After allowing my thoughts to culminate through the waining hours of the night, I came to the determination that this was the Wolves’ best win this season.

When I imagine solid wins — And believe me, I have to do oh so often — they usually consist of three things: Energy, hustle and downright amazing plays. Last night’s game had a little bit of each, which ultimately catapulted the Wolves to their second straight win of 20+ points.

The flow of any game can easily be influenced upon two sources of energy: 1) From the crowd; and 2) From the players. The Wolves have already done a nice job of playing competitive basketball on their home court, and the crowd has a lot to do with that. Even though we can’t sell a game out, the noise and vivacity with which the fans balloon the Target Center with is special. It directly affects the players’ confidence.

The best example of this was when Kevin Love was in search of his tenth rebound to make it 53 straight double-doubles late in the third quarter. After a big first half lead, the Jazz, behind a surge from Al Jefferson, charged their way back into the game. Love, still about four rebounds short of ten, took it within himself to put the team on his back. It started with a few big defensive boards — I love how excitable the fans get when he simply grabs rebounds now — and then ended with a huge three-pointer to stretch that lead back into double-digits. Within that five minute stretch, the fans gradually got more involved with every rebound Love ripped down and eventually the cheers were so loud enough at the moment of that three pointer to rip the roof off. Love responded with some hand waves and Tyrone Corbin, Utah Jazz head coach, responded with a quick-witted timeout. It’s safe to say it was too late; the damage had been done.

That type of energy forces the players to play hard. Seems linear, right? The crowd noise began to echo through the arena and Love responded with some big rebounds. Even Nikola Pekovic answered the crowd’s cheers by hustling for a rebound not within his reach, but got enough of a finger on it to bat it out to Michael Beasley for a big three. These moments are what NBA fans live for. There’s nothing more satisfying when players respond to the crowd’s murmuring energy with big plays and sheer hustle. That entire third quarter signed, sealed and delivered another win to the Wolves’ front door. Give credit to all those in attendance, and especially give credit to the Wolves who forked out enough plays to overcome Utah’s push.

So, although the Wolves had the pleasure of facing the Utah Jazz at their worst — injury riddled and still befuddled after a sudden coaching change which sent a legend to his retirement — this was easily the best game to watch all season for the very reasons I stated above. The crowd injected energy into the players; the players responded with pure hustle and heart and it gave the Wolves golden opportunities to make plays on which they capitalized.

Next up comes the Golden State Warriors in Cali. Always a difficult matchup for the Wolves, but this time could be much different. The Wolves are on the rise, and, like I’ve said all year, this team has the potential to play with any team in this league on the right night. The talent is there and so is the drive; all we need is the execution and night’s like this aren’t far beyond our reach.

#52; Wolves blowout Pacers 101-75


Deprecated: Function eregi_replace() is deprecated in /home/howlintw/public_html/wp-content/themes/blaskan/functions.php on line 543
  Kevin Love #42 Of The Minnesota Timberwolves Greets
Congrats, Kevin.

As you all surely know by now, Kevin Love accomplished a marvelous milestone tonight in a blowout win against the Indiana Pacers. Sadly I’m running behind on some last-minute studying, so take in what you can from this recap.

The Wolves and Pacers came out firing on all cylinders. Only problem is the Wolves were the only team actually making their shots. In both the third and fourth quarters, I feared for the Pacers in their quest to score a minimal 10 points in the quarter! Granted the Wolves were playing solid defense, more so than usual, but it really was a matter of the Pacers never finding a fluid rhythm on offense. Both Paul George and Roy Hibbert got into early foul trouble and Danny Granger couldn’t toss pebble into the ocean if he tried. A team will never win a game shooting under 30-percent (Don’t mark my words on that, though.)

Our offense, however, looked good all night; good, not great. Some guys, namely Michael Beasley and Wayne Ellington, forced a ton of shots and never got into a true flow throughout the game. You can tell Beasley has been struggling with the mental side of the game. His passes aren’t crisp and he forces shots all over the court. I heard someone rumble around me that he’s shooting 17-percent in the past 15 games, or something like that. Whatever the actual number, it’s clearly obvious his stroke isn’t on and neither is his mind.

