Simons Says - Jan. 10, 2013
These are tough days for the Wolves. No getting around it. A pre-season of optimism quickly unraveled when the season started and injuries mounted. Band-Aid upon Band-Aid and a team staying competitive while working patches up and down the line-up.
The past week has been as tough as it gets for the Timberwolves. Not only are they struggling to keep their line-up in place, now the weight of family and personal situations are weighing heavily on them. Starting at the top.
For the past two games, the T’wolves has been without Head Coach Rick Adelman. All we need to know is that Coach’s wife, Mary Kay, has been in the hospital. It doesn’t matter in which profession we work or what we do but when a loved one is involved and there’s an illness, it’s hard to stay focused or away from them. I know these players care deeply for Coach Adelman and only hope and pray for his wife’s good health. For the time being, Coach Adelman's status to return to the team remains day-by-day and he will return as soon as he is able.
So, that leaves Terry Porter manning the bench with TR Dunn, Jack Sikma and Bill Bayno. They’ve had their hands full with a dynamic, team-testing back to back against NBA contenders in Atlanta and OKC.
At Target Center against the Hawks, it was Minnesota’s fourth wire-to-wire victory of the season and it snapped an 11-game losing streak against the Hawks.
When the Wolves score over 100 points, they win. Period. This season, the Wolves are a perfect 8-0 this season when scoring at the century mark.
Nikola Pekovic continues to play hot. Against the Thunder in a blow-out loss, Pek had 17 points and 10-rebounds in 27 minutes. The night earlier, 25 points and a career-high 18 rebounds on 60% shooting. Pekovic is averaging 19.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game over his last 13 games.
Its clear how much they miss Kevin Love and how valuable Ricky Rubio is to the team. Rubio finished with eight assists against the Hawks and in OKC, had 7 assists in 21 minutes. No points but that doesn’t matter. Rubio’s value to the team is his ability to find the open offense and on defense, he makes the Wolves better. Period.
Where would the Wolves be without Andrei Kirilenko? 10 points in Oklahoma and 21 points, six rebounds and five assists the night before. Kirilenko is super glue, doing what he can to hold this injury ravaged team on an even keel. AK’s night against Atlanta was his fifth 20-plus-point game of the season and second in his last five games.
I’m also on the record to urge –no trade- or even consideration of a trade for D-Will. #7 needs time and now, he’s getting his marquee time to show himself. Get this. After scoring 18 in the 4th quarter against Portland, D-Will ripped 17 points off the bench against the Hawks and 14 with 11 rebounds in OKC. I don’t even want to hear it again.
The kid needs time, the Wolves need depth and with K-Love out for some time (in addition to Chase Budinger and B-Roy), the Wolves need all the help they can get.
Love is out for a while. Doctors now say that Love will require surgery to repair the third and fourth metacarpal in his right hand. He injured his hand during the third quarter of the January 3rd game at Denver. It’s the same hand hurt earlier in the year and kept him sidelined before.
The Wolves indicate that Love is expected to miss at least 8-to-10 weeks. Minnesota’s played 32 games so far this season and Love has seen action in 18 of them. Love’s valuable and leads the Wolves in scoring (18.3 ppg), rebounds (14.0 rpg) and double-doubles (14). But it’s a team forced to move on.
In talking to the players, they insist they are still a playoff contender. AK told me “injuries are part of the game. We all know that and we all have to play through it. We will be even better when everyone gets better”.
I’ve said it before and hear it from fans all the time. Players and coaches know it too. Yes, there’s not a lot of time to lose. OKC @ 27-8, the Spurs won a nail biter against the slowly improving LA Lakers and they are @ 28-10. Memphis is 23-10 and the Clippers remain the toast of LA and the team to beat I believe @ 28-8 (18-3 @ home and 8-wins in their last 10 games.
There are plenty of tough games ahead. There will be more craziness as this Wolves rollercoaster moves through January into February. We can only hope the injury bug hops the next bus out of town and the Wolves settle in with the players already in place and make the run they say is in them.
It’s normally not supposed to be easy. Enjoy the ride and expect good things to happen. Team turnaround is not done yet. If you buy into that theory, you aren’t watching closely enough. It’s time to kick-start 2013 with a few wins in a row!
Cheers and see you on TV!
On the heels of gold-medal performances at the 2012 Olympic Games, as well as undefeated exhibition records leading up to London, USA Basketball today named its 2012 U.S. Men’s and Women’s Olympic/National Teams as co-recipients of the 2012 USA Basketball Team of the Year award.
Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love was part of the U.S. Men's Olympic team that won the gold medal. Love was just the second Wolves player to ever play in the Olympics (Kevin Garnett, 2000), and in eight games he averaged 11.6 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds in 17.3 minutes per game. Love scored a team-high 16 points vs. Tunisia, recorded a double-double against Australia and tallied nine points and nine rebounds in just 18 minutes in the gold medal game vs. Spain.
Lynx Overseas Update:
Maya Moore leads a pack of Lynx players staying sharp at their games while playing overseas. On the final game of their regular season for Moore’s Chinese league team Shanxi on Tuesday, they lost 73-52 to Beijing to close out their season. Maya and her Flame teammates open the playoffs on Tuesday, January 15, facing off with Phoenix Mercury forward Krystal Thomas and Jiangsu (13-9). Moore finished the season averaging a league-best 39.7 points and 3.9 steals per game.
We’re all on MY29!
You know that GameON! is on FOX’s MY29! The Wolves offer a franchise-record 78 regular-season games televised locally, including 50 on Fox Sports North and 25 on the Wolves' exclusive over-the-air broadcast home, WFTC My29. For the second consecutive season, every Wolves regular season contest will be carried live on News Radio 830 WCCO-AM.
See you on TV
Catch your Wolves on this Sunday’s GameON! this week!! You don’t want to miss the Emmy nominated GameON! this Sunday morning on FOX’s My29 at 10:30AM. Our special guests include former Gophers standout & now rapper Lawrence “Mac Irv” McKenzie and friend Lil’ Crazed, former Vikings LB E.J. Henderson, Boxing belt holder “Golden” Caleb Truax and fight specialist Tony “Tony Time” Grygelko and Taste of the NFL’s Wayne Kostroski. GameON! originates from our new home, across the street from Target Center at Kieran’s Irish Pub and allGameON! shows are broadcast in High Definition and can be found on iTunes, on our new GameON! App (free and available for Apple/Android) and online at www.gameontvmn.com.
GameON! allows you the opportunity to get up close and personal, to meet your favorite players and fellow fans at our weekly tapings at Kieran’s Irish Pub and its sister locations. GameON! offers in-depth interviews with the top players, great food, sports newsmakers and we get you inside your favorite teams (including the Wolves). You can friend us on FaceBook at GameOnTvMN. Drop me a note, Rod@GameOnTvMn.com. GameON! is also seen in North & South Dakota and Western Minnesota on MidCo SportsNet several times a weekend. We reserve the right to use your e-mails here in SimonsSays at Timberwolves.com.
Keep your GameON! See you soon!