Simons Says - Aug. 23, 2012













If you ask me, this is truly one of the best times of the year. Summer has given us great weather and left us wanting more as school starts. Football is back and with that, the eternal post-season hopes painted in purple. There’s (potentially) hockey and certainly the NBA right around the corner.

We’ll hit the Wolves and a handful of the questions I’ve pulled from our GameON! TV tapings and e-mails from the best of fans soon! I first have to touch bases with the defending WNBA Champion Lynx.

The title holders are back from the Olympic break and in tremendous form. Still best in the west at 18 wins and just 4 losses, there are some who think the first half explosion from the Lynx was just “smoke & mirrors." Not so.

“We know what we have to do,” Taj McWilliams-Franklin told me at our recent GameON! TV taping. “Our sights are set on the bigger prize and that’s not just getting back to the playoffs. We achieved our goal last season and we CAN do it again.”

Look up and down the roster and you see why the ladies are so confident heading into the season’s final few games then the playoffs. The obvious is that your top three players have returned to the team as Olympic Champions and Gold Medal winners. Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus (22 points to lead all scorers in the Lynx win at Seattle) & Minnesota’s own Lindsey Whalen are not only dominators on the court but the emotional pulse of the Lynx as they push into post-season play. They will throw this team on their shoulders to get it done. They don’t have to. Have plenty of support. But if needed, it will be done.

The Lynx/Wolves media team has the numbers and I asked for a few statistics that support the Lynx strong play. Consider this:

  • The Lynx are now outscoring their opponents by nearly 13 points a game and the Lynx have already clinched a playoff spot.

 

  • About Maya Moore, she’s the WNBA’s Western Conference Player of the Week. Moore scored 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting (4-of-5 from beyond the arc) against Seattle. Add to that her eight rebounds, a season-high seven assists and in her last six games, Moore is now averaging just under 22 a night AND most importantly, shooting 55.3% from the floor.

 

  • ”Mama” Taj told me, “Watch Seimone in the stretch. She’s playing at another level and really having fun. That is the key. When those two come together, very good things happen”. Sage words from the Lynx valuable center. According to numbers from the team, since returning from the Olympics, Augustus is shooting a remarkable 67% from the floor (including 9-of-17 at Seattle) and since the Olympic break, Augustus has hit 8-of-13 from three-point range.

 

  • Glad to have Rebekkah Brunson back from her pre-break injured groin. Brunson knocked down 20 against the Storm and in her last 6-games, is averaging 10.3 points and 9.2 rebounds. It’s all about the season and Brunson is getting it done, shooting a career-best 52.0% from the field. Our guest on GameON! A few weeks ago, Brunson (love her in those thick Buddy Holly styled black glasses too) admitted to us that the Lynx should be favored heading into the playoffs. “We worked hard to win the title and we’re not ready to give it up,” Brunson told me.


The Lynx share the ball, outrebound nearly every team they play, the Lynx are shooting well inside and beyond the arc (matching a season-high with 11 three-pointers at Seattle) and they have plenty of firepower on the bench with Candice Wiggins, Monica Wright, Jessica Adair and Amber Harris. And with one more win, head coach Cheryl Reeve will have her 59th coaching “W". Significant because it will break the franchise record of 58 set by Suzie McConnell-Serio back in 2003-06.

I happen to think the Lynx have one other big intangible working in their favor. They are physical and don’t back down, especially on the road. They play like “this is my trophy & it is staying here.” In Seattle, there was a second half dust up in which Wiggins laid a hard foul (I didn’t see it as intentional) and was tagged for a flagrant foul. The Lynx didn’t back down as Seattle players kept running into the Minnesota defenders trying to force hard fouls. The Lynx are controlling games and forcing their game on the other team. THAT is why they are the best team in the league. All phases, check.

Next week, we’ll start our pre-camp chatter with plenty to kick around regarding Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, JJ Barea, Nicola Pekovic, newcomer Andrei Kirilenko & Russian teammate Alexey Shevd and Brandon Roy. Drop us your thoughts on the upcoming season. Love to hear from you!

Who doesn’t like a “deal”

With more than 9,000 season tickets, there’s more room on the bandwagon and the Wolves are making it possible for you to be there and at a great price point. The Timberwolves are now offering fans customizable ticket packages and back by popular demand, fans will once again have the opportunity to create their own multi-game ticket package at the prices they want. Through the Flex Pack, fans can build a personalized ticket package by selecting 12 or more games of their choice, with the flexibility to change seat location, the number of tickets per game and price point based on the matchup. They start as low as $108! Additionally, fans that purchase 16 games will receive 5% off their total order, while buyers of 20 games will receive 10% off. Flex Packs will go on sale to the general public starting Thursday, August 23, and will be available at the Minnesota State Fair. To purchase a Flex Pack, log on to www.timberwolves.com or call 612-673-1234.

TV Time

You know that GameON! is on FOX’s MY29 and now the Wolves tell us that a franchise-record 78 regular-season games will be 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.

The 2012-13 Wolves Home Opener vs. Sacramento will be broadcast on WFTC MY29, beginning a string of 36 consecutive televised games to start the season.

See you on TV:

You don’t want to miss GameON! powered by SEVEN Steakhouse/Sushi/Ultralounge & Skybar this Sunday morning on FOX’s My29 at 10:30AM. Our special guests include Vikings rookie linebacker and “D” show stealer Audie Cole, FOX9 weather guru & Special Olympics super supporter Ian Leonard as well as our new Fantasy Football insider Jeremy Johnson. All shows are broadcast in High Definition and can be found on ITunes & online at www.gameontvmn.com.

GameON! powered by SEVEN allows you the opportunity to get up close and personal, to meet your favorite players and fellow fans at our weekly tapings next door to Target Center at SEVEN (7th and Hennepin). 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 @ GameOnTvMN and drop me a note, Rod@GameOnTvMn.com. We reserve the right to use your e-mails here in SimonsSays at Timberwolves.com.

Keep your GameON! See you soon!


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.