But on the other hand, Anthony Randolph, Luke Ridnour and Love all had good games on the offensive end. Toss in 12 points from Anthony Tolliver and you have a solid set of reserves that helped contribute to a good win.

Enough of the game though — we all understand it was a blowout — let’s put this phenomenal streak into perspective. We’ve been tracking Kevin Love’s double doubles since November 22nd. The last game that Love failed to obtain a double double was against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 19th, which could very well have been his worst game of his career. But since the start of his double double streak, Love has managed to score 1,109 points, has grabbed 852 rebounds and logged a total of 2,011 minutes. Average all that out and you get 21.3 ppg, 16.4 rpg in 38.7 mpg. That’s extraordinary for player in today’s day and age and style of basketball.

Next up is the Utah Jazz, Friday night. Big Al returns to the Target Center, should be a good time.

Until then, ciao!

Joey Crawford: The legend? ; Wolves lose 108-105


Deprecated: Function eregi_replace() is deprecated in /home/howlintw/public_html/wp-content/themes/blaskan/functions.php on line 543

There’s nothing better than a smash-mouth style, Western Conference battle. That is if the refs called the game equally for both sides.

Now I’m not usually the writer to bash the refs for a bad game or even go so far as to blame them directly for a loss, but tonight was ludicrous. Not to pick on Joey Crawford individually, but he headed up one of the worst referring jobs I’ve witnessed this year.

Ticky-tack fouls here, no whistle there, all of this from an officiating crew bearing the infamous Crawford, one of the NBA’s most renowned officials. The game lacked a consistent fluidity of calls and no-calls that utterly ruined the game for myself and, I’m sure, most of you. For instance, Michael Beasley was missing shots. You could see the frustration on his face that shots were falling in his favor. Eventually he started attacking the rim, not getting any calls and had a few words to say about it. For the rest of the game there on out, Crawford and his crew seemingly refused to make the call and ate their whistles instead.

Sometimes that’s understandable; referees aren’t there to make everyone happy. If a player acts up whining or bitching, they have the right to turn their heads at the opportune moment just to establish seniority. But when it happens every trip up the floor, we have a problem.

There’s also a problem when the game lacks a fair amount of calls on both sides. There was one play where Dirk Nowitzki was handling the ball on the arc, took one dribble forward and Kevin Love lowered his shoulder into him a bit and guess who was there hawking the whole situation? Crawford himself. Nowitzki goes to the line, an automatic two points with him there, and the Wolves’ deficit lengthens yet again.

Again, I’m not the guy who needs to find something to blame for every single loss, especially with a team as bad as the Wolves, but tonight’s officiating had to be addressed.

Outside of shoddy officiating, I thought the Wolves played yet another cohesive game tonight. Love led the charge against a surging Mavs team and continued his hot play as of late. It was rewarded big time in the third quarter, too. Love already ripped his 11th rebound of the night down and was just two points shy of tying the NBA record held by Moses Malone of 51 consecutive games with a double-double. The crowd was anxiously waiting to see him tie the record because we all knew it would happen. He got his bucket, and so the “MVP” chants commenced. If you take the entire streak into perspective, what Kevin Love has done this season goes beyond expectations. We knew he could rebound, we knew he could shoot. But did anyone see him tying one of the All-time greats for a historic record? Give this man a trophy and a raise.

Ultimately, the Wolves were close but could use more consistent wing-play and levelheaded referees to win. Next up are the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. I highly suggest you grasp onto a pair of tickets for this one. History WILL be made…

Let's try something new…


Deprecated: Function eregi_replace() is deprecated in /home/howlintw/public_html/wp-content/themes/blaskan/functions.php on line 543

Seeing as how I won’t be able to watch tonight’s game in Philadelphia due to some personal circumstances, I’m extending to y’all the opportunity to write your very own recap. What I want you to do — if you’re interested — is watch tonight’s game and make your recap. Email that to me — jsteinmeyer11@gmail.com — and if there’s a few to pick from, I’ll either put them all up, or if someone just blows me out of the water with a lengthy, detailed and intuitive report, I’ll just post that individual’s.

