The Moonball Blog

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kevin is Love

This week I'll be at three Wolves games - Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Two in a week is usually a lot, and by halftime of the second one, I'm usually ready to go home. Misery loves company, so I thought I'd take you along for the ride! And despite the ugliness of Wednesday Wolves vs. Pacers, it was fun and I'm ready for one more tonight.

There was a little more buzz than usual because of Kevin Love tying...then breaking.... Moses Malone's modern NBA double-double record. It's been hyped a lot in Minny because, frankly, there's not a whole lot else to talk about except missed opportunities and a Target Center refurbishment. So the marketing staff is using it every chance they get. And although it'd be nice to focus on a good game instead, they're right....Love is better than nothin'. Love is something. And in Minnesota, in winter, that means something. I have seen some things like the 31-31 game and other games over 20 rebounds, and the efforts are remarkable, but not unusual. He's ready to go for the board on every play...and that's why they seem to roll his way and add up. He's great at holding guys off with one arm, and corralling a rebound with the other. And tip-ins are another specialty, which is why he gets so many points. Other players may be taller and more athletic, but KLove gets the boards.

For example Kevin Love just got 21 rebounds Wednesday, and that was in 27 minutes on a bad leg, not bending his knee. Who else gets 21 rebounds? People said he got the record because he's on a bad team. Maybe, but there have been a lot of bad teams since that record was set. But no Kevin Love.

I'm not in love with Love. Not hardly. I admire the tenacity to rebound (and to be there for it every play). I love that Minnesota and Target Center cheer out loud now for every rebound. But most of all, it's a stepping stone, in a river that is further across than most people realized when we liquidated Kevin Garnett, and scattered his remnants across the plains (...well, I guess we still have Bassy). It's all about what's left, and making a better day.

Kevin Love made a better day. Yesterday. Every day.

Monday, Dallas was in town and Love had 23-17-5. On the other side, Dirk's shot looked so sweet. But he was in foul trouble, which gave the Wolves a fighting chance the whole game. It was fun to see Corey Brewer on another squad dogging the Wolves. He got huge cheers. I heard Mark Cuban is really high on Brewer, while we couldn't wait for him to be gone. His shot stinks, and he's a specialized player...and when surrounded with other talent, they think he can be a greater contributor. The former Wolf that burned us though was Brian Cardinal, who shot 4-8 from 3 point land and was a general terror. When Brian Cardinal's hot, look's all gravy! Dallas wins.

Wednesday, the Pacers were in town. I don't know how they win games, man. Outside of Tyler Hansbrough who shot the ball pretty well, nobody could buy a bucket, which led to a team shooting percentage under 30%. Granger was 2-19 (as commentator Jim Peterson put it, "Danny Granger needs a hug!")

It was strange to go through the game and watch the Wolves maintain a commanding lead, up 20 for most of the 2nd half. I've seen them blow several of those this year. But despite the usual infuriating mistakes there was some decent ball movement. With Darko and Pekovic in foul trouble, Rambis went with Anthony Randolph for some extended Garbage Time. I have not been impressed with him so far. Although he seems to have a surprisingly good jump shot, and made some good passes, he is very raw and seems lost in the paint and trying to score near the hole. Hansbrough was hilarious, his bug eyed hustle cracked me up. Paul George had a decent game too, and had some good rebounds. Hibbert was an interesting physical specimin, but seemed will be interesting to see if his game continues to develop. In addition to the KLove record hoopla, the Wolves surpassed last year's win total with their 16th of the year.

UPDATE: Wolves killed the Jazz Friday, putting them on a 2-game winning streak. Granted Utah is missing Okur and Millsap, plus no Deron Williams anymore...but I have to say the Wolves have been moving the ball really well recently....lots of extra passes for easy buckets. Something seems to be clicking? I don't know if it's the competition that's making it easier, or if there's actually something there. Rotations are more consistent also, which helps. As for the Jazz, didn't see much game from Devin Harris except either a pass to the wing, or a pass to Big Al in the post...not exactly running an offense. Plus he blew by a few people for a few buckets. The big surprise was Jeremy Evans, who started in place of Millsap. Dude could sky HIGH and made some amazing dunks. Head way above the rim. He made a few good passes too -- may have a nice future! Many gasps from the crowd when he dunked. We'll see if the Wolves continue to run a decent offense on their upcoming road trip.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Smoldering heap

Maybe part of why Miami is struggling is because neither the stars nor the coaching staff has done much to build the confidence of the supporting cast. Tis a team game after all.

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Among other things

the trade deadline could prove to be a referendum on whether Devin Harris has what it takes to run a winning team. Sure, he had big success in Big D, but the Mavs are clearly better with the diminishing yet dominant Jason Kidd. Harris sucked in New Jersey in a way that has nothing and everything to do with stats. Now in Utah, with a more than adequate supporting caste, Harris has a chance to make his mark. We shall see.

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