Simons Says - Dec. 13, 2012
No one said this was going to be smooth sailing. In fact, I looked at my notes from previous SimonsSays blogs and I’ve talked about the “roller coaster ride for Timberwolves” numerous times, in fact, last week.
Let’s line ‘em up. Big games with monster road trips ahead, the upcoming return of point guard Ricky Rubio, the injury rehab of Brandon Roy, the loss of Chase Budinger and the constant juggling of a line-up that is effected by all the injuries. Then there’s the elephant in the room with recent comments from All-Star and Olympic Gold Medal winning forward Kevin Love. As my good buddy Hoops E. Hollic often says to me, “Is that all you got?!”
All I need Hoops. You see, as the social media explodes over this week in Wolves basketball, I’m leaning on these elements and seeing good things happening.
Let’s just start at the most recent game. What I considered a “must” win against Denver because they’ve owned us recently, the Nuggets were ending an extended road trip in Minneapolis and this team has to start beating the good teams, night in and night out.
It was a solid night! I’d watched a few practices during the four days between games and left impressed while expecting a good game against Denver. Love’s shooting was surprisingly off as he went 3 for 17 but was a top rebounder with 14 grabs. I’ll tap just one GameON! E-comment to me and it comes from Denny in Rogers, “How do you see this Love comment thing shaking out. Badly?” Denny, thanks and I’ll just rip one little line from K-Love’s comments to sum up all my thoughts on this. Wins take care of everything. In the course of a long NBA season, situations like this crop up now and again. I’ll take these little “conversations” over recent real life tragedies that have occurred in other pro leagues. Relationships, personal or professional, all develop, bend many times and evolve. This will all be good. I’m not gonna’ take shots at either side but having seen it before with different players, I’ll trust my experience and stick with that. Denny, thanks for watching too!
Love was hardly the only story against Denver. Try these on:
- The Wolves scored a season high 108 points and rallied after being down a dozen in the first half.
- For the first time since 2006, the Wolves have 10 wins after 19 games. Just two years ago, we were all bumming with the Wolves scraping up just 4 wins by the first of December.
- AK-47. Andrei Kirilenko continues to impress. The former All Star is one of our GameON! guests this Sunday and he was outstanding again. Most people will check the box score and see his 18 points in 35 minutes. But AK is about all the stats. 4 steals, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and one blocked shot. Some Wolves watchers discount AK’s importance to this team but not me. Kirilenko is a ball hawk. Dang! AK’s jam at 21.2 seconds remaining to give the Wolves a five-point lead was huge! Teammate Nikola Pekovic told reporters after the game that AK is “everywhere” on the court. He is. AK is one of the best free agent pick-ups anywhere in the NBA this season. And Pek with a nice outing too (can’t leave that out) as the Godfather gets a season high 22 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes.
As I mentioned, Kirilenko will join Vikings DB Josh Robinson on this week’s GameON! and I asked AK about being here, in Minnesota. AK made it vividly clear. Other teams were offering big pay to join them after playing the lockout season in his homeland Russia. But AK wanted to be a part of this team. “I wanted to come to Minnesota” he told me. “The Wolves showed that they wanted me during our negotiation and when I saw the pieces that were coming together, it was easy. Yes, the money was good but I also saw a great basketball opportunity. Much like I’d experienced in Utah with Coach [Jerry] Sloan. I like playing for coach [Rick] Adelman. We have good players. We aren’t where we want to be yet but we’ll be there soon. We will.”
I believe it. Little things. AK is not the only scrappy Wolve these days. That rally against a good Denver club and, in particular, that strong second quarter was needed. Wolves teams in the past would have folded. Not this one. Leading the charge off the bench was the suddenly smokin’ JJ Barea. JJ appears healthier and it’s showing. 27 minutes and 17 points with a solid 8-dish night is sweet. Hey, Barea might be the smallest cat on the court but he snared 5 rebounds too. Barea has scored double figures in the past 5 games.
I’m looking forward to Rubio’s return and can’t wait to see our backcourt at full strength for the first time this season. Rubio, Shevd, Luke Ridnour and JJ (I do appreciate the contributions of second year guard Malcom Lee). The dynamic of this Wolves team will continue to evolve. So, while that happens just peek around this league (and not just the Wolves) and you see a pack of teams managing a roller coaster ride. Just ask Lakers fans or those fans in Miami who are still reeling from a buzzer beating loss to the Golden State Warriors. That’s just a few.
So, enjoy the moment. Three of the next four Wolves games will be business trips and will give us an idea of what’s in store when the ball drops and 2013 rolls in. I’ll take the rollercoaster and road wins like we recently enjoyed in Philadelphia and even back at bit in Brooklyn.
Hope your holiday season is rolling along nicely. Thanks for checking in with us here. Keep an eye out as GameON! TV is changing its game plan a bit, all for the better too.
The deadline has passed for Coats! Coats! Coats!
The Kevin Love coat drive has ended its successful run to help those in need this winter. I’m told that if you missed the drop and still want to donate, you can do it. Love will deliver all donations to The Salvation Army on Dec. 19 and if you’d like to get your donation in, the S-Army will still take the coats. Get to them via their website www.salvationarmynorth.org.
Remember, the goal is to make sure no one goes cold. Let’s help out!
It’s coming! Holiday Hoops!
The Wolves & Lynx Basketball Academy is hosting 8-basketball clinics over the holidays. The clinics will occur around the metro area during the holiday season in Chanhassen, Eagan, Lakeville, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Prior Lake/Savage, St. Louis Park and Wayzata from December 27-28. The clinics are for boys and girls ages 7 to 14, and aim to teach young basketball players the fundamentals of shooting, dribbling and defense. Each participant receives a Timberwolves T-shirt, as well as instruction from Timberwolves staff members. Attendees are asked to bring a lunch and their own basketball to the clinic. To register for any clinic, go to www.timberwolves.com/holiday-clinics. For additional questions, contact Pat Freeman at (612) 673-1206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 show comes from Bar Abilene/Uptown with Wolves standout Andrei Kirilenko, Vikings DB Josh Robinson, Wolves beat writer and KMOJ-Radio “Back in the Day” host Ray Richardson & GameON! Fantasy fb guru Jeremy Johnson. All GameON! 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 Kierans Irish Pub and it’s 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 and 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!