So here’s your chance to be me; to reach an audience of hundreds of Wolves fans and show what you got to offer in the Blogosphere!

A complete 180; Wolves win 116-105


Deprecated: Function eregi_replace() is deprecated in /home/howlintw/public_html/wp-content/themes/blaskan/functions.php on line 543
Minnesota Timberwolves' Anthony Randolph (15) Is
Just for tonight, Randolph fulfilled his potential

The 180 I’m referring to doesn’t just relate to the result. Tonight’s tilt offered a number of different aspects that the Wolves were unable to pull off last night against the Lakers.

Let’s start with Kevin Love. Against the Lakers’ heavy-hitting frontline, Love had a tough time getting anything going inside. Sure the refs ate their whistles a lot of the time, but they did indeed match his intensity and hustle — he couldn’t make shots either — which is required to do against such a beastly presence inside. It’s pretty adamant that the Pistons lack the depth inside to contain such a large mass of manliness and tonight only proved that. Chalk up yet another 20-20 for Senor Amor, as he was the driving force to tonight’s victory.

Another reason for tonight’s complete 180 comes from the point guard play. Last night, neither Luke Ridnour or Jonny Flynn came to play; they looked flat and just out there in the emotion of the game. Tonight, they made plays, simply put. Ridnour was firing the ball at a perfect clip, going 5-of-5 from the field for 15 points. He only dished out one assist, but that’s where Flynn comes in. If I told you that Flynn had 14 assists and only two turnovers, would you believe me? If I would’ve told you this 1-2 months ago, would you have tried to hunt me down with a vengeance? Flynn played one of the best games I’ve ever seen in his young career. And although some may think he still looks like a blind squirrel out there, he looks more comfortable in the offense and understands that his role isn’t to score; it’s to set teammates up and make the best decision possible. He did that tonight.

Along with Flynn’s exquisite play, the reserves made a complete turnaround. Anthony Randolph, Lazar Hayward and Anthony Tolliver stepped into their roles and commanded this game. In the second quarter, Randolph took matters into his own hands, charging the lane and drawing all sorts of contact. His defense is still suspect but when you nearly put up a 20-10 line off the bench, who cares? Especially in the flow of this type of game. What I particularly love about Randolph’s game is his aggressiveness. He attacks loose balls and then puts that thing on the floor and flies down court like some quick-handling guard. If his jumper starts to develop and he doesn’t look so bewildered on defense, we could’ve pulled off the trade of the century.

With Flynn and Randolph anchoring the reserve squad, Tolliver and Hayward both fit in well. They both played to the flow of the game and never showed any real weakness, or ever tried to force anything to happen. They sat back, let Flynn and Randolph work their games and were there if all else broke down.

Nearly everything was different about this game. Nearly. It’s obvious that our very own Michael Beasley is seriously struggling. He’s reminding me an awful lot of a black hole; whenever the ball swings his way, no one should count on getting it back. Usually the remedy to a cold shooting touch would be putting yourself in better positions to make high-percentage shots. Instead, Beasley’s been fixing to settle for off-balanced jumpers from beyond the arc. Even when he attacks the hoop it hasn’t looked nearly as smooth as it was earlier this year. There’s no doubt that the man has some maturing to do but there’s also no doubt that he needs to produce at a more efficient rate if he indeed is the scoring threat we thought he was.

This was a big win. Road wins are damn-near impossible to come by, so this was a real treat. (Quick side note: The Detroit Pistons are nearly a more forsaken team than the Wolves. Outside of Greg Monroe and possible Rodney Stuckey, this team has no real core to ride into a new era. A disgruntled Rip Hamilton, an injury-riddled Tayshaun Prince and a severely overweight Charlie Villanueva are no where close to an answer in D-Town. It’s truly a shame that the city, and it’s sports teams, are crumbling before our eyes.)

Next